305 Main Street: The Charles Welles house


hen Cleveland wrote his 1874 description of the structures on Main Street, this lot and the one to the north, where #307 now stands, were still occupied by the Presbyterian Meeting-house, which had not yet moved to the site it now occupies; an event that occurred in 1879.

Charles D. Welles bought the lot from the trustees after the move, divided it in two, and then built this house for his own residence in 1883. It's a very nice example of the so-called Eastlake style, a name that refers to the elaborate carved and pierced woodwork that generally is more in evidence indoors than on the exterior. Eastlake is really a substyle of the predominant Victorian Queen Anne style, with its asymmetrical massing and rich surface detail. In the 1880s the trusses in the gables such as those this house has were becoming popular, also the rather vertical feel of the house as a whole. The two or three French Renaissance details, like the mansard roof and dormer on the rectangular tower and the little mansard hood over the big double window on the west side serve to emphasive the building's eclectic flavor.




Above far right: 305 Main Street, built by Charles D. Welles about 1883. The house is one of a number of houses built about this time in Penn Yan that fit rather neatly into the Eastlake subdivision of the Queen Anne style, so dominant throughout the late Victorian period.

Above: An older picture of the same house, from the collection of the Oliver House Museum. Belle Hopkins bought the property from Emily Dyer Smith in 1894, and her husband's estate still owned the place at the end of World War II.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
     John Dorman
     The Shearman brothers

Related sites:

     307 Main Street

Related history:

     Railroads and Queen Anne