Gilded-Age Mansions on Sale Across America's Rust Belt

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By Emily Heffter

In America's manufacturing heyday, wealthy barons of industry built stately mansions across the Rust Belt. Today, they're available at various price points and in various conditions. Here's a look at some opportunities to live like a Vanderbilt.

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Gilded-Age Homes for Sale in the Rust Belt
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Gilded-Age Mansions on Sale Across America's Rust Belt
3438 Iroquois St., Detroit

This 4,800-square-foot brick Colonial was built in 1914 for R. Hirt Jr., the founder of a chain of specialty retailers, including one that was located in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market.

The home has been restored and updated with a new kitchen and a finished family room in the basement. It still has the original ornate paneling in the study, a marble-tiled foyer and hardwood floors.

After a recent price cut, it’s for sale for $324,500.

See more homes for sale in Detroit’s Indian Village.

301 Washington St., Birdsboro, Pa.

This 13,819-square-foot mansion was a wedding gift from industrialist Edward Brooke II to his bride, Anne Louise, in 1888.

The home features carved, exotic woods, stained-glass windows and 10 unique fireplaces.

The Brookes had a house in Philadelphia, but oversaw iron works, a steel foundry, manufacturing, machine shops, utilities, banking, land and railroad businesses in Birdsboro near this home. The 42 rooms are restored, and the home is listed for $1.99 million.

See more homes for sale in Birdsboro.

2035 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo, Ohio

This 10-bedroom mansion was built in 1887 as a summer country estate for railroad and banking executive Frederick J. Reynolds. Since then, it has been owned by several prominent families, including an oil-businessman, L.M. Ludwig, and Jay K. Secor, the president of the Citizens Ice & Cold Storage Co.

It has been used as a bed and breakfast since a 1980s renovation, but financial hard times have forced a sale. It’s being offered for $284,777.

Find homes for sale in the Old West End.

900 Orchard Drive, Harrisburg, Pa.

This 5,285-square-foot home and second two-story guesthouse was built by the prominent Kelker family that at one time ran a local hardware business and, later, the local bank, gas company, power company, phone company and furniture manufacturer.

The home needs updating, but the original molding, large rooms, fireplaces and architectural details carry reminders of its opulent past. It’s for sale for $385,000.

Find more homes for sale in Swatara Township.

2178 Harcourt Drive, Cleveland

Pioneering builder Kermode Gill and his brother built many of Cleveland’s most important commercial and government buildings during the industrial age. This Elizabethan Tudor belonged to Gill, who built it in 1910, with coffered ceilings and green Italian marble.

More recently, the home was used in the film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

The home -- priced at $900,000 -- has 7,422-square feet, eight fireplaces and eight bedrooms and bathrooms.

Check out more Cleveland Heights homes for sale.

1444 Beechwood Blvd., Pittsburgh

This historic home was commissioned by Oliver Kaufmann, whose family established the department store Kaufmann’s in Pittsburgh. It’s been extravagantly restored to include a gourmet kitchen with two dishwashers, a master bedroom with a big dressing room and “European-inspired” bathroom, and a beautiful outdoor space.

It’s $1.645 million after a price cut.

See more homes for sale in Squirrel Hill North.

241 Clinton St., Watertown, New York

New York Gov. Roswell P. Flower, who made a fortune in finance and real estate during Watertown’s rise as an industrial and commercial center, built this home as an elaborate wedding gift for his daughter, Emma.

The 14,083-square-foot home has been converted into eight apartments. It’s listed for $1.5 million.

See more Watertown homes for sale.

239 N. Heights Ave., Youngstown, Ohio

Here’s a project. This 3,895-square-foot home was once owned by Youngstown’s affluent Manchester family, but has fallen on hard times and been converted to a triplex. It’s listed for $17,000, after selling last year at the rock-bottom price of $6,000.

The home has original mahogany built-ins and 12-inch baseboards, 10-foot ceilings, four fireplaces and a brick-and-lime cobblestone exterior.

Check out more homes for sale in Wick Park.

871 Main St., East Aurora, New York

This historic Victorian mansion was built in 1892 by a businessman, Abbott S. Griggs. Besides a small sleeping porch that was added on, the home is much like it was then, but with modern appliances. It’s been used in recent years as a bed and breakfast.

The home was one of the first in the area to have electricity. Griggs put in electric chandeliers that remain in the home. It’s listed for $849,900.

See more homes for sale in East Aurora.

1037 Iroquois St., Detroit

This 1902 Colonial-style mansion in the Indian Village neighborhood of Detroit has large rooms and some updates -- like a new roof, plumbing and electrical. The listing says that if you visit its huge rooms and unused space “your imagination will be stirred and your projects will be ready to start.”

In the back, a carriage house is rented to a tenant. The home sold in 2009 for $148,000 after a foreclosure. Now it’s partially restored and listed for $347,500.

Find homes for sale in Detroit.

23 Shinnecock Road, Quogue, New York

This grand, restored “cottage” was commissioned by the wealthy Greeff family, who made a fortune in textiles, in 1906. Later, Eileen and Gerard Ford, the founders of Ford Models, bought the home.

At $15.5 million, this Gilded Age mansion is not cheap. It has 11 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms and more than 15,000 square feet.

See homes for sale in Quogue.

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