Landmark 1895 Spearfish Home Undergoing Numerous Makeovers

South Dakota News April 22, 2019



Landmark 1895 Spearfish Home Undergoing Numerous Makeovers

SPEARFISH, S.D.  | By KAIJA SWISHER, Black Hills Pioneer, (AP) — Built by the first mayor of Spearfish, George Favorite, in 1895, the modern farmhouse is getting a facelift inside and out.

“We purchased the house in 2014,” owner Melissa Haught told the Black Hills Pioneer. “I had been in the home 10 years prior and had fallen in love with its charm, the tall ceilings, and the pocket doors.”

Haught said that when doing research about the two-story Victorian-style home, it was considered contemporary for its time. The house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, 10-foot ceilings, fireplaces, hardwood floors, pockets doors, a claw-foot tub, and more. The first floor includes a kitchen, dining room, den, living room, and bathroom, with the bedrooms and second bathroom upstairs. There is also a front porch, patio, and carriage house on the property.

“Our intention is to get the home on the National (Register of Historic Places),” she said, describing that she has all of the research and paperwork completed and just needs to submit it. “I have most often heard the house referred to as the ‘Fidler House,’ as Ray and Nadine Fidler, of Fidler Funeral Home, lived in the house for several decades. Many people my age remember playing on the big merry-go-round that used to be in the backyard.”

The Haught family began renovating the house as soon as they moved in, and Haught said that the projects already completed include the upstairs bathroom, a complete kitchen renovation that included removing a wall between the dining room and kitchen, replacing the windows, and removing a ceiling in the foyer that had been put in decades earlier.

“It is a process that takes time and money, but we love the charm of an old house,” she said. “It takes patience; when you are doing most of the work yourself it is a project that is ongoing but rewarding to see your work. There is nothing quite like living in an old house with so much history and charm.”

Haught added that the challenges are the time and money invested — but for her, the joys outweigh the challenges.

“I love the feel and nostalgia of living in a house that so many generations of people have called home and created history in,” she said. “I love the small little quirky imperfections in an old home.”

Watching the look and feel of the home transform with each project completed has been what Haught has enjoyed most so far.

“It feels like home to our family,” she said. “It is cozy, and it is ours. I love that we share this connection with a house that so many others have felt as well.”

Future projects on the docket include building a garage this summer, Haught said, and there is one more bathroom to renovate.

“At some point, we will renovate the carriage house in the back of the house,” she said, adding that one of the things she enjoys most is knowing that there’s always another project waiting. “I am always dreaming and sketching and thinking about what’s next.”

For others who are interested in restoration projects, Haught advised that whatever they think their budget needs to be, make it bigger.

“Take your time and do it the right way, not necessarily the easy way,” she said. “Most of all, do the research to learn about the history of your house. For me it was almost like a little adventurous treasure hunt, finding the past owners and then scouring newspapers and books to discover who they were and their connection to the house, visiting with historians and longtime residents to learn what they knew. Since the home was not on any historic registry, there was not information out there already.”

Haught said that she’s heard from many people who tell the family that they love that the house is being restored.

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