Hervey Ely House

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138 Troup St.
Rochester, NY
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Inscription

Ely House – 1837
Designed by Hugh Hastings for Hervey Ely in Greek temple style with wing occupied by Howard Osgood 1871-1905 and D. A. R. 1920-

Erected

By the County of Monroe — 1959

What was there

The two-and-a-half story high Greek revival home of general store and mill owner, Hervey Ely and wife, Caroline, built in 1837.

What is there now

The building now serves as the meeting house for the Irondequoit chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). It has undergone restoration by the organization and also houses historical records and hosts galas.

More information

An informational sign on the corner of Troup St. and Livingston Park reads:

You are standing in front of the Hervey Ely House, built in 1837.
Hervey Ely made his fortune by running a general store, a saw mill and a grist mill. He commissioned Boston’s S. P. Hastings, one of America’s foremost architects, to design this grand home. The style is Greek Revival with Doric columns guarding the portico.

Unlike more typical frame constructed homes of the era, this home is distinguished by stucco over stone – scored to resemble blocks. The
elegance continues inside with lavishly treated parlors, nine fireplaces (most of hand carved marble), elaborate cornices and paneled pilasters with carved capitals flanking the windows and doors.

Ely and his wife Caroline lived in this gracious mansion on Livingston Park, the social heart of Corn Hill, for only four years. In 1839 the price of wheat flour fell by more than half and by 1841 Hervey could no longer afford his Greek temple on the knoll. The house was sold at auction and the Elys then lived simpler lives. Hervey passed away at 71 and was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery. His house passed from owner to owner half a dozen more times.

The current steward of the “Hervey Ely House” is the Irondequoit Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. They purchased the
house in 1920 and have been meticulously restoring the mansion ever since. Local artist Ralph Avery rented a studio apartment on the second floor of the mansion for several years, until his death in 1976. The house is currently a museum, a genealogical library and a meeting place for the DAR. Periodically they open the house for weddings or holiday galas.

  • It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. See the original application here.
  • Detailed historic summary of the Ely House (PDF)
  • Ely purchased the land on which to build this house in April of 1835 for a total of $2,000. In 1842 the deed was transferred to Selah Matthews for auction to pay off Ely’s creditors. The estate was purchased at auction by the city in 1844 for $500. It was sold at auction again the following year to William Kidd for $3,700. William Kidd sold it in 1850 for $15,000. It passed through several owners until 1920, when it was purchased by the NSDAR for an undisclosed amount.
  • In 1888, Edgar Holmes of Chicago sold it to Caroline Townsend Osgood for only $1.00.

Submitted by

We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Matthew Conheady



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