April 19, 2019

Preservation Personals: A White House in Orange, New Jersey

  • By: Emma Sarappo
The exterior of the South Orange, N.J. Heman Dowd house.

photo by: Fran Lichtman

Orange, New Jersey 07050.

Powerful people often command beautiful houses—and I’m no exception. I was built in Orange, New Jersey, for Colonel Heman Dowd—a West Point graduate and influential bank executive—in 1903. If my architecture looks a bit older to you, don’t worry: that’s intentional. My architect, Robert S. Stephenson, designed me in the popular Colonial Revival style, which you can see in details like my Palladian second-floor window and Dutch Colonial features like my gambrel roof. I’ve got the solid bones of a home just over a century old, but the historical lineage of some of North America’s earliest European buildings.

As soon as you enter, you’ll be impressed by my grand center hall and stairway, features I share with other Colonial Revival buildings—and the buildings they’re based on. My grandeur doesn’t end there. I have nine bedrooms, nine fireplaces, and 10-foot ceilings. I retain some charming original features, like a clawfoot tub in my third floor’s bathroom. The hard work’s already done, however: My plumbing, electric, and heating have all been updated. You won't be the only historic homeowner on the block, either. I'm part of the town's Seven Oaks Historic District.

I was so lovely when built that Scientific American profiled me, much like I’m being profiled now. (They were especially enamored with my oak, birch, and pine trimmings.) But, inevitably, I have changed as I’ve grown older. Initially, my exterior was a buff color and my shutters were green, to compliment my brown roof, as part of the Colonial Revival fashion of the time. Since then, I’ve had a facelift, and my exterior is a white that looks beautiful in the New Jersey snow.

If you’d like to be my fourth owner, see my listing here. Looking for a home in a different region? See our other historic real estate listings here.

The interior of the Heman Dowd house.

photo by: Fran Lichtman

Before his death, my first owner, Heman Dowd, was the oldest living graduate of West Point.

The grand entryway of the Heman Dowd house.

photo by: Fran Lichtman

The grand staircase and landing lead to the second floor, but I have another story above that one.

Emma Sarappo is a former Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She can be found writing or in the kitchen of her century-old DC rowhouse.

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