326 Main Street: The John H. Johnson house


nown as the John H. Johnson house from the family who lived in it for so long, this house was built in about 1883 on land split off from the Morris Brown lot, most of which lay to the south. There was no known structure on this lot until this house was built.

The entire 1 1/2 acre Brown lot was conveyed in 1883 by Brown to Nelson Thompson, the proprietor of the Benham House hotel farther down Main Street.

Brown lost the property to Thompson for payment of debt; Thompson paid $463 at auction for it, and then immediately sold it (for $4900, a handsome profit) to John G. Gulick of Elmira. Presumably it was Gulick who built this house in a rather restrained Victorian mode, for at his death in 1887 John H. Johnson inherited this part of the property. It stayed in his family's hands until 1960.

The house has lost some of its original ornamentation, though some remains on the porch and the screen door. It was further altered in the 20th century but remains a good example of a vernacular Victorian Gothic house.

Prior to Brown's ownership of the lot, it was part of the three-acre Melatiah Lawrence plot. Lawrence lived on the site of #322, and in 1822 sold the land to William Roy of Benton, though it is said Lawrence died in his house in 1826. In any case, it thereafter was sold a couple of times and in 186- became the property of Morris Brown and then of Nelson Thompson.





People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
     The Lawrences

Related sites:

     322 Main Street

Related history:

     The 1880s



Above right: 326 Main Street, built in 1880 by Nelson Thompson. The house has lost some of its original decoration, but some can be seen especially on the porch. The small enclosed porch on the second floor was added in the 1920s, and a much more recent addition on the west side.