Victorian New York state mansion in the area where the world’s first execution by electric chair occurred goes on sale for just £37,000 in spite of being tax assessed for a far higher sum
“Vegetable peddler and known alcoholic” William Kemmler (1860 – 1890) was the first person in the world to be legally executed using an electric chair.
Kemmler’s death was far from smooth and took over eight minutes. His body is said to have caught fire during the process, yet this common-law-wife murderer supposedly “did not scream, cry or resist in any way.” Of the “awful spectacle,” The New York Times reported: “An awful odour began to permeate the death chamber, and then, as though to cap the climax of this fearful sight, it was seen that the hair under and around the electrode on the head and the flesh under and around the electrode at the base of the spine was singeing. The stench was unbearable.”
Now, a huge Gothic revival Victorian mansion – built in 1861 for a banker and philanthropist named James Seymour (1791 – 1875) – in the place of Kemmler’s death, Auburn, a city in Cayuga County, New York, has been placed for sale just £37,000 ($50,000, €45,000 or درهم184,000) after being acquired by the local authority through a property tax foreclosure in June.
Situated on a 0.9 acre plot, the ‘James Seymour Mansion’ (as it is known) or more simply 113 North Street, has 10 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. It has a tax assessment of £121,600 ($162,100, €145,800 or درهم595,300) and is being marketed by agent Michael DeRosa as an “exciting opportunity for someone who loves restoring homes back to their original beauty.” On CNY Central, he commented: “It’s not so much the best price [we want]. It’s the buyer with the best plan to restore this and respect and preserve it… This went viral, and I wasn’t expecting the interest to come from all over the world.”
Of the unusual method of marketing they are using to sell the property, speaking to New York Upstate, the city’s mayor, Michael Quinn, added:
“This is the first time we’ve tried this approach where we’re putting valuable real estate back on the market. It would help our tax base considerably if we can do more with this.”
“Many people, including myself, have a special love for older buildings and the history of this particular home. We don’t want it to be an eyesore. We want it to be something the community can be proud.”
Potential buyers have until 5pm on Wednesday 18th December to submit their bids and are required to fill out a document detailing their “best plan for the property.” They would be advised, first, to check out the electrics.