Every home tells a story, and on Cape Cod the stories are often, shall we say, unique?
At first glance, the residence at 182 Gorham Rd. in Harwich Port appears to be like many others, in the architectural style that shares its name with the region-- Cape Cod. But this one began it's life in Randolph, Mass., 75 miles away, and it came to the Cape, piece by piece, over several trips, in the bed of a pickup truck.
After World War II, as Boston's population and main railroad line expanded, the little house in Randolph stood in the way of development. Town officials put out the word that for one-dollar, the house was for the taking. The one stipulation was it would have to be moved off-site.
Contractor George Ellis of Cape Cod saw an opportunity. Just back from fighting the war, Ellis dismantled the house, piece by piece and over a span of two years, he trucked it one load at a time, to Gorham Rd. in Harwich Port.
Painstakingly reconstructed, the charming little Cape was whole again in 1948. But Ellis and his wife wanted a larger kitchen, so a spacious addition was constructed that same year. "We were peeling some wallpaper off one of the bedrooms and saw the year 1948 written in pencil on the plaster wall", said Charlie Helliwell, the current longtime owner. "That's how we know when the house was finished".
The age of the original Randolph home is not known. With the steep and narrow staircase to the second floor, a design element long banned in home construction, it's likely the home is older than 100 years-- classifying it in real estate terms as an antique. But, "I guess you can't really call this one an antique since it's no longer in its original form", says Helliwell. In fact, the splatter-dash floors, characterized by wide pine planks painted and then "splattered" with other colors to form decorative dots, were new in 1948, even though that paint treatment was commonly done in homes many decades before.
Eventually the home was passed down to George's son Babe Ellis. Babe and his wife lived there for decades more.
Charlie and Karen Helliwell have owned the home since 1980. As the decades wore on, the house grew again, with an impressive addition housing the master en suite, two-car garage and deck, which overlooks nearly two acres of private grounds in a natural setting. The Ellis' are never far from 182 Gorham Rd., -- it was Babe's son Harry who constructed the addition for the Helliwells.
"It has such an interesting history", Charlie says of his home which is currently on the market for sale. "We've enjoyed every minute of living here, and we know the new owners will too."
182 Gorham Rd. is offered by Kinlin Grover Real Estate at $1,250,000. Contact myself, or Jane Englert at 781-789-3300 for a private showing.