Dilapidated Victorian razed

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A dilapidated one-story Victorian at 510 Holland Avenue in Philadelphia’s Historic District, an eyesore and a source of frustration for neighbors for more than 15 years, was sold and demolished but not before the heart pine floors and bricks were salvaged.

The house had beadboard throughout including the ceiling. The pine floors and the beams, floor joists, ceilings joist were all in great condition as well as most of the exterior siding, the new owner said.

“I was amazed at the skill and craftsmanship of the carpenters that built the house,” said Mac Burt, the new owner.

The cleaning out of the the house was a major undertaking. “We had two dumpers and hauled away 14 tons of garage and debris from inside the house,” said Burt, a landscaper and caterer whose home is behind the property.

The house, built in about 1908, had become unlivable with the roof damaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and never fully repaired. 

Over the years, there were countless complaints by neighbors about the lot being overgrown and the general state of the house.  

Neglect was the downfall of a house that was built to last, Burt said.

“If the the previous owners had only replace the roof 30 years ago the house would have been there another 100 years,” he said.

The issue was discussed in numerous meetings of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. It stayed on the city building inspector’s radar. During that time, attempts were made to clean the lot.

Work to tear down the house began a few weeks ago and is complete. 

“I hated to see the house torn down but its was too far gone,” said Gloria Williamson, one of the neighbors who has redone homes in town.

“But it was too far gone, she said. “Hopefully, someone will build something on the lot — maybe a bed and breakfast.” But she has not spoken formally to the new owner.

Williamson said during a board of alderman meeting that her grandparents originally built the house.

Mayor James A. Young summed up the controversy recently. “All’s well that ends well,” he said. “It’s a blessing we got it done.

There was plenty to salvage with the old wood and windows. The house was full of the heart pine and old windows that aren’t made any more.

Burt’s daughter Alex is building a new home around the Hattiesburg area and they plan to use as much of the old lumber as possible.

The house had two double fireplaces and they salvaged a lot of homemade brick with some stamped Laurel. 

“I don’t have any plans for the lot now that the house is gone,” Burt said. “I will clean it up and just maintain it.”


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