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Canal Road Victorian Among Six On Waterville Home Tour

The Schaller-Simpson home at 219 Canal Rd. was home to Anna Schaller-Simpson for over 70 years. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER
The dining room features wood trim and floors and a refinished fireplace.

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Growing up, Deanna Montanaro wasn’t a fan of old homes and antiques. “When I was a kid I thought, ‘Why would I want to be around all this old stuff?’ Now I love it,” said Deanna, who lives in a 125-year-old home with her husband Nicholas and their children. The home, at 219 Canal Rd., is one of six featured in the Waterville Historical Society’s Historical Homes Tour on Saturday, June 17. As she walked through the original home and its 1980s addition, Deanna explains that the family gets to enjoy all of the character of the Victorian-era home that was a labor of love for former owner Jim Stehlik. “We have all the conveniences of living in the modern world,” she said, looking around the kitchen with granite counters. In 1999, when Stehlik purchased the home, it was overgrown and so dilapidated that it could have been condemned. “I had the house rewired, and redid the plumbing, installed a new furnace and a roof,” Stehlik recalled. He installed wainscoting and a chair rail along with modern fixtures in the bathroom, replaced the fireplace and found pocket doors and trim from another Victorian home being torn down. He also found a stained glass piece to hang in the first-floor transom window. Stehlik was going to tear down a small shed, but discovered Anna Simpson’s signature inside. So he moved the shed to a corner of the half-acre property, where it will be included on the tour. Born Anna Schaller, she purchased the 1892 home in 1908 and her sister lived next door. Anna married John Simpson (1875-1922) and continued living in the home until her death in 1977, according to Waterville historians John and Verna Rose. The porch in a historic photo has wooden rails, but at some point large cement blocks were added as the porch columns. Stehlik replaced the block with wood columns again. Matching the pitch and overhang of the house, Stehlik built a carriage house in place of the shed. Making the home historically accurate was a priority for Stehlik, who also added wooden beams from a barn, trim and a fireplace to the addition that was built in the 1980s and was too modern for the home, he believed. While living there, Jim’s wife Tracy labored in the yard, creating a setting that – just months after selling the home – was recognized by Countryside Garden Club in August 2013. Inside the home, the Montanaros have family antiques throughout, including some that Deanna recovered following a sale by her parents. A wardrobe, commode and other period pieces fill the rooms. The entire home and outbuildings will be open for the tour. Tickets are available for $20.00 each, allowing access to six homes plus two WHS museums, the Robbins House and Sargent House, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.watervillehistory.org, click “Join and Give” and select “Historic Homes of Waterville.” Tickets purchased online will be available the day of the event at J & R Contracting in Waterville Plaza, where shuttles will transport guests to the homes. Each house will have additional tickets for sale, as well.

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