Old houses brought back to life on Main Street
There are two renovation projects happening on Main Street in Wellington. Both houses were originally built before 1850, and both are being meticulously restored to their former glory.
The first is a home renovation/passion project for Jim Kotsilidis and his wife Lynn Gillingham. Their house at 252 Main was built between 1830 and 1840. They are looking to restore the outside of the house as accurately as possible to its original façade. Even the colors of the tiles are being considered for accuracy. Depending on how far back in the County your roots go, you may know this house as the VanDusen house. Going even further back, the Clinton house or going way, way back it was the Garrett House.
Jim and Lynn purchased the house in 2013. During a renovation a year later, they found something behind the walls that they weren’t expecting. eight pairs of shoes hidden in the walls and over the doorways of their little house. Apparently, there was a tradition at the time to put a pair of shoes “into” the house for every person that was going to live in the house. Lynn and Jim’s most educated guess is that the shoes belong to Thomas (B.1791 D.1880) and Elizabeth (B.1798 D.1888) (nee Barker) Garrett and their family. Thomas and Elizabeth had 10 kids, some born after the house was built which is why they would only have eight pairs of shoes.
Perplexed at what to do with these shoes, Jim and Lynn brought them to local historical societies with a lukewarm response, so they decided to follow tradition. They each added a shoe of their own and sealed it all back up behind the walls of the house again. It was also said to ward off evil sprits, so not messing with that is always good.
“As for the renovation, its always hard finding time outside of your professional life to complete a project, but everything so far has been according to plan,” says Kotsilidis
Down a little at 192 Main is the a building that was built in 1847 by J.P. Dorland. A lot of time and energy is being put forth by Matt Buckingham and his team into restoring the newly appointed Wellington Hotel and highlighting some of the amazing architectural pieces.
“I am certain we have spent over 100 hours restoring this archway” says Buckingham, referring to the wooden archway at the front steps of the Inn. It’s important because it is one of the first things a hotel guest will see. Heavy laquer and previous paint jobs made it hard to get it back to its original glory, but the hours spent was well worth it. “As for the trim, we saved every piece we could. We were lucky to salvage a good deal from the house.” Other areas of importance to the restoration of the hotel will be the staircase at the front of the house and the belvedere on the roof.
The property will feature eight rooms and a number of cottages as well. It will feature a restaurant and a tuck shop onsite. Future expansion plans include a spa within a year of opening. The owners of the property will be working as a team to run the day-to-day operations. They have also begun the processes of quitting their jobs in the city and moving to the County full-time to make this project their priority.
“Our main focus will be settling in and meeting everyone we can locally,” says Buckingham “We came out here to be closer to our families and have this hotel be a part of a great community.”
Both projects on Main Street aim to be completed by the spring or summer of 2018.