Home at 142 E. Main mirrors next door
Published 8:43 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018
Originally built circa 1880, the home of Dr. Richard and Judy Young at 142 E. Main St., along with the home next door at 144 E. Main, make up two parts of a whole.
The story goes that in 1918, a carpenter divided the house in two to provide homes for the daughters of Bank of Washington President Seth Bridgeman. According to a history of the home written by Rena K. Terrell, it “sounds like a magician was involved, but no, a carpenter began sawing the roof in half, continued through the upstairs hall, then on down to the first floor.”
Once the home was sawed in two, the separate halves of the house were moved via horse and winch to their current locations. This interesting history, along with the home’s charming interior and beautiful garden, will undoubtedly be topics of conversation as guests visit the home during the upcoming Washington Area Historic Foundation’s Spring Home and Gardens Tour on April 14.
“In today’s world, we say it can’t be done,” Richard said. “But with mules and logs anything can be done.”
While the exterior of the home, to quote Richard Young, “looked like Berlin at the end of World War II,” in 1990 when the Youngs moved in, the majority of the home was structurally sound and in good condition. In the ensuing years, the couple has made a number of renovations to make it their own. From adding a stain glass window in the rear bathroom to building a back porch off of the kitchen, the structural additions to the home only add to the building’s unique character and history.
PLANTS, ART AND MARILYN
Two of the home’s most distinguishing features, the array of plants in the yard and the artwork hanging on the walls, both add color to the historic home.
In the front yard, tulips grow rampant, complemented by potted daffodils and pansies, giving the yard a splash of springtime color. In the home’s front foyer, a bird of paradise flower waits for warmer weather to move outside.
The back yard is likewise a green paradise. While the poppies haven’t come up yet, the couple has plans to plant a variety of species in their garden once the weather allows, including succulents.
“I think that everybody has a penchant, and my penchant is plants,” Richard said. “It must have some bearing from where my ancestors came. I understand plants like some people understand dogs or horses.”
On the home’s walls, works of local artists demonstrate the couple’s passion for paints. With works from Jane Wall and other area artists on the walls, each piece is a reflection of the couple’s passions.
“We have a lot of local art,” Judy said. “We’ll go to the fine art show, and they know he loves poppies.”
A third passion, mostly tucked away in the home’s laundry room, is Richard’s collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. Photos, signs, calendars, coffee mugs and even a full-size cardboard cutout are scattered throughout the home.
“Richard loves Marilyn Monroe, so everybody has given him pictures and things,” Judy said. “I said, ‘Where am I going to put all these, Richard?’ and I decided to put them in the laundry room. We just have Marilyn everywhere.”
While the home’s history is fascinating, perhaps the most interesting feature of 142 E. Main St. is its occupants. With strong penchants for gardening, history and Marylin Monroe, Richard presents himself as a man of many eccentricities. Judy, who loves to cook, helps keep her husband grounded.
“I am an Episcopalian,” Young said. “My wife and I are always late to things, so if we live three doors down from the Episcopal Church, we’re not as late as we would be if we had to drive.”
Richard says that a second factor is his preference for the company of religious people of a more quiet persuasion. With the church graveyard three doors down, Richard has plenty of friends for peaceful meditation.
“My attitude about that is that they’re there, and they lend credence to the fact that they had lives in the past,” Young said. “But it demonstrates that you can’t take any gift God gave you to the grave.”
While Richard’s reasons for occupying the house are more esoteric, Judy paints a more practical picture of their choice of residence.
“When we got married, he asked what kind of house I would like,” Judy said. “I said anything with a porch and a swing and that’s what this had. I love the wrap-around porch, and I think he bought it for me.”
A lover of history, Richard also found appeal in the home’s tall ceilings, its sound structure and good location. Of the 12-foot ceilings, Richard, at 5’4,” says that they make him feel taller.
While the couple would not elaborate to a great degree, the Youngs also alluded to the possibility of supernatural activity in the home. From bumps in the night to the brief glimpses of a figure at the top of the stairs, the two say they are convinced there are others in the home besides themselves and their dog.
“All I can say is there are other beings in this place besides us,” Richard said. “They don’t fix breakfast, they don’t pay their half of the rent, and they never go to the grocery store.”
The home at 142 E. Main St. can be seen on the self-guided Spring Homes and Gardens Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 14. Tickets for the event are available at the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Coffee Caboose and Little Shoppes on West Main Street. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the tour.