This Historic Mansion Is the Ultimate Fixer Upper—And It’s Listed for $54,900

published Jun 18, 2020
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Credit: Welcome Home Realty

Would you snag the ultimate fixer-upper if you weren’t even allowed inside? That’s the case with the Graves Mansion, a once-stunning Second Empire-style fever dream that’s since fallen into disrepair. Interested buyers aren’t allowed to go in for safety reasons, but it’s for sale for folks willing willing to put the time and energy into revamping the imposing brick estate. After failing to snag a buyer at auction late last year with a $74,700 price tag, It’s currently listed at $54,900.

Tucked away on a secluded back street, the 32-room mansion is set on nine-and-a-half acres in tiny Au Sable Forks, a once-bustling mill town in the Adirondacks. Though the listing says it’s an eight-bed, five-bath estate, a Facebook post by the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company says it has 20 bedrooms and nine bathrooms, along with nine intricately-crafted fireplaces.

Measuring 10,964 square feet, the house was originally built in 1877 for just $75,000—the equivalent of $1.25 million today. Despite attempts to renovate the property in the last few decades, it’s crumbled in recent years, hence the restrictions against entry. According to the listing, the property “is being sold as is with curb-side or drive-by viewing.” Now, the windows are boarded up and the verandas are cracking, according to

But the history behind the sprawling estate is just as twisted as its current status. Built by industrialist Henry Graves in the mid-1870s, the mansion was crafted with lots of intricate features, ranging from copper door handles and hinges with carvings of hummingbirds to intricate wood carvings on the ceilings and handcrafted oak and black walnut staircases.

According to Adirondack Architectural Heritage, a nonprofit historic preservation organization, Graves built the mansion “reportedly in an attempt to out-do his in-laws, with whom he was feuding.” We’ve heard of spite houses, but a spite mansion? Even better. 

The sprawling estate even had President Grover Cleveland stop by for a visit once on his way to a summer vacation. But as the years went on, Graves’ tale got a bit more complicated. It was discovered that he financed the construction of the estate by embezzling money from his family’s company. Luckily, they allowed him to remain in the home (albeit forcing him to live in the servant’s quarters) until his death at age 91 in 1917. Now the property can be yours, if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and a whole lot of cash. You can see the full listing here.