The Bolivar mini-mansion

Given its size — it’s three stories high and 3,660 square feet — the 1880s-built Victorian stands out among the modest-sized homes in the area.

BOLIVAR — Ask anyone in Bolivar about the “mini mansion” at 84 Wellsville St., and you’re sure to get an earful about the well-known relic’s history and appearance.

Given its size — it’s three stories high and 3,660 square feet — the 1880s-built Victorian stands out among the modest-sized homes in the area.

Its multifaceted structure with Queen Anne-style characteristics such as the pointed roof perched on top, a bay window on the lower front and a couple of bay windows on second-story and a porch spans across half of the front of home also make it an eye-catching piece of real estate.

The mammoth-sized residence features four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a pair of living room spaces, a formal dining room with a fireplace, an updated kitchen, an enclosed curved porch, hardwood floors throughout and detailed woodwork around each of the doorways. Most of the residence is decorated with period-style colors and lighting.

However, the giant structure didn’t always boast all of these unique features.

According to real estate history records, Erie Wilson purchased the home from David Cooper and his wife Margaret in 1890 for $2,000. At the time, the home was half the size with a square structure and a low hip room. A remodel between 1890 and 1910 added 20 feet to the front of the house and a curved porch.

Wilson also added electricity powered by a plant and gas engine in the cellar, making this residence the first home in Bolivar to feature electric lighting.

The structure was then sold to S. Clair Cleveland in 1941 and exchanged hands and served many purposes for decades afterward.

Dr. James F. Hoffman owned the home from 1948 to 1973 and then sold it to Dr. Ernest Allison, who set up his chiropractic office in the downstairs portion.

Once Allison sold the home in 1979, Louis and Joyce Molisani, Ignacio Gomez Jr. and Matthew and Pamela Perkins all had ownership of the home, a time during which it served as an apartment.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, a fire destroyed portions of the home, and it exchanged hands again. This time, the Allegany County Area Foundation purchased it and assisted the Bolivar-Richburg School District with creating a program that would help rehab this and four other Bolivar-area homes.

In 2009, Bolivar-Richburg students renovated the charred structure to include the updated kitchen, a new fire sprinkler system, radiant floor heating, new wiring and new plumbing.

Current owner Rob Brott, who purchased the home last summer, said he will continue restoration work to ensure the historic home remains a positive vision in the area.

He recently had the home’s exterior repainted a medium blue shade with white trim, replacing the chipping mint green with white trim that existed before, and he’s attempting to have the structure listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

“It’s a gem in this community, and I intend to have it recognized as such,” Brott said. “That’s one of the reasons I purchased the home. I recognized its rare charm.”

(Contact reporter Darlene M. Donohue at Follow her on Twitter,@DarleneMDono)


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