The farmhouse at 222 Main Road in Aquebogue as it appeared in this undated 19th century photo. The front porch, believed to have been ripped off in a hurricane, will be replaced by Hal Goodale, who is renovating the house.
Eugenia Young Warner has fond and vivid memories of her childhood days in the big red farmhouse now under renovation on Main Road in Aquebogue.
The 19-room house, built in the 1880s, was divided into two sections. Her parents, Milly and Myron Young, had one part;Eugenia’s grandparents were in the other.
“There was a big ol’ cook stove in Grandma’s side, and a lot of dark paneling,” the 78-year-old recalled recently, speaking from her home in North Carolina and offering a verbal tour of the house from memory. “In there, too, there was a big ol’ chair. Grandpa used to sit and rock in that chair.”
“I didn’t care for the yellow part of a boiled egg,” she continued. “And I would just cover it with pepper and take it in there and grandpa would lay back in that big chair and I would toss that thing in. And he loved it. He just loved it.”
Ms. Warner reeled off numerous recollections of her childhood home, from a playroom in the attic to a seat made by putting a board on top of a hot-water radiator next to her grandmother’s kitchen table, to the creaking steps she knew to avoid when coming home late as a teen.
The house and 70-acre farm behind it were sold to Ed Krupski a few years before Ms. Warner’s father died in 1985 and it was acquired by the Goodale family, who owned most of the neighboring homes and farms.
All along, Ms. Warner prayed someone would restore the house to its former glory — and restore a bit of her childhood along the way. Actually, she longed for it to look the way it did even before her grandparents bought it, back when it had a large wraparound porch that was ripped off in a 19th-century hurricane.
Her prayers are about to be answered.
Hal Goodale, a farmer and owner of East End Window and Door, has just begun renovating the place as part of an ongoing project to spruce up the houses on his family’s holdings in Aquebogue. Work crews are already fixing the brick and stone foundation and stripping the finish at Ms. Warner’s old home, where his father and stepmother live. The work is expected to wrap up in the fall. Mr. Goodale renovated another family-owned farmhouse just two doors away last year.
The red house is going to get a full restoration, inside and out, including that wraparound porch not seen for more than a century. Some of the interior will remain as it is, such as the pine walls and ceilings, and the doors and thresholds trimmed with ornate moldings.
“All this was done on the job site, not at a factory or a mill.” Mr. Goodale, 40, said of the moldings during a recent tour of the house. “You don’t see any woodwork like this anymore.”
There’s an old stove in that room, but it’s not the one Ms. Warner remembered.
“The one we have is in the same spot and very similar, but the original had been removed,” he said.
Mr. Goodale, whose family has been farming in Riverhead since the 1850s, and whose grandfather and great uncle founded Riverhead Building Supply, farms most of the land behind the Aquebogue houses, and he is expanding a niche farm stand business near the big red house, Goodale Farm, which sells organic dairy and produce and offers educational opportunities for children. Renovating the house is part of his business plan. He said he was excited about restoring a part of Riverhead to what it once was. And making an older woman’s day.
“I think that the Main Road has as much history as downtown and the houses were here probably before a lot of stuff on Main Street,” he said. “To not fix them up the way they were would be a shame.”
“Oh, that is the most wonderful news,” Ms. Warner said when told of Mr. Goodale’s plans. “That’s going to be a gorgeous house, and boy, when they get some new paint on it, it is just going to be something. I think so many times about life in that house. This is so exciting.”
“I’ll have to send her some pictures as we move along,” Mr. Goodale said.