Thanks to a firestorm which consumed the county Courthouse in Snow Hill, MD, in 1893, little is known of Waystead Inn's provenance back behind the turn of the last century. For certain, it was a distinguished house on a large parcel of farmland. The Whitmans lived here from '44 to '57. The sisters have dined here a couple times. Mr. Brueckmann owned this property in 1957. His son, Jan, was our first Inn guest, back in 2011. He and his high school sweetheart used to "chat" up in the attic.
Bought by the Decker family in the 90s? Never rehabbed. A local developer bought the property, subdivided the lot into the Inn estate and 6.5 acres of parkland. We bought the estate in 2010 and restored the old house in 14 months in a top-down rehabilitation.
Back pastwards: With no government paper trail, the title searches for old house properties can be a little dicey. Our Realtor found a digitized paper trail which first recorded a dwelling on this site in 1790. I've seen the document on a computer screen but haven't a copy of it.
Wholly undocumented testimony by various old time Berliners features this property was the highest point on a farm that stretched for a thousand acres to the west. Thus was built here the original farmhouse. Which footprint occupies less than a quarter of the restored Inn.
It's said the farmhouse was the U.S. Mail drop in Berlin on the road from Wilmington to Cape Charles. And that stagecoaches would overnight at the farmhouse on the way to and fro. Stage riders would camp in tents in the vale behind the farmhouse (where the current Shack Out Back is located), and cook their meals over the campfire. True or not, it seems likely.
BDA: Before During After: A Slideshow
You like to see things fall apart and come back together, yes? So do we. That's why we photographed and videoed the acquisition, demolition, and complete rehabilitation of this old home and invite you to sit in our den and watch the BDA loop we produced for the big little screen, aka HDTV.
You'll see. This place was a God-awful mess. But given the expertise of all parties concerned, we fast-tracked this restoration from purchase to occupancy permit in just fourteen months. A rather unprecedented feat in these parts.
We ripped off the back of the house by wrapping stout chains through the porch windows and to the backside of a stouter Ford pickup. And putting the pedal to the metal. The effect is recorded on video, for your enjoyment. All three masonry chimneys were beyond repair and were thus dismantled and stored for future use as footpaths, patios, and garden soldiering borders.
There was a bounty of old hand-carved woodwork and casements which we removed, tagged, numbered, and saved for application in the new design. The original wood flooring and planking was taken up and similarly tagged and stored and replaced willy-nilly, based on the configuration of the new Guest rooms.
We raised the entire rear (west) end of the original house 3-5/8 inches to somewhat level the whole house. But don't expect a marble or a tennis ball laid on a guest room floor to remain as is.
You get the point.
We've culled a modest but telling selection of photographs and video snippets which will afford you a deep-seated appreciation for the space you inhabit.