Janet and John Riddle and the McCarthy House - May 25, 2017
In the 1880’s Daniel D. McCarthy and his wife Jennie (Teague) were married and built a grand Victorian style house on the corner of South Cedar and C street.
Over the last 130 years the house had many owners and occupants. Slowly, over time, the house fell into disrepair. Like so many older homes (Townsend used to have many grand Victorians homes) it became easier and cheaper to tear down these great homes than put the money into the maintenance of the house and the modernization of the house.
By 2014, the McCarthy House was empty and was owned by the State Bank of Townsend. The lot and the big garage still had great value but the house was in sad condition and devalued the property.
Then John and Janet Riddle bought the grand old home. While John and Janet both grew up here in Townsend they have been gone for some time. Currently John and Janet live in the Dominican Republic where John is a supervisor for a state owned mining operation. Previously they lived in Nevada where they still own a home.
Ross Johnson, then president of the State Bank of Townsend, told me that when the bank sold the house to John and Janet they sold it for less money than they could have made just tearing the house down and selling the lot and garage alone. He thought that selling the house to a couple that were interested in restoring the historic house was more important than making a little more profit for the bank.
When John and Janet bought the house they had several options. They could invest some money in having the house torn down and selling the lot/garage at a profit. Or, they could just let the house sit and continue to deteriorate while they waited for someone else to come along and buy the property from them at a profit.
John and Janet went in a different direction. They have made a significant investment in restoring this great, historic house in Townsend – including lifting the entire house and putting a new foundation under the house. The entire exterior of the home as been restored.
The Riddles might live in the house when they retire; they might decide to sell the house when they finish restoring the interior of the home to a modernized version of the original home. They have not yet decided.
What they did decide was they wanted to invest money in Townsend and in an important symbol of our history.
That’s what is right about Townsend!
A banker who valued a run-down historic home more than a small amount of profit and 2 people who love Townsend and preferred to invest in the property rather than just trying to make a quick profit!
When you have a chance drive by the Great Victorian example of our past and take a look. It is a glimpse into the history of Townsend!
If you run into John and Janet on one of their trips back home, thank them for loving Townsend and for investing in the town.