1879 Henry Dousa Farmstead Arrives On The Auction Block For The First Time... International auction firm, Garth's Auctions in Delaware, Ohio to auction watercolor painting of Ohio farmstead as well as the real estate depicted in the painting in the next 30 days.
News-Antique.com - Aug 20,2008 - There's an intriguing connection between a 21-acre Mechanicsburg farmstead and a 19th-century folk painting, both scheduled for auction by internationally renowned, Garth's Auctions in Delaware, Ohio.
The land, located in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, is anchored by a beautifully maintained Italianate brick home, built around 1853 for a local doctor, and purchased in 1863 by Vincent Hunter, a wealthy grain merchant.
Mr. Hunter later commissioned a painting of his property. That work is an 1879 watercolor by noted American folk artist Henry Dousa. Picturing the house, carriage house, cattle along Little Darby Creek and a horse-drawn buggy on a dirt road the image is complete with a man standing at a gate in the foreground who is said to be Mr. Hunter. Since the day it was delivered, the painting has hung in the exact same place in the home it depicts.
The auction of the farmstead by Garth's on Sept. 25 is in conjunction with Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty, and marks the firm’s entrance into the Ohio real estate marketplace. Along with the sale of the Dousa artwork at Garth's Annual Labor Day Auction on Aug. 29-30, these two important events will mark the first time in seven generations the property and the panting will leave the family's hands.
Each of the two events offers a unique opportunity for buyers.
Amelia Jeffers, co-owner of Garth's, and the firm’s lead Realtor/Auctioneer, describes the brick house on the edge of Mechanicsburg as something special. "The Hunter House was built for comfortable, luxurious living," she said. “This was not about simple sustenance. The quality and lifestyle created on this property is timeless.”
With 4,861 square feet, the house features four bedrooms and two and a half baths. However, a number of unique characteristics, such as a spiral staircase rising to the attic on the third floor, set it apart from other properties. Even the attic is distinctive. Fully finished and suitable as a living area, it features a fake wall, which encourages suspicion that the home might have been used on the Underground Railroad; speculation boosted by the fact that Vincent Hunter and his family were avid supporters of the local Abolitionist church.
"It's totally undocumented that it was on the Underground Railroad, but I can see very well that it may have been," said Barbara Ward, the great, great granddaughter of Vincent Hunter.
An 1895 remodel of the home added desirable features that remain untouched more than a century later, including hand-painted walls and ceilings with a stylized heart and foliate design next to the ceiling, cast-plaster molding, unique neoclassical motifs in tile and metalwork surrounding each of the four fireplaces, and the addition of stained glass windows.
Also passing the test of time are the climate control systems used over the years. "It's about green living," said Mrs. Jeffers. "Here is a very well-built home that has withstood one hundred and fifty-six years of Ohio weather." Hot-water piped to ornate cast-iron radiators offers an economic heating method, while cooling is accomplished