Meybohm Realtors agent Ali Hippenstiel, dressed in Victorian-era attire, waves her hat to motorists passing by the home of William and Linda Caldwell at 410 North Louisville St. in Harlem during an open house. After 28 years, the Caldwells are selling the historic Victorian-style home built in the late 1800s.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Halloween in Harlem will be different this year with no witch to guard a bubbling brew on the porch of a landmark home in the city.
Linda Caldwell is hanging up her broom after 28 years of portraying a scary character for hundreds of visiting children at her home at 410 North Louisville St. in Harlem.
Caldwell and her husband, William, extensively decorate the home for most holidays, especially Christmas and Halloween.
"She (the witch) has retired," Caldwell said. "The broom has gotten gray like the witch."
After many years in the home that some Harlem residents refer to as the "Big Blue House,'' Caldwell and her husband have decided to sell their Victorian-style home.
The Caldwells moved from the 4,600-square-foot home in early February to a site with 18 acres and four ponds.
With her children now grown and living in the area, Caldwell said, the six-bedroom house became big and quiet.
"Since all the kids live in the area, we didn't have to worry about keeping room for them to come and stay," Caldwell said.
"It was sad leaving, especially after we'd been there almost 30 years."
The Caldwells moved to Harlem in 1977 by way of Fort Gordon, where Mr. Caldwell was stationed.
"We just fell in love with the Harlem area," Caldwell said. "The kids all loved it, too."
In those 28 years living in the heart of Harlem, the Caldwells worked hard to modernize the home, which was built in 1885, while also keeping its historical significance intact. The home has original heart of pine floors, 12-foot high ceilings and antique mantels over the home's five fireplaces.
The Caldwells added a bathroom, family room, bar and game room downstairs and an in-ground pool, 1,400 square feet of decking, a lighted horseshoe pit and several fruit trees outside, including peach, apple and fig.
"We put a lot of love, and hammer and nails, but a lot of love into that house," Caldwell said.
Updates to the kitchen, wiring and plumbing brought the home into the 21st century.
The Caldwells extensively decorated the home for Christmas, stringing lights all over the house and throughout the more than 150-year-old oak and cedar trees on the site's 1.6 acres.
Now that the Caldwells have downsized to a three-bedroom/two-bathroom home, Caldwell said she has high hopes for the home she raised her family in.
"We are hoping that someone would get it for a bed and breakfast," Caldwell said, adding that visitors to Harlem have to be referred to Augusta or Thomson for a place to spend the night.
With the Laurel and Hardy Museum growing as a city attraction and the upcoming International Sons of the Desert Convention, Caldwell said a bed and breakfast inn would be needed.
"We would be thrilled," Harlem Mayor Scott Dean said about such a possibility, adding he sees no problem getting the required zoning for the inn. "That is the kind of tourism that we need."
A family moving into the house, however, would please Caldwell just as much.
The Caldwells were hosts of an open house March 13 with real estate agents Ali and Brian Hippenstiel dressed in Victorian era outfits to greet and inform potential buyers.
Anyone interested in the home, which is listed for $264,500, can contact the Hippenstiels at 863-8218 or visit www.meybohm.com.
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