Continuing on, the Hunter Home is next on your left. For this “High” Victorian home, let’s tell a love story. It is about a young man who fell in love when he was 20 with a girl who was only 12. He had to wait for her to grow up and go to finishing school. During those “finishing” years, he wrote to her faithfully. All of his letters had to be read first by the head mistress to be sure nothing improper was going on. Finally, the great day came when the young man could claim his bride. Together they completed this house in 1885.
Can you find the young owner’s initials “J. H. H.”? One initial is in each of the beautiful porch arches. All the Victorian (“gingerbread”) trim was designed and made locally at the Atkinson Variety Works, as was the case with the trim on many of these fine homes. Inside the house, the same gingerbread trim is found on the stair railing and an upstairs mantel.
Hunter’s son, who inherited the house, waited even longer for his bride than his father had; he did not take a wife until he was 72. His bride was Evelyn Sanders-Brightwell, a local lady who had been a widow for nineteen years at the time of their marriage. Miss Evelyn made the house a showplace and lived here until the age of 103. Long having the reputation of being the most photographed home in town, author Wyle Folk St. John used this house on the front cover of her children’s book, The Mystery of the Gingerbread House. Sisters Laura and Layne Brightwell, granddaughters to the Hunters, inherited the house and are working hard to bring this beautiful architectural gem back to its original grandeur.