Brown built this house about 1828, which was the year he bought the lot
from William Tolford. Tolford acquired it from Abraham Wagener in 1824 but
apparently never lived on it.
Brown added a couple
of small pieces of land on the north side, including one about 1830 on which
he built a small building to serve as a post office. Cleveland thought this
was the first separate post office in the village; prior to that it had
been in the postmaster's home.
In 1836 Brown became,
in the phrase of the day, "embarrassed." He left town for Goshen,
Indiana and the almost universal conclusion was that he had defalcated;
in fact, before he died he paid all his debts up to the dollar, a fairly
remarkable circumstance in those debt-ridden cash-poor days. Cleveland takes
care in his remarks to mention this evidence of Brown's exceptional integrity;
he had been sheriff as well as postmaster, which was (and is) an elective
position, so it was very important to his reputation.
William M. Oliver acquired
the property when it was foreclosed in 1836, and immediately sold it to
Charles G. Judd, son of the physician Uri Judd who lived on the spot where
Robert Chissom's 1791 house and tavern had stood. The younger Judd was a
lawyer, and served as the County's District Attorney for some years. The
property stayed in his hands for decades, until eventually it was sold to
Helen Holdsworth, who in 1909 sold it to George L. Barden. All this time
it was a single family home, much enlarged from its earliest days, with
a beautiful curved wooden balustrade on the staircase, big floor-length
windows, elliptical arches and other features that showed the prosperous
lifestyle of its early owners.
In the 1970s it was
turned into apartments, rather unhappily cutting up the interior. After
that the building received only minimal maintenance. By the time it was
razed in 2001 it was regarded by many as an eyesore, and there was very
little protest at its destruction.
The main block of the
house was the original 1828 building, basically Greek Revival with some
Federal details, particularly inside the house. Judd added the rear wing
and the Italianate porches much later, perhaps in the 1860s. The unique
triangular louvers in the pediment on the east side were original to the