Main Road 1569 Nathan Curtis House ("The Pillar House")

Title

Main Road 1569 Nathan Curtis House ("The Pillar House")

Description

The Nathan Curtis House, built about 1800. Nathan Curtis was a tavern keeper, first licensed in 1816 (see Wilson's "History of Granville" page 339).

The present owner (2019) purchased the property from George Sattler in 2000, who recounted the story of the distinctive pillars, which were added in the 1950's along with other changes made at the time.

George Sattler (1926-2007, buried in West Granville Cemetery) and Rudy Hendric (1912-1988, buried in West Granville Cemetery) had to pick the pillars up at the train station and lug them back to Granville. They were so enormous that several feet had to be trimmed off to fit the house!

One has to imagine that a good Yankee like George must have looked at the cut-offs and thought, "Those are good for something" but so far there is no clue as to what became of them.

The house was also moved slightly when it was converted from the classic New England farmhouse to the current style, and put on a concrete block foundation [local lore had it that the house was moved onto an old barn foundation but that does not appear to be accurate based on the actual construction of the new foundation; perhaps an older fieldstone or rubble foundation was removed first].

At the same time the east and west "wings" of the house were removed, rusticated siding (wood carved to look like stone) was added and was modeled after Mount Vernon.

George Sattler fashioned custom draperies for some pretty high society NYC clients. He and Rudy lived in the house next door (1577) but used the Pillar House to showcase their draperies and antiques. Audrey Hepburn and Tony Curtis are said to be among the celebrity customers who came to the house to select draperies.

Thanks to Pamela Petschke for providing the background information on this amazing Granville house.

More about those columns: It is said that the columns were salvaged from the New York (other recollections suggest New Hampshire) mansion of Lydia Pinkham, who made a fortune in the patent medicine business. There were "Lydia Pinkham's pink pills" as well as her 40 proof "vegetable compound" which was especially successful during Prohibition (taken for "medicinal purposes" only, of course). ;-)

Because of the alcohol content of her concoctions, "The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham" became a popular World War 1 drinking song. Another version called "Lydia The Pink" has been performed by well-known artists to this day. Both versions can be heard on YouTube.

The Granville Library Historical Room would like to know of any photos of the Pinkham mansion showing the columns.

And the most important question: Has anyone heard the faint echos of a chorus of "The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham" floating across the green in West Granville on a quiet summer evening, coming from the direction of Lydia Pinkham's pillars?

Contributor

Pamela Petschke, 2019

Rights

Granville Library Historical Room
Town of Granville (Assessors photo)
Pamela Petschke: Two recent photos of Lydia's pillars

Citation

“Main Road 1569 Nathan Curtis House ("The Pillar House"),” Granville Historic Image Library, accessed October 22, 2019, https://historicalroom.omeka.net/items/show/919.

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