Earlier this week, I recorded my first ever podcast with Adam Kruse of Hermann London Real Estate. The subject, of course, was vintage & unique homes, and I couldn’t help but mention my first & very favorite example – my 1902 Victorian farmhouse in Ferguson.
My husband and I bought this beautiful home in 1999 and have spent the past 15 years preserving the exterior, restoring & updating the interior, and transforming the once-bare yard into a lush & private garden wonderland.
The house was originally built as a parsonage for the Ferguson Methodist Church, and it welcomed 11 ministers over the course of 17 years. Rumor has it there were prayer services held in the front parlor, above, when Tiffin Avenue was still known as Eleanor Avenue, but all I can say for sure is that in 1919 the church sold the property. The Huck family ended up buying it and staying for 30+ years, until the Morgan family bought it and stayed nearly half a century.
We bought the house from a Morgan, following a pretty extensive rehab. Here’s what it looked like around 1910…
In 2000, we were incredibly fortunate to meet Ruth Huck Ohlemeyer and her husband, Richard – both in their 90s at the time. Ruth had grown up in the house and later lived there with Richard and their son, so she had a wealth of information to share.
She told us the back of the house had been added on in the late 1920s. She also showed us her “secret treasure spot” in the bedroom floor, confirmed that there used to be a water pump and a chicken coop in the backyard, and explained how Richard had built our front yard fence in 1941. She even solved the mystery of the cut-out in our foyer floor: it was once a trap door leading to the root cellar!
Of course, the house had changed quite a bit since Ruth lived there, but many of the “bones” remained the same and she absolutely loved that.
She was especially impressed that our American Elm tree was still standing, given that Dutch Elm Disease has claimed millions of elms across the country and specimens this large are exceptionally rare.
Arborists have told us that they think the tree actually pre-dates the house – at least 130 years old. It has a canopy spread of 100 feet and measures nearly 14 feet around the trunk. I personally think it’s a magical tree and a guardian of the property.
But then, I think this whole place is pretty incredible. That’s why I poured my heart & soul into it for so many years, and why I’m so eager to find its next caretaker.
Could that be YOU? If so, don’t miss my first open house on Sunday, March 8, 1-3pm!
408 Tiffin Avenue has 3 bedrooms & 2 baths in 2084sf. It sits on nearly a half acre in the Old Ferguson West National Register Historic District, just minutes from EarthDance Farms, the Ferguson Farmers Market and numerous restaurants. It features extensive updates and is listed by me for $150,000.
If you’d like more info on this one-of-a-kind property, let me know!