Offer accepted on North Quabbin’s only Gilded Age mansion

  • An offer has been accepted on the old Wheeler mansion at 75 East Main St. in Orange. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • An offer has been accepted on the old Wheeler mansion at 75 East Main St. in Orange. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2020 4:31:54 PM

ORANGE — Don Mailloux has sold a lot of houses in his 30 years as a real estate agent.

But none have kept his phone ringing off the hook quite like the old Wheeler mansion at 75 East Main St. in Orange.

“It really has blown up my phone,” he said this week. “My office phone takes 100 messages, and that was constantly full. My cellphone, I was getting calls day and night, texts and emails. It was just amazing.”

Mailloux said people flew in from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Las Vegas and California to take a look at the home. He said an offer has been accepted on the bank-owned property, listed at $98,301, and closing is expected to happen mid-July. However, Mailloux would not disclose who made the offer. An additional 20 people have contacted him to put in backup offers.

“It’s a stately home,” he said. “It’s very unusual to be in the center of town.”

Mailloux said the list price — less than half of what the home was last purchased for in 1996 — is based on the home’s condition.

According to a 2015 column by then-Athol Daily News writer Allen Young, the property is the North Quabbin region’s only Gilded Age mansion. It was built in 1902 and 1903 by John Wheeler, who made his fortune manufacturing and selling sewing machines, becoming the president of the New Home Sewing Machine Co. Wheeler built the home for his wife, Almira.

Young reports the building was owned by the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic sisterhood, for much of the 20th century, serving as a home for its elderly members.

The Eastern Star closed the building in the 1980s, and Karen and Robert Anderson bought it from the Star Realty Trust for $240,000 in 1996, according to Young. The new owners had intended to open a bed-and-breakfast called Anderson Manor, but those plans fell through.

The 20-room, 15,406-square-foot brick mansion sports eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, according to the real estate website Estately.com. The property consists of roughly 2 acres.

“This spacious multi-level home has plenty of living space on the main floor. Also on the main floor is an office, formal dining room and kitchen,” the website reads. “The upper levels include a library, master bedroom, bathrooms and additional bedrooms. There is a laundry room in the basement with a laundry chute. This unique property has many architectural details made with quality materials, and with some love and care this can once again be a beautiful estate.”

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Young said he had written letters to various preservation organizations encouraging them to take ownership of the property, but to no avail. Like Mailloux, he said the building needs a great deal of work.


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