The William Ela House

/ Tuesday, September 6, 2011 /

Not only does the William Ela octagonal house in central Manchester boast one of the city's more interesting pieces of architecture, it also harbors a small mystery as to when it was built. While the city's Assessor Database puts the building's construction at 1920, the Manchester Historic Association has pictures of the house dating back to the 1890s. I'm hoping a trip down to the MHA research center this Saturday will clear this up.

The Ela house in 2011.
A picture of the Ela house in 1955 from the Manchester Historic Association. Notice the house lacks its brick masonry unlike the current photos.
View of the Ela Octagon House, 585 Beech Street. In front of the House is Sarah Emma Ela and William C. Ela from the Manchester Historic Association.
Group portrait in the back yard of 585 Beach Street, Octagonal House. Two women Mrs. James G. Ela, the children’s mother and Miss Emma Jane Ela, the children’s aunt and teacher at Manchester High School are sitting together on the right under the trees. The children are William C. Ela standing with a drum on the left and Sarah Emma Ela in the center. From the Manchester Historic Association.

9 comments:

{ jmb } on: September 6, 2011 at 8:57 AM said...

I've been told that ALL the buildings in the Assessor's Database have that incorrect year of 1920 (why???) but I haven't verified it myself. The city maps at the Historical Society might give a better fix...?

{ Dan Brian } on: September 7, 2011 at 8:04 AM said...

I've skimmed through a few houses in the database and this is the first one I've noticed with a seemingly misleading date of 1920 on it. I'll have to delve deeper.

{ jmb } on: September 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM said...

I first heard it from my former neighbors who were trying to research the building next door to find out why there was a secret cellar with a trapdoor in it (!) separate from the basement. They knew the house was older, but were stymied - it wasn't until they ran into a senior citizen from the neighborhood who could reminisce about the old days that they heard the story - the secret cellar was where the still was, and had been added on/dug out during Prohibition. Apparently the owners ran a home-delivery booze service which was common knowledge on the West Side...

{ Dan Brian } on: September 9, 2011 at 6:48 AM said...

I've gotta find out more about that house.

{ jmb } on: September 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM said...

Apparently they were the only place in the neighborhood with a new truck during the Depression...it was a family who ran a drugstore, the way I heard it, which i guess made for good cover doing deliveries! Don't know if the house itself was once the store, before remodeling (it fronts onto Bremer but doesn't *feel* like a former shop, IKYWAM) or if the store was separate, further down Bremer on Kelley.

There's also a weird old factory tucked away between houses & garages a few blocks over, closer towards Rock Rimmon, that I've always wondered about. Will try to get you a photo this weekend.

{ jmb } on: September 9, 2011 at 11:35 AM said...

*or* Kelly, argh. Also ISTR there being another Octagonal house somewhere in Goffstown, I'll try to find that one again & get a shot of it for you.

{ Will Stewart } on: September 13, 2011 at 7:23 AM said...

I dig this house. Is it still on the market?

Also, there's another octagonal house at 481 Hanover St. (southwest corner of Belmont). The Assessor's Office lists it as being built in 1900: http://data.visionappraisal.com/ManchesterNH/findpid.asp?iTable=pid&pid=953

{ Dan Brian } on: September 16, 2011 at 7:06 AM said...

Nope, I believe it sold again last year for something a little over $200k

{ GibsonGirl } on: November 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM said...

There are 3 octagon houses in Manchester. The Ela house at one time had cement exterior. All 3 octagon houses still stand and the Ela house was built circa 1855-56.

Ive done an exhaustive study on octagon houses for my newly published book. It contains locations and histories of nearly 1000 North American houses and is only $24.95. Would be a great Christmas gift

Ellen
http://berniepuer.ipower.com/octagonbook/index.html

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