My daughter and I drove by the Martin/Stonedene site for the first time in November 2005. I have a great appreciation for old architecture and was enchanted by the house. The excellence of the craftsmanship was plain to see. We made inquiries, but nobody seemed to know much about the place. With persistance, its incredibly rich history began to emerge.
We made the acquaintance of Clyde Low, local historian, who provided us with the opportunity to tour the house and grounds. I was so excited! But, what I saw literally made me ill. The mansion had been raped of anything of value including most of Morgan's light fixures, all of her antique bathroom fixures, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars of silk window treatments and large antiques left for the house by the Currys. Mrs. Curry's beautiful custom $70,000 inside paint had been covered over with Navajo White.
You will find below just a few of the photos we made of damage that had been sustained since the departure of the Currys.
The house was being utilized as a used furniture warehouse, and it was being treated like a warehouse. Above is a photo of the downstairs parlor with the gorgeous Morgan fireplace. Below is the dining room.
A downstairs toilet had been allowed to overflow, ruining a large section of oak planking. The roof was leaking over the solarium and had damaged sections of the floor. There was water damage in several places on the main floor ceilings, which seemed odd to me until I discovered in the attic the shoddiest installation of a gas furnace that I have ever seen. I could see daylight through the holes cut in the roof for the vents and stack. Naturally there was water damage on the attic floor, which had leaked through to show on the main floor ceilings.
The steam heat radiators had been taken out along with the heavy and expensive copper pipe. Mrs. Curry told me that the steam heat had worked beautifully and kept the entire house evenly heated and humidified. A new gas furnace had been installed, but serviced only the upstairs, so the main floor had no heat. Both kitchens and a bathroom had been taken out. The remodeling that had been done looked cheap and shoddy because no care had been taken to restore to the original look and period. Walls had been removed and Morgan's original configuration altered. The work generally lacked quality. The house currently has no potable water and is not hooked into the city sewer.
No effort had been expended on upkeep for the outside of the house resulting in interior water damage from splitting window casements. A little timely paint would have solved the problem before it happened. The soffit, fascia and gingerbread were peeling and full of woodpecker holes.
The grounds were being used as a dumping ground and looked like a junkyard with trash everywhere. In fact, there was a huge area where a small mountain of fill from other developments had been dumped just behind the carriage house.
I have a little experience with remodeling and restoration and as I walked the site, I guesstimated that it would take six to ten million dollars to do the basics and another five or so to get the grounds into shape.
What a terrible, terrible waste. The historic Martin/Stonedene site is in the hands of those whose only agenda is profit. I weep.