Historic Marietta home opening doors to visitors, photographers

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins Bill Reynolds of the Washington County Historical Society looks out over Harmar Village from the tower of the Anchorage.

MARIETTA — Hidden Marietta will offer people an opportunity to visit and photograph the historic Anchorage home in Harmar Village all day on Saturday.

The 22-room Anchorage was originally built in 1859 by Douglas Putnam for his wife. The home received its iconic name after the ship-building Knox family purchased the home in 1886.

It’s now owned by the Washington County Historical Society and for a fee, people can reserve an hour at a time in the sprawling home to make photographic memories in the landmark.

Proceeds raised from the event will help fund the renovation of the 160-year-old home. The Washington County Historical Society said with the help of organizations like Hidden Marietta and donations from residents, they hope to have the bottom floor of the home completely renovated by the end of the year.

Megan Keller, co-owner of the tour company Hidden Marietta, said comments from their customers made her realize there was a market for such an event.

“We’ve had people ask us if there was any way they could take pictures of the house,” she said. “Now people get to take a picture in a unique place.”

Keller said there are still plenty of openings for the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. photo shoot available. She said the costs vary based on what type of photography people want to do.

She said those who just want to take pictures of the structure itself can expect to pay $35 an hour. To shoot family or friends in the home will cost $50 an hour. Any professional photographers that wish to use the Anchorage as a backdrop will be charged $100 per hour.

Bill Reynolds, president of the Washington County Historical Society, said his organization has owned the home for several decades, but has only recently been able to see any real gains in the restoration.

“We want to make it a desirable entity in the community,” he said.

Reynolds said a new roof, gutters and downspouts have been installed on both the Anchorage and its carriage house in order to protect it from the elements. He said the renovation on the inside of the home is being done room by room, but the size and age of the home continues to hamper the renovation project.

“It’s enormous,” he said.

Reynolds said he next major project the historical society is tackling is updating the antiquated electrical system in the home. He said the breaker box is so old that they don’t even make replacement parts for it, so an entirely new system will be required.

Reynolds said an architectural study is currently underway that will not only give an estimate of the cost of the renovation, but pinpoint which areas need to be addressed first. Even though the study won’t be finished until as early as next week, Reynolds said he already had a preliminary estimate of the overall cost of the project.

“It will be in excess of $1 million, and possibly over $2 million,” he said.

Reynolds said as soon as the bottom floor is finished, the historical society hopes to rent out the home for events and weddings.

To reserve a time to take pictures at the Anchorage on Saturday, visit hiddenmarietta.com/photography or call 740-538-0520. To donate money for the renovation of the Anchorage, visit the Washington County Historical Society’s website at wchshistory.org.

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