Fixing up an old home? Historic Houseparts has everything you need—and then some
Jim Wolff and Christina Jones have owned Historic Houseparts on South Avenue in Rochester since the mid-nineties. It has expanded from the original owners’ one-building business to a sprawling four-building conglomeration holding every renovator’s dream. Historic Houseparts is the place to go for unique and vintage pieces for your home, from towering wood doors to handcrafted stained glass windows and even an elevator from the University of Buffalo campus.
Where do all of these astonishing treasures come from? “A lot of what we have on site is bought from renovators or salvaged from condemned buildings or even directly out of a dumpster,” says Wolff. Treasures of bygone eras and landmarks many of us still remember are housed—and mostly for sale—at Historic Houseparts, from very large, red YMCA letters to salvaged pocket doors from a suspected brothel near REDD on Winthrop Street. There is original seating from the Hochstein School of Music & Dance (which inhapbit the former Central Presbyterian Church) used at the funerals of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. There are signs from local businesses that have long been out of commission and are as much a part of our history as the buildings that once housed them. One could spend hours going through the buildings, talking with the staff, and discovering the many, many pieces for sale. You may even hear a story or two of all the items from Historic Houseparts that have made their debuts on screens big and small. A very small percentage of what you can purchase is represented here. To get the full experience, one must really go to 540 South Avenue in Rochester, and be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
Every last detail of your home can be furnished by the objects for sale at Historic Houseparts including, as shown, door plates in every shape, size, and material.
Not only does Historic Houseparts sell antique pieces, but they also sell reproductions if you are concerned about keeping your home’s aesthetic consistent. The doorknobs pictured are copied from popular hardware of the nineteenth century.
For the very historically inclined this late Victorian era servant calling system is available for purchase. You may not be able to, or even want to make it function, but be assured that it will be a talking piece and is certainly a one-of-a-kind item.
Worried about how to hang the new door you have purchased from Historic Houseparts? Breathe easy knowing the frames have also been recovered.
Through the late nineteenth and into the twentieth century, the letterbox changed. Sizes altered throughout history to accommodate not only the increase in volume of mail but also the size of letters and frequency of catalog and magazine distribution.
As much of a home as possible is reclaimed by the team at Historic Houseparts. This distinctive green ceramic piece was once part of the hearth of a fireplace. Unfortunately, to get the hearth apart and out of the home before it was demolished, it had to be broken into pieces.
Just a few of the many signs hanging in the largest of the four buildings of Historic Houseparts. Many of the signs come from long dissolved businesses and organizations. Historic Houseparts is more than a salvage to sale business, they are also dedicated to saving pieces that still have a place in our community’s history.
Historic Houseparts currently has close to 900 salvaged doors, all located in a single building. They are of every height and wood available; some with intricate detail, some plain, from French style to pocket doors. The variety is astounding—no wonder an entire building needs to be dedicated to it.
Betsy Harris is a born-and-bred 585-er and loves all things local. You can follow all of her adventures on Instagram at @betsysayshey.