On the Auction Block: Historic Waterside Mansion in Beverly
“Waterview” has had several lives since it rose on the Delaware riverbank in 1848. Buy it and you will also inherit a treasure trove of furniture spanning some 190 years.
Would you like to own your own living history museum?
A golden opportunity to own one just opened up in Beverly, New Jersey, right on the banks of the Delaware River.
The owner of “Waterview,” a riverfront mansion dating to 1848, is putting the house on the auction block, and if the price is right, it can be yours.
Dr. John Brewer, a Philadelphia physician, built this Beverly waterfront mansion for sale as a summer house. At that time, this stretch of the river above Rancocas Creek was a popular summer resort spot, and paddleboats delivered residents and visitors to their summer destinations.
The four-acre lot containing this house sat next to a place called Dunk’s Ferry, where George Washington first tried to cross the Delaware on that fateful Christmas Eve.
Over the years after Brewer built it, Waterview has had several different lives. In addition to serving as a private residence, it also once housed a boating club, and for a while, it served as the home of a sportsmen’s club, the Rancocas Club.
“Members came from the Main Line in Pennsylvania to enjoy hunting pheasant, geese and wild turkey; fishing for golden carp and shad,” writes the house’s current owner, broker Maria DiVentura-Cronin of Keller Williams Moorestown, in an email. “Meals were cooked to perfection. After dinner it was time for a toast, dessert, coffee, cigars, card games, darts, a game of pool or a walk along the picturesque riverbank.”
But by the time it passed into the hands of Temple doctoral student Gail Cook and her obstetrician husband, Dr. Albert Cook, it had become what she called “a rundown dump” in a 1978 Philadelphia Inquirer article on their restoration effort.
The Cooks turned the house, which had been subdivided into apartments, back into a single residence that looked much like it must have around the time attorney Walter Freeman improved the house in 1861. What you see in the photos and video here largely represent the legacy the Cooks left when they sold this house and lot to broker Maria DiVentura-Cronin of Keller Williams Moorestown.
That lot, by the way, is now just 1.44 acres, but it was one of the features that drew the Cooks to the house in the first place. It contains outbuildings that include a carriage house, a gazebo and a treehouse.
The house also has two decks, one on each of the second and third floors. And the front porch opens onto a patio with a great view of the river. A second, partially covered patio in front of the addition offers a similar view.
The Cooks rehabilitated the house, added a new wing onto its first floor, and refitted it with an eclectic mix of furniture spanning nearly 190 years from various sources.
Items range from a circa-1835 secretary in the dining room to a table, eight chairs, two buffets and a highboy they purchased for $312 from an urban renewal center in Atlantic City sometime after they bought the house and its lot in 1968.
You’ll also find this antique baby grand piano, also from the 19th century, in the living room. DiVentura-Cronin’s firm, Casa LaBella, added more period furniture during its 18-month renovation of the house.
And all of the furniture you see in these photos and the video below come with the house. The artwork on the walls, the sculptures and some of the books, however, do not. The video does this house more justice than these words and photos ever will.
Yet even though this house is mostly a historic throwback, it does have some modern features and conveniences.
These include a commercial-grade kitchen and a den with a bar in the addition, and bathrooms recently renovated by Casa LaBella.
And now DiVentura-Cronin is putting it up for auction. Why?
“The auction goal is the highest price and the widest exposure in the shortest amount of time,” Peter Costanzo, owner of Peter Costanzo Auctioneers, writes in an email. “This is considered a ‘trophy’ property in a prime location that deserves the exposure of a well-planned 30- to 60-day auction promotion which, in turn, should produce spirited and competitive bidding.
“Competition not only results in full and current market value but also allows the opportunity for the highest price while limiting downside risk.”
A few more than 30 days remain until Costanzo conducts the auction on December 12th at 1 p.m., in person on the premises and online. If you want to live amidst history in an elegant home that brings to mind a Southern plantation house in a town on the banks of the Delaware, then you should consider bidding for this Beverly waterfront mansion for sale.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 4 full, 2 half
SQUARE FEET: 6,200 (approx.)
OPENING BID: $950,000
OTHER STUFF: Several open houses will take place between now and the auction date; see the auctioneer’s website for details. Consult the bidder information packet available on the website for information on what is required for you to participate in the auction. A four percent buyer’s premium will be added to the winning bid. This amount includes a two percent commission for the buyer’s agent if the buyer uses one.
2 Walnut St., Beverly, NJ 08010 [Peter Costanzo Auctioneers]