The Great Column Adventure! Part 4.



I know.

And agree.

I am a bit obsessed (small voice in my head: a bit?) with restoring all the missing pieces (columns, balustrades, and lattice) to the 1894 Cross House main porch.

As stated previously, it is quite rare to have an 1894 porch last into 2015. Even with all the damage to my porch, the fact that so much remains seems a miracle to me. And what is missing can be replicated. Accurately.

I have zero desire to change the porch. Horrors! Nor do I have any desire to, well, just make the whole process easier and cheaper by having the missing bits be simplified. Indeed, the idea is anathema to me.

Well, just now I came cross two images. These images are a testament to all I do NOT want to do.

The second image makes me very very very sad. I apologize in advance if you respond the same way.


The 1886 Burrell Overlook Mansion in Little Falls, NY. Please note the expansive wrap-around porch. Deliciously original, mostly. Image courtesy of Andy Olenick.

The 1886 Burrell Overlook Mansion in Little Falls, NY. Please note the expansive wrap-around porch. Deliciously original, mostly. Image courtesy of Andy Olenick.


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What the hell happened?????????????????? The porch did not look in poor condition yet is has been almost entirely ripped away and replaced by a Dumb & Dumber version. And cheap & quick. This is horrifying! And unless lots-o-bits were tucked into the basement, no future owner can accurately recreate all that has been lost. Note also the loss of the dramatic weathervanes on the roof. The loss of the original porch predates the current owner. Image courtesy of Andy Olenick.



What is amazing is that even in the first image (a seemingly original 1886 porch) most of the columns had already been replaced. And not with accurate copies. Two original posts are seen holding up the porch to the very left (first image). In the image directly above it is distressing to realize that all the incredible porch bits are now gone gone gone. I really LOVE those columns.


To me, there is something deeply wrong with our country when no expense is spared attacking other countries, yet when it comes to protecting our architectural heritage scant monies, if any, are available.

This just ain’t right.

The house is currently for sale. It can be seen on the fabulous Old House Dreams.



I found the following on the Internet. I cannot testify as to its accuracy:

The house had been successfully run as the Overlook Mansion Inn at the end of the last century. Then with financial troubles it was auctioned off in 2002. 

What happened after was nothing more than a rape of the property with parts and pieces sold off on places like eBay. Ceiling murals, brass fixtures, woodwork, etc., were stripped and sold.

The owner, after having made a tidy return, then let the place go to rot. It was auctioned by the city for a winning bid of just $50,001 in 2009.

As such, the current owners need to be commended for bringing this grand mansion back to life.


  1. meganmoss82 on January 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I can tell you exactly what happened. The owners decided that since what they had wasn’t original, there was no reason to go through the trouble of restoring it. So pathetic, yet so common…

    • Ross on January 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      If you look at the top image, most everything was original. And there are two original columns to the far left.

      All the upper fretwork was intact, and balustrades.

      The porch could have been restored, and the original columns replicated.

      So tragic.

  2. SallyKT on January 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I saw this house on Old House Dreams as well, and when I looked at the linked pictures on the website I died a little. Why would they get rid of that beautiful porch!?!? Your porch is looking absolutely lovely by the way!

  3. scotdog98 on January 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Ross – I totally thought of you when I was reading about this house! I knew you wouldn’t like it, lol! I’ve so enjoyed your blog and all that I’m learning. Thank you for sharing with us.

  4. rhiannonrises on January 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Preach it, brother. Why buy a house like that, and then cheap out on the repairs? Just buy new construction (barf) and be done with it. Leave the great old houses to those who appreciate them to the point of obsession!

  5. Sandra G. McNichol on February 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Yes, what a travesty to the Burrell porch – gak – my stomach lurched upon seeing the redo. I have recently realized that I have to limit how much human insanity I can take in in one day.

    I have never seen a porch column with a beautiful serrated (?) ball on it – and I love it – I LOVE those original columns.

    That lurching feeling was quickly lightened by my chortling at your “Dumb & Dumber” porch replacement comment – good one.

    And – I LOVE LOVE LOVE your beautiful wondrous porch! Yes, how incredible that most of it was still waiting for you. I support you being committed to/slightly obsessive about maintaining as much original detail as possible.

  6. Michael Mackin on February 20, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    I also read that there was even a bowling alley that ran under the original porch.

  7. Montana Channing on February 24, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    And the stonework gazebo on the left is all gone AND the Burrell monogram that was on the porch vanished. Considering all the stuff that was sold, it’s amazing any of the windows are still there.

  8. Biki on November 30, 2018 at 1:27 am

    What confuses me about Americans is how we ruthlessly tear down anything that is old. Or the outside is original, or mostly so, but the inside is schizophreniclay ultra modern, with zero trace of the original house. And yet, we bemoan the lack of “history” and travel to Europe to marvel over old architecture.

  9. Nadia on December 29, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    MY reaction was, and pardon my french…

    I am in a rage.

    Here I am, finishing off this…..weird year that has been 2020 falling in love with a house that’s thousands of kilometers from where I live. I sigh, I swoon, I yearn, I pine. I started on the first post and I will not spoil myself with how it’s finished. I want to see the progress you made, day by day, in these wonderful posts.

    I hope, one day I can visit the states and stand in front of the marvel this house is, and the gift of resurrection you have given it ♥

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