Wheeling’s historic Howgait mansion goes viral when it hits the market: a labor of love restoring its original charm
Many people know nothing about the historic mansion in Wheeling, not even the neighbors.
But when it came on the market, its timeless architecture quickly became a hot topic.
Nestled in the trees of Woodsdale off Route 88 is the Howgait Mansion on 4.34 acres of grounds – private, quaint and truly interesting.
John Wren and his wife bought the house 12 years ago and restored it to its original condition.
They recently put it on the market for $750,000, and they couldn’t believe what happened next.
Like a song sung by a man in the woods, the list went viral, with more than 60,000 views on Zillow alone. Ren says he receives calls from all over the country, even Canada.
“I decided to put it on some old faces groups that I follow religiously, because I love seeing all the houses around the country, and it just went crazy,” he said.
But there is a reason why this home is in such high demand. It was built in 1911 by George Laughlin. All materials are built on site, from the brick to the woodwork and everything in between.
It was originally called ‘Anna’s Knoll’ after Laughlin’s wife, but was renamed Howgait Manor once it acquired the next owners – The Holloways.
It was the talk of the town in the 1900s when it was built – just as it is now that it is being sold.
“It was a big deal. There were newspaper articles with updates on the progress the house was making, so it was a big deal,” Wren said.
When the Wren family bought it, the house had been converted into several apartments by the previous owners in the 1950s.
Now, it’s a complete throwback to last year.
“For me, it’s a portal to the past,” Ren said. “It’s very secluded and quiet. Every time we’re here, it’s like our own little escape.”
The Raines gutted the place and restored its original essence. The hardwood floors were uncovered, six layers of wallpaper were removed, the original plaster of the ceilings was restored, and several rooms were refinished.
Butler’s pantry which was converted into a laundry room by the previous owners. Now back to its original walls, countertops and kitchen window.
The kitchen is a chef’s dream, with double sinks, huge ovens and plenty of counter space.
Dozens of windows fill the green room. Rumor has it that Wheeling’s first built-in radio is in the house.
Rens also restored the 4-story elevator.
An elegant precaution was taken to save the decks from disaster.
“On every floor, there was a fire hose, and the connections are still here, but not the fire hose,” Ren said.
The grand staircase has also been completely restored and has natural sunlight and dark hardwood.
Up the stairs are two floors containing nine spacious bedrooms, Jack and Jill bathrooms, and plenty of closets and storage space. And a completely renovated mobile home outside with three bedrooms and a three-car garage.
But 12 years of hard work came at a price!
“Very expensive,” Ren said. “There were times when we were like, ‘What have we gotten into?’ It was a labor of love and a lot of it. I learned from a lot of people here.
“There are a lot of people in this city who have the same love we have for the history of these homes and want to preserve them.”
So, with love of community, love of country and Wren’s love of history, Howgait Manor lives on.
“I feel rewarded for everything we put in, it’s all worth it,” Ren said.
(tags for translation)ZILLO