ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – This mansion on West Water Street in Elmira has been here for 140 years.
It’s known to many as the Samson J. Friendly House. It was built for German real estate investor and merchant Samson J. Friendly. The house’s brick exterior may look nice from the outside, but the interior shows years of neglect. But that doesn’t matter to the home’s newest owners.
“When we walked into the house, we both had the same like…oh my goodness. This place is amazing,” said owner April Grossman.
Peeling paint, dilapidated ceilings and extensive water damage are just a few repairs that need to be made.
“I’m on a very strict budget. I sold my home in Florida to help finance it. I’ve had a contractor, the same contractor who said the house would cost $3 million to rebuild, estimate about $300,000,” Grossman said.
April Grossman and her daughter Katie have dedicated long hours to return this nearly 150 year old place to its old form.For now, the historic home is just liveable.
“The house has been totally unlivable for many years, we know for at least 30 years. Maybe 50 years. So I came up with an RV and lived in the backyard all last summer while we did nothing but just clean. But we’re actually able to live in the house now. We have some electricity in certain rooms,” said Grossman.
April is a former realtor and has wanted to own and renovate a Victorian home for years. After looking at sites to find one, she decided to fly from St. Petersburg, Florida to Elmira to look at a few houses.
“I just booked a flight and my daughter drove over from brooklyn and we looked at I think 12 or 14 houses.”
Katie is sharing their journey to the house’s Instagram account, which has garnered more than 21,000 followers.
When all repairs are complete, the pair wants this to be their home.
“Our plan right now is to get it to where it can be a living space and because my daughter and I are doing the project together and she’s much younger. I would imagine at some point in the future she can do what she likes. and right now, we’re considering it our family home.”
There’s no timetable for the renovations, but the two say they’re in no rush to complete it.
If you’d like to follow 456 West Water Street’s journey, here’s a link to its Instagram page.