Time Capsule

Appears in the November 2022 issue.

An updated Civil War-era gem intermingles history and modern
living in the Tri-Cities

The notion of a property from the ’60s boasting its original flooring, fireplaces, hardware, and winding staircase would be like catnip for homebuyers with a taste for historic authenticity. Clarify that to mean the 1860s, and the exuberant reaction might be one of historical proportions. Other buyers, however, might be put off by the assumption that this circa 1863 structure (419 Union Ave., Batavia)—once home to Dr. Richard Patterson, who helped commit Mary Todd Lincoln to the former Bellevue Place sanitarium in 1875 (which still stands in Batavia)—while certainly elegant and interesting, couldn’t possibly serve as a viable, comfortable living space for a family in 2022. 

But therein lies the dual beauty of the place, according to listing agent Becky Smith of Baird & Warner Fox Valley. The various owners over the years have done an admirable job of updating the 3,768-square-foot home now on the market for $639,900 (with a new roof, AC, water heater, and oven/range within the last five years, for example) while preserving a palpable feel for the past (as in the original exterior limestone that was drawn from the nearby quarry that now serves as a municipal swimming hole).        

“This is a home that really takes you back in time,” Smith says. “But it maintains all of that history while still being very functional for a modern lifestyle.”  

Photos Courtesy of VHT Photography. Rendering courtesy of Naper Settlement