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Last post
Ian Conrey
Age of house?

I recently bought a home last March in the downtown historic portion of our local town, Ellijay. On the deed it stated the house was built "1945?" Since there was a question mark I was curious to know if that was actually when it was built of if it was earlier or not. I went by the court house, tax assessors office, city hall, and even the Gilmer Historical Society. Almost all agreed that they thought the house was older than 1945 but I could not get any solid answers, other than that it was likely restored in 1945. I tried looking up previous owners but to no avail. I have attached a link to several pictures of the house and various aspects within, and I was hoping maybe someone on here could tell me at least roughly when the house may have been built.

Some basic information about the pictures: The foundation is brick and it seems to be soft fire brick at that. There is an underground cellar with dirt walls. All of the windows in the house have slightly wavy glass and most of them are 3 over 1 style, and all are rope drawn with counterweights. The upstairs windows and doors have interesting designs in their trim. Most of the door hardware is the old rim-lock style made by Yale Co (pictured in the first doorknob photo), but there are several styles throughout the house. Some of the doors have copper hinges made by Hager. The original walls seem to be bead board. There is an old cast-iron coal basket (looks like an 1880's style) in one fire place - This fireplace has been re-done, but the other two fireplaces (which are in bedrooms) are original. The brick in these two seem handcrafted. Also, the outdoor deck and porch both lean forward. I know that was done in the past, but not sure when they stopped making them that way. Thanks in advance!

Re: Age of house?

My guess based on wood work, foundation, and hardware would be around the late 1800's, although there has been some updating. You might go to the historical society or library and check for old county atlases, they often have pictures of the existing houses of the time of the atlas.


Re: Age of house?

Based on that mantel and the bullseye door trim, I'd put it at 1890; The blackened copper hinges and the wire-textured brick are more like 1915-WWII.

Re: Age of house?

There are ways to do this in an urban area - rural makes it much harder.

My urban house was incorrectly dated by county tax records as 1940, found out later it was really built in early 1920's. Found this by pestering the County Clerk's office - they told me all the tax records in the county were destroyed in a flood in 1940, so they just reset the clock on all tax records for existing structures at that time.

We engaged other neighbors in this intriguing endeavor - they were also wondering about the inconsistencies of trim, style, etc. and tax records when they bought their houses. Someone went to the local library and was able to back-date addresses using old telephone books. They simply looked at each year around the time they thought their house was built, and looked at whether the address showed up in the book. They then went back 1 year at a time until they found the year/book where their address first showed up, implying that was the year the house was built.

Another neighbor pulled county property records and found the original deed of the subdivision showing the date the neighborhood was first platted and deeded - this was part of creating streets, alleys, and utility easements. You can easily assume your house is younger than that date on the deed.

Finally, another neighbor - using the same local library - found an advertisement for the neighborhood from the builder in old newspapers. One of the ads even showed individual lots with the construction status (i.e. for sale, sold, or house already built and occupied).

I found this process fun and a great way to engage with neighbors. Good luck in your hunt!

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