Bill and Connie Joy’s home looks like a traditional colonial, but the old house at 1420 Paul St. may have a hidden past with roots in the coal town of Angus.
The mystery of the Joys’ house begins with its abstract, which dates back to 1893. Bill explains the property was first described as an empty lot, but then was later sold for a much higher value than what he would have expected for an undeveloped property.
More clues to the house’s origins were discovered when a contractor remarked on its unique construction. Some of the home’s features such as the front door’s large threshold reminded the contractor of houses he had worked on in Angus. The Joys have since learned that as the coal town went into decline, several homes were uprooted and moved from Angus to Perry. The Joys suspect that their house may have been one of those Angus homes.
The Joys’ home has seen dramatic renovations during the years. Old pictures show the house with a hip barn roof and a wrap-around porch. By the time the Joys purchased the home in 1968, the hip roof had been replaced with a regular peaked roof. All that remained of the wrap-around porch was a rickety enclosure on one side of the house. Bill says remnants of two chimneys can be found in the attic.
As the house changed hands, each new owner added his or her own touches and renovations to the property.
“We learned one of the former owners was a veterinarian,” Connie says. “We believe they planted the grapevines, which are along the alley.”
The Joys have completed several renovation projects of their own, such as adding a front porch and the columns that give the house its distinctive colonial look. They also removed one of two front doors, a common feature of many Victorian-era homes. One door originally led to a formal side of the house that was only used for special occasions, while the other door led to an informal side that was used by the family for everyday living.
Bill sees the house’s unique history and its many renovations as proof each new owner loved and cared for the house.
“It would be nice to know the history of what everybody did here,” Bill says. “People really took care of it.”