Friday, July 24, 2015

Prices for Historic Houses Near Civil War Battle Sites are Rising Faster Than the National Average

Out of 1.8 million active listings in the U.S. at the end of May, 32,240 were on or near one of the roughly 300 Civil War battle sites, according to

Reports WSJ:
In the 23 markets with two or more battlefields, all but one have higher median list prices compared with prices last year, and 17 are seeing faster year-over-year listing-price growth than the national average of 7%. Of course, other factors influence buyers in these markets, but proximity to well-preserved battle sites and green space adds to their appeal...

In Franklin, Tenn., near the 1864 Battle of Franklin, Joseph Cashia, a retired health-care executive, and his wife, attorney Angela Humphreys, bought a circa-1810 Federal-style home on 18 acres for $2.85 million in 2006, and have since poured about $1 million into the home’s restoration.

Living in the home became a treasure hunt. In a hidden staircase, the couple found a sheet of striped yellow wallpaper from the 1830s. They had the sample reproduced for the dining room. Beneath layers of paint, they found “marbleization”—painted patterns applied to hardwood to make it appear like stone. “The nouveau riche wanted to look a little richer,” Mr. Cashia said. On some nights, the couple lights the home with candlelight.

“I like all things Tennessee,” says Mr. Cashia, 58, who is an avid collector of Federal-style furniture from the state. Before moving there, the couple lived in a 1990s “typical box-kind-of home,” Mr. Cashia said. In May, the couple listed the home for $4.5 million, saying they plan to downsize to a smaller home in Georgia. They hope the buyer is equally enthusiastic about history....

Owning a historic home comes with responsibilities. Annual maintenance runs into the six figures, thanks in part to utility bills, like heating, for the main house and caring for the formal gardens, Mr. Cashia said. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, which aims to keep the home’s facade mostly unchanged. Inside, they installed new modern conveniences, such as a new kitchen and a whole-house sound system, but painstakingly avoided damaging the 14-inch-thick walls. Wireless reception is spotty in places.

A Southern antebellum home can also carry with it difficult reminders of the history of slavery. Mr. Cashia said he didn’t think much about the home’s legacy—it was a working plantation before the war—until an African-American businessman from Chicago and his family showed up at his door in 2013. They told Mr. Cashia that they had traced their family lineage to a former slave on the plantation. Mr. Cashia gave them a tour of the property and has since provided them historical documents he found that shed light on their forebear. The home “has seen the good, and it’s seen the bad,” Mr. Cashia said, and says he sees his role as a caretaker for the house.
Homes for Sale Near Civil War Battles


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