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Saturday, December 15 Real Estate

Renovations preserve Greek Revival style home in Redding

REDDING — The home at 66 Hill Road has become known as one of the best remaining examples of Greek Revival style in town, but had it not been for a few motivated homeowners in its centuries-long history, its architectural significance might not have survived the years.

The house, built in 1795 by one of the few doctors in Redding at the time, has undergone several renovations since then, including the remodel in the early 19th century that gave it its Greek Revival style exterior.

But it was two major renovations after that, many decades apart, that rescued the home from disrepair and ensured it’d be preserved today.

The first earned the house a feature in a 1938 edition of “House Beautiful” magazine, where architect Frazier Forman Peters described the restoration taken on by homeowner Earle H. Balch.

At that point, the house had not been maintained for so long that the sight of people fixing it up caused a resident riding his bike down the street to crash into a tree, Peters said. But Balch still found the restoration worthwhile because of the house’s style, which had become rare by then.

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“Of course, the house is exceptional,” Peters wrote. “In the whole countryside for miles around, I have found only two others of approximately the same pattern. This character and background forms the only logical basis on which to buy a building which requires extensive reconstruction or additions.”

The article outlines how Peters, Balch and a contractor restored the back porch, repaired the front entrance, preserved the original chimney, fixed the fireplaces and replaced many of the floors and walls, which had become rotted or cracked.

Decades later, though, the current homeowners said the house was again in need of repairs. The Wood family bought it 27 years ago and oversaw another extensive renovation, all while maintaining its historically significant features, Wendy Wood said.

“We put a lot of love into this house,” Wood said. “When we bought it it was in really bad shape. Everything was upgraded, but we have not changed the foot of the house."

The biggest change, Wood said, was creating a large, gourmet kitchen in the section of the house that was added in the 1930s and upgrading its amenities, like the cooling and heating system.

Through that and other renovations the couple preserved original features of the home, such as its three fireplaces, beehive oven, period doors and many of the “wavy glass” windows.

The features that make the home a Greek Revival — the entrance’s portico and its decorative detailing — have also been preserved. The features were outlined by the National Register of Historic Places as a prominent example of the style in a guide of Redding’s historic district.

The house is on the market for $579,000.

“It’s an awesome place to live and grow up,” Wood said. “It’s going to be really hard to leave here.”

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aquinn@newstimes.com

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