338 Main Street: The Charles Sheppard House

his house was built at just about thesame time as the Sheppard mansion next door, soon after its builder, Francis M. Potter, acquired the land. Like a number of its neighbors, this house was originally in Greek Revival style and remodeled later as an Italianate mansion. This is one of the handsomest houses on Main Street, while at the same time being one of the oldest, a testament to the families that have lived here since 1832.

This lot has a bit more than 150 feet of frontage on Main Street. The line between the two sections of Morris F. Sheppard's purchase of land on this side of Main Street goes right through it. The northernmost 50 feet was on Abner Pierce's land, in fact it was the site of Pierce's blacksmith shop; and the 100 feet or so south of this was on John O'Brien's land, all of which eventually ended up in the hands of Cornelius Masten. In fact, this lot was the site of the law office of Abraham P. Vosburgh (Masten's brother-in-law), which housed the village's first separate post office when Vosburgh was postmaster.

The builder of the house now standing on the lot was Francis M. Potter, who also built a brick commercial block on the corner across Main Street a few years later. He acquired the land on which Abner Pierce's old shop had once stood, in 1832 from his uncle William Pitt Potter. He added a piece with about 100 feet of frontage from Cornelius Masten in 1833, then another small piece to the west of the blacksmith shop lot from Morris F. Sheppard the same year. Later on in 1835 he made a boundary agreement with Masten that made his lot still bigger, and then in 1836 he did the same with Sheppard. The result is one of the largest lots in Penn Yan.

Potter sold his lot and beautiful house in 1840 to Charles C. Sheppard, son of Morris F. Sheppard who lived next door. It stayed in his family until his daughter sold it to George R. Cornwell in 1905. It was C. C. Sheppard who made the Italianate alterations to the structure in 1855, including a full-front porch which was removed in 1931. Charles died in 1888, and it was afterwards occupied by his son Morris F. Sheppard (named for his grandfather). After his death it was his sister Sarah who sold the 22-room house to Cornwell.



Above right: The Charles C. Sheppard house, looking very much as it did when it was built 175 years ago. Its rectangular Greek Revival massing lent itself very easily to the Italianate renovations done a bit later in the 19th century.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
     Morris F. Sheppard
     John O'Brien
     Cornelius Masten
     Abraham P. Vosburgh
     The Potters

Related structures:

     342 Main Street

Related sites:

    The southeast corner
    332 Main Street

Related history: