Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

Posted by igloochic (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 16, 09 at 13:35

Our dream home was pulled off the market today. This is the second home we've flown to see a few times, and we've made full appraised value offers, and then, the old ladies pulled the houses off the market :( We feel somewhat jinxed LOL

So now we search again. There are two homes listed built in the 1860's. The 1860 home is built of 2x16s butted together horrizontally from basement to attic. It's not as large as we want eventually but it would be a good investment for the future. The second is mid 1860's and we know less about the construction. It's in a lovely spot with fabulous views but appears to be significantly overpriced for the market.

We also have a couple of 1870's to look at. Are there any problems that are inhirant inheirant inharant...dang my spelling ability...specific to houses of this age?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

"...specific to houses of this age?"

Any very old house may have undersized floor joists.

While the wood quality is usually very good (old growth stuff is common) building codes were not present in many places.

Upgrades for interior plumbing and central heating may have further damaged joists.

Electrical lines are usually small enough to not cause an issue unless someone notched joists (or studs) instead of boring holes.

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

I thought you got that huge B&B house? Is that what fell through?
As far as a house built of 2x16's butted horizontally, I don't know what that means. I have heard of structures made of 2x6s stacked on top of each other horizontally; typically that's called grain bin construction; it's essentially solid wood walls 6" thick. It's incredibly strong, but hard to run plumbing and electric, because there is no space for wires or pipes.
1860's saw the arrival of balloon framing, but transitional "braced frame" construction was still being used. Many great brick houses were built in the 1860's. Architecturally you are at the heart of the Italianate style's popularity. Greek revival had waned, Other revivals (gothic, egyptian, etc) were not very popular, and more exuberant Victorian styles were still a decade or more off.
Houses built in the 1860's and 1870's are now usually old, musty-smelling, and in need of painting. You may want to upgrade all mechanical systems as well as electrical.
Without seeing in person, it's hard to tell whether the framing is undersized.

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

According to the Colwell banker site the house is still on the market and the price has been dropped $100,000.

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

Casey, we're not sure we're going to get the property after all. The old lady who owns it has not been responsive to offers unfortunately. We are considering purchasing another home and waiting for either that home or another larger one we know will hit the market in the next year. That owner is more acquainted with market values than our existing dream house...and we can dream about a different one if necessary. The other one is even more spectacular :) We're disapointed, but we're also willing to wait for the right house if the owner can't get a grip on reality. But in the mean time we need a home to live in this fall due to our son's condition, so we're thinking of buying a smaller home, yet just as's the oldest house in town. It's cute and a good investment to hold on to. It has had significant money put into updating it and that's been done with the character of the home in place. I'd never heard of that type of construction myself, so I thought I'd ask :)

We want to be sensative to the historical character of all of the houses we buy in town...and I'm very familiar with victorians, but an older house, that's a new beast. We'll be sure to look at that issue with floor stregnth (since we'll probably want another french range in the kitchen). Although I can't imagine that a french range weighs much more than the current pro style (Wolf I think) they have...but that's worth paying attention to.

Fortunately it's not "old, musty-smelling, and in need of painting" :) But we'll put an extra effort on electrical inspections (thanks). The B&B had upgraded electricals, but this one might not since it's been a private home.

The downside of it is size (it won't be a long term house for us) and lack of bathrooms (1 1/2 I believe). But it's a darned sweet house and one I could easily love while we wait for the other to get on the market.

Linda, please, leave me alone? Please, I'm trying to ask nicely, but if you'd be so kind as to put me on mental "Ignore" I'd appreciate it. Your information here is not up to date, but again, please don't bother making an effort to update it. I would really appreciate it!

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

Igloo, I'm really sorry to hear that that amazing B & B won't be yours, for the house as well! I think it's tough to come by an owner that will respect and enjoy- good to hear that you have other possibilities. Good luck with everything!

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

lindac.....Do you have a link to the house? I would love to see pics....Thanks

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

Here ya go....

Here is a link that might be useful: consulate inn

RE: What do I need to know about a house built in the 1860's?

Thank you!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here