215 Main Street: The Charles King house



215 Main St


tewart Ellsworth and his wife Hebe sold this part of his huge lot to Charles R. King in 1876, upon which King built this example, unique in Penn Yan, of French Rennaissance-inspired Gothic Revival.

Today it has been converted into offices with the original interior etched-glass pocket doors and other beautiful and extravagant touches. It is called "The Post House" after one of its later and more flamboyant owners, Mary Leah Post. A member of the wealthy Post family of the town of Seneca, she married into both the Potter and the Norris families in Penn Yan, two of the oldest in the area. In addition to all this, her first marriage (to Rexford Potter, son of Edson Potter the fruit-basket man, and his wife Elizabeth Friend Brown) ended in divorce.

The land was vacant when King purchased it from the Ellsworths. Stewart Ellsworth and his wife Hebe Magee lived on the site of #213 when it burned in 1871; and they now lived in the house at 227 Main Street. The original lot that the Ellsworth house stood on was very large. Mrs Ellsworth sold this lot to King and the rest (which stretched east as far as Sheppard Street and south to Clinton Street) to John H. Butler in the following year.

The two adjacent houses, this one and #213, must have been quite a sight standing together next to the gorgeous and soaring Presbyterian church on the corner, very impressive indeed for a village the size of Penn Yan. This is the only structure of the three that survives from that period, and though it is no longer a residence the exterior has been marvelously restored and maintained.

Top right: 215 Main Street, often called the Post House from its most recent well-known owner. It's a flamboyant and amazingly well-crafted example of Gothic Revival, with all kinds of interesting detail inside and out. The carriage house in the rear was built about the same time in a similar, though simpler, style.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
     The Benhams
     Samuel S. Ellsworth
     Mary Leah Post
     The Potter family

Related sites:

    213 Main Street

Related history:

     Looking Backward