comparing this house's present appearance with an old photograph, it's quite
difficult to reconcile the two. Offhand it would seem impossible to so change
a dwelling without entirely demolishing it, but that is what happened here.
The lot was sold by
Abraham Wagener to Henry Plimton in 1824, and by him to Ira Gould in 1825. Gould
was at that time the dominant village merchant, and he built a very solid
little Federal-style brick house on this site, with a rather flat parapet-style
roof and a central side-gable entrance. Gould moved away from the village
about 1833 and at that time sold his house to Myron Hamlin, newly arrived
from Dundee by way of Buffalo, and about to become the dominant merchant
in his turn.
Hamlin lived in this
house for decades, until the early 1870s, when it was sold to Daniel Morris,
another relative newcomer, from Rushville. Morris' son William T. inherited
the place, and it was he who in 1910 completely altered the house. He raised
its south and west walls and then covered the entire structure with hollow
yellow tiles, which were then finished with stucco.
The central block of what must really be called the "new" house is
where the original house stood, with a window where the entrance was. A
nod to the original Federal style was made with the beautiful pearl glass
fanlight over the main entrance, which is under the north portico. The stepped
end gables contain semielliptical lights, another reference to the Federal
origins of the dwelling. The massive columns with their Ionic capitals,
and the alternating gabled and round-topped dormers bring the house into
what is usually called Georgian Revival style, a stately and more massive
cousin of Federal that was quite popular in the early 20th century, though
not much seen in Penn Yan. It would probably have been regarded as startlingly modern; on the other hand it would not have been dwarfed by the 1898 Methodist church next door.