Even with its "distressed" facade (as antique collectors might put it), the Doty Mansion at the corner of Jackson and Highland Park in Batavia is an imposing structure.
The house was built in 1865 and is now split into four apartments, but its splendor and grandeur are apparent even as the white-washed bricks show through and some of the gables hang precariously from the eves.
Tim and Lisa Stoddard bought the mansion, built over a 10-year span by one of Batavia's early banking magnates, in 2003 and have since invested more than $100,000 into restoring the building.
And the work is still not done. Their are the gables to repair, and porch rails to replace and other improvements to be made, but Tim Stoddard spoke of the house glowingly after I ran into him this evening outside the residence.
"We love the house even though we'll never live in it," Stoddard said. "It's a beautiful house and we love the history of it. It's been a pleasure to own and a pleasure to work on."
Stoddard owns American Roofing, and he and Lisa are also restoring the Victorian-era home they currently live in.
He said he considered historic preservation of these grand old homes important and is sorry to see so many once great homes fall into disrepair.
The Doty Mansion, built by one of Batavia's original bankers, Leonidas Doty, has been a four-unit apartment complex for 60 years, and some of that time housed Section 8 tenants, Stoddard said, but he's slowly bringing back to its former glory.
The home still retains two 100-year-old-plus chandeliers as well as two grand marble fire places.
"I wish I could show you inside," Stoddard said at least three times while we walked around the house.
We all may get our chance for a partial tour soon -- an apartment in the house -- which Tim describes as larger than some single-family homes -- will be available for rent soon and the Stoddards plan to make tours available when its vacant.
UPDATE: I found this historical article about Mr. Doty via Google Books:
In 1856 Mr. Doty engaged in banking in Attica being associated with the celebrated financier and railroad magnate Dean Richmond. In 1860 Mr Doty bought out Mr. Richmond's interest and removed the bank to Batavia Genesee County. As a banker Mr. Doty was distinguished by courtesy accessibility and a disposition to afford all possible aid to legitimate enterprises. He held a place in the front rank of those safe yet progressive bankers who are regarded as pillars of strength in times of financial stress. Toward the close of his life he admitted to partnership Mr. John H Ward. Mr Doty was one of the founders of the First National Bank of Batavia for many years held a controlling interest in it which he sold in 1880. In 1876 Mr Doty came to Buffalo where he purchased a handsome residence on Delaware avenue.