Miami ShoresWhen we look for historical shelters every week, we always find some beautiful homes with interesting stories — and that’s true this week as well, with the Simmons Estate in Miami Shores, Florida.

It’s always fun to go back and look at 1920s architecture — the era embraced luxury in a way that was potentially over the top, but so well crafted that to this day newer construction often attempts to emulate the grandeur.

And that’s true with 257 NE 91 St., a gorgeous Mediterranean built in 1925 and designed by the nationally-acclaimed architects Kiehnel and Elliot, whose work includes the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Carlyle Hotel in Miami Beach, and the downtown Miami Post Office. (more…)

schoolIn our quest to find the most interesting historical shelters, we fully admit to being suckers for a good school house conversion, and this example in the historic mining village of Hillsboro, New Mexico, does not disappoint.

The school was built in the 1800s, listing agent Crystal Lay with Steinborn & Associates Real Estate said, and it taught generations of elementary school students in the mining town.

More recently, it’s been beautifully renovated, and the sellers took pains to incorporate wonderful details into that renovation.

“The amazing original details including the interior tin roof tiles, the chalkboards, and the windows have been preserved and keep the authenticity of the school that is incorporated into the ample living space,” Lay said. (more…)

PhiladelphiaWhen Philadelphia lawyer Joseph Hopkinson and his wife Emily settled into their home on Spruce Street in 1794, the country was still in its infancy. Construction on the home itself had been completed just three years prior, by cabinet maker Jesse Williams.

Hopkinson saw the country grow from a collection of colonies that banded together for independence from England to a country, watching his father, Francis, sign the Declaration of Independence. Francis Hopkinson was also credited with designing the first Stars and Stripes during the Revolutionary War and later served as governor of Pennsylvania.

But the junior Hopkinson would forge his own place in U.S. history, penning the lyrics to “Hail, Columbia,” the first national anthem — a song that would remain so until the 1890s — at his home in 1798, using a melody written by Philip Phile 10 years prior.

They would raise their 14 children in the home, which also has its place in the Library of Congress, where one can read about the composition and use of “Hail, Columbia,” and also see photos of the home from decades ago.

Nowadays, the song is still in use as the official anthem for the Vice President, but before that, it was the anthem for the President, before it was replaced by “Hail to the Chief” officially during the Truman administration.

And now, 227 years later, the home is for sale, ready for its next family of history lovers to come in and continue to maintain and love the home.

The 4,100-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bath home has been so well maintained (and its history honored), that you can fairly envision Hopkinson putting quill to paper.Three stories high, plus a dormer fourth floor, the home immediately signals its history with a historical marker just to the left of the blue front door.

A 30-foot long hallway leads to two sitting rooms with wood-burning fireplaces surrounded by floor-to-ceiling moldings. That hallway ends with what Williams called “the piazza,” back in 1791.

(more…)

VirginiaWhen you begin looking for houses of historical significance, especially on the week of Thanksgiving, you often turn to the places where the country was born. For this week’s historical shelter, we found a Virginia home owned by a Revolutionary War soldier turned inn owner, with ties to a founding father and future president.

The Green Hill House, located in Salem, Virginia, was built in 1776. But the land it sits on was granted to William Walton in 1774, by none other than the Governor of Virginia — Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson granted 1,200 acres along the Roanoke River in what would eventually be Salem to Walton, who built the brick home we’re featuring this week. About 10 years later, Walton obtained a license to open an inn, and became a popular stopover for people heading to what would become the Louisiana Territories.

It is rumored that Jefferson frequented Green Hill House a few times, too.

By 1845, Walton sold the home to his son-in-law, Robert Craig — who was a U.S. congressman from 1829 to 1841. Craig is credited with giving the property its current name.

Nowadays, the property sits adjacent to Green Hill Park, which was once part of the original 1,200 acres in the land grant.

The home has been well-maintained and has kept in mind its historical provenance with the updates you see. The main floor boasts a grand ballroom with fireplaces and three chandeliers, a full bathroom, a formal dining room, a family room, and cathedral ceilings in the now-gourmet kitchen and hearth room — perfect spaces for a family Thanksgiving for any future owner.

(more…)

galvestonIt’s not often that the home of what many would consider to be Texas retail royalty comes up for sale — which is why this week’s historical shelter in Galveston immediately caught our attention.

The Victorian Robert I. Cohen built in 1896 is a half mile from the beach and a little more than a mile to the Strand.

If Cohen’s name doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps the store he bought will. In 1917, Pat and James Foley sold their Houston store, Foley Brothers, to Robert, who then turned the day-to-day running of the dry goods store to his son George, who then grew sales to almost $1 million by 1919.

Foley Brothers Store, 1906, Historic Houston Photographs, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 10, 2018.

By 1922, the Cohen’s moved the store to a three-story building on Main Street in Houston, becoming the city’s largest department store. (more…)

Saint AugustineCatch us, we’re swooning. This week’s historical shelter in Saint Augustine, Florida, is a magnificent marriage of vintage and updated, ably combining the old-world craftsmanship you’d expect of an 1887 Queen Anne Victorian in the nation’s oldest city with the design sensibilities needed to navigate 2018.

The four-bedroom, four-bath Hibbard House at 272 St. George is located just south of the Plaza de la Constitucion, surrounded by more historical homes between the Matanzas River and Lake Maria Sanchez.

The plaza is the central park of downtown Saint Augustine and has been a central part of the town since 1573 when it was first designed by Spanish Royal Ordinance, which dictated that it be laid out in a rectangular shape according to the compass points, with the length to be 1 ½ times the width. It’s also home to a pre-1700s well that has been designated as an American Water Landmark.

The public market that the plaza is home to has existed since the 1500s, and is still in use by local vendors today.

Entertainment opportunities abound, with the shopping and dining of downtown Saint Augustine nearby, as well as the City Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway a few blocks to the east of the neighborhood, and the beaches of Anastasia State Park a short drive away.

And as much as this home stuns from the curb, inside, it’s even better. It’s been restored with an eye to maintaining its rich history, including the rich woodwork throughout the home, said listing agent Janie Coffey with Compass. (more…)

LockhartIf you know anything about Texas, you know that barbecue is nearly a religion. And if you know anything about barbecue in Texas, you also know that Lockhart is one of the places where many barbecue lovers will insist you need to make at least one trek in your lifetime.

Which is why we got excited about this Tudor-style mansion with plenty of room for family retreats in the land of barbecue. Because not only is Lockhart a great place for great food, but it’s also quite close to lots of amazing day trips steeped in Texas culture and history. (more…)

Villa MarreIn the Candy’s Media Group family, there’s at least one person with a special place in her heart for the sitcom Designing Women (maybe specifically, Julia Sugarbaker, but that’s neither here nor there). So that one person may have gotten very excited when the historic Villa Marre in Little Rock went on the market.

Why? Because Villa Marre, in addition to being a grand historic mansion, is also the exterior that stood in for the Atlanta mansion the Sugarbakers worked in.

Indeed, a few years ago Southern Living shot a video of the home in part because of its ties to the show.

(more…)