this old house

Save This Old House ~ c.1877 Danville VA Fixer Upper $35K ~ Sold

125 Chestnut Street, Danvilla, Virginia

$35,000 ~ Sold for $24,000 on 10/22/2020



Save this old house built in 1877. I have to include the following story of greed told by the Old West End National Historic District blog.

The home at 125 Chestnut street was built before 1877. The house changed hands many times before becoming rental property in the 1920s. One of the early owners, John Watson, was a hardware merchant. For a few years J. G. Wood, a restaurant manager for the Southern Railroad, lived in the house with his wife.

Perhaps the most colorful residents lived in the house in the 1960s. At that time Helen Nicholaus owned the house. A native of Greece, she spoke no English and rented rooms out to borders. One such tenant was Mr. Gus Exaraou (at right). Mr. Exaraou was born in Turkey in February of 1896 and had come to Danville by way of Greece sometime in the 19-teens. He owned and operated the Schoolfield Shoe Shop before retiring in 1946.

In August of 1964, while a tenant of Mrs. Nicholaus, Exaraou was struck suddenly ill with a severe kidney infection. As the date of his surgery approached, he became increasingly anxious and was convinced he would not survive. At last, desperate that something should be done with his money, Exaraou turned over his safe deposit box to her with the intention she take care of his debts and death expenses.

When Exaraou made a full recovery, he asked to have his money returned, but Mrs. Nicholaus refused on the grounds that he had given it to her as a death-gift. When he threatened to take legal action, she kicked him out.

Exaraou did take her to court, where the amount of the “gift” was disputed. Mrs. Nicholaus claimed that it was $5,000, though Exaraou insisted he had given her something over $36,000. During testimony it was revealed that Exaraou had been a tenant of Mrs. Nicholaus for many years, having rented rooms from her at another location before deciding to combine households on Chestnut Street. They got along quite well until she learned of his money. At first, she had wished to marry him. When he refused, she enlisted the help of her sons to persuade him to rewrite his will leaving his estate to her. It seems he did, though he almost instantly regretted it. “They are three to one against me,” he complained to the district court clerk who helped him with legal matters.

In the end, Mrs. Nicholaus was ordered to return the $36,500 given her. When it was discovered that a large transfer had been made from her savings to that of one of her sons, her accounts were frozen and the transferred sum returned, but whether Exaraou actually got his money back is unclear. Perhaps, after all, they made up. When Exaraou died in 1972, his arrangements were made from Mrs. Nicholaus’ Chestnut street home, where he had been living until he’d entered the hospital a week before.

At one point during the trial she had said, “I would be happy to have him come back – we had an agreement to be together all our lives.”

And so, it seems, they had.

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*4,090 sq ft.
*9,100 sq ft lot
*$262 annual taxes
*Build date 1877
*Google Map
*Property Listing
*Realtor: Old West End

Chestnut Street facade


Save this old house. The house is set on an unusual triangular lot at the intersection of Chestnut and Pine streets. 125 Chestnut Street was built in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, like most of its neighbors.

It began as a two-story center-passage-plan house facing Pine Street. That façade features a central, two-story, one-bay porch with a pediment roof and slender, chamfered square post/columns with molded capitals. The original rooms in this section have molded trim, tall square baseboards, and (on the main floor) slate mantels with ornamental veining and incused decoration.

The Chestnut Street façade displays several additions made after 1900. The hipped roof of those additions has a porch along the southwest side. The mantel in the rear room on the first floor is Italianate, with applied decorative panels, while the front room has a simple Greek-style pilaster mantels.

This property was most recently used as a quad.  Duplex use suggested.

Pine Street facade.
Chestnut Street doors.
Chestnut Street entry.
Main floor chamber.
Pine Street entry.
Main floor chamber.
Kitchen 1
Main floor chamber
Kitchen 2

Main floor chamber
Second floor chamber
Second floor chamber
Kitchen 3
Kitchen 4
Second floor bath
Second floor chamber

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