A Hair of the Dog of a House

Detached Edwardian house in New York State for sale for just £744 or 8,400% less than it cost to build in 1906; home to a famous German police dog in the 1920s

Detached Edwardian house in New York State for sale for just £744 or 8,400% less than it cost to build in 1906; it is in the place of Tom Cruise’s birth and was home to a famous German police dog in the 1920s

Whilst an alcoholic drink to fix a hangover is often known as a “hair of the dog,” a 2,061 square foot detached house on a plot of 3,600 square foot that is currently for sale is certainly something that is in need of a great deal of curing.


Situated in the Brighton area of Syracuse, NY, the two-storey house has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and last sold for £734 in 2015 is again offered for the same sum. Its asking price equates to a sum of just £2.80 per square foot – a true bargain compared to the £4,909 figure for a Chelsea Barracks, London apartment we featured in June.


Featured first on the Old Houses Under 50k blog as a “fixer upper” yesterday, 214 Colvin Street East was supposedly built by one C. R. Brown circa 1906 to 1908 and represents a “good investment opportunity” or is equally suitable for owner occupancy. It is offered by the Greater Syracuse Land Bank on the condition the condition that the buyer provides proof of funds of £63,200 to cover purchase and renovation.


According to the blog, the house’s best-known previous resident was a German police dog from the First World War. Of the animal, they state:


“In the 1920s, it was home to a dog known as Jack. Jack was born around 1910 (?) and served as a German police dog during World War I.”


“According to an article in the September 11th, 1921 issue of the Syracuse Herald, Jack was there when the German army withdrew from their position at the Hindenburg line in France in October 1918. The German army left behind a great number of dogs which had been used by them in their offensives.”


“Dr. Scott R. Fisher, a Syracuse resident, was at Hindenurg [sic] working with the Red Cross to care for Americans. When Jack spotted Dr. Fisher, he stuck to him and refused to leave his side – ensuring he found a way to be with Fisher his entire way back to base. Dr. Fisher told the paper that, ‘such devotion deserves reward,’ and decided to take Jack back home with him.”


“According to the article: ‘Jack was stowed away in an overcrowded ship which was bringing American soldiers home and where each man was allowed only a certain poundage of baggage. Dr. Fisher shared his own rations with Jack because dog food was not available in the ship’s stores.” When they arrived back in America, the pair settled here on Syracuse’s Southside.’”


The Numbers – 214 Colvin Street East, Brighton, Southside, Syracuse, New York State, NY 13205, United States of America


September 2020 – For sale for £744 ($1,000, €835 or درهم1,354) on the condition the buyer showing proof of funds of £63,200 ($85,000, €71,000 or درهم115,100) to cover the purchase and renovation.


2017 – 2019 – Assessed for tax for the sum of £14,900 ($20,000, €16,700 or درهم27,100) each year.


February 2015 – Sold for £734 ($1,000, €835 or درهم1,354).


Circa 1906 – 1908 – Built at a cost of £2,600 ($3,500, €2,900 or درهم12,900), the equivalent of £68,100 ($91,600, €76,400 or درهم336,400) today.


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The entrance to the house is framed by two Doric columns.
A reception room with an especially manky looking door.
Another room features two sash windows and a ceiling complete with a gaping hole.
The entrance hallway and original staircase (minus a few spindles).
The landing ceiling shows further sign of collapses.
A bedroom plainly previously inhabited by someone named Minnie.
Another room with children’s drawings on the walls (and a buckled floor).
A bathroom where one would most certainly not like to bathe.
The house stands on a street where those that neighbour it are perfectly well presented.
Syracuse is situated to the north of New York and the east of Rochester. Its metropolitan area had a population of 662,000 as of 2010 and has transitioned from a manufacturing area to one primarily focused on higher education, research and healthcare. The city is also well known for its jazz and contemporary music scene.

View Comments

  • At the risk of stealing the thunder of Down Under Rodders, it might be a better bet to demolish and build something brand new. Quite why you'd want to is currently beyond me.

  • What a dump!!!!!!!!!! It needs a magic visit from my wrecking ball!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for agreeing Margaret -- you sound very sensible!!!!!!!!!!!

  • looks like it was renovated cheaply at one point then squatted in. I would love to do something like that up. Shame I don't live there X

  • I bet that joint could tell a few stories.
    I reckon it would be well worth it at that price as a renovation. Mind you Having said that, I'm not sure what the location is like, and if one would be required to tote a .45 auto for protection.

  • Beautiful 'American four-square' prairie style house and still with the original doors and probably fir flooring -- nice. It can all be restored. I lived in one for many years (in Canada). We got it as a fixer upper and did quite a bit of fixing. These are very stylish houses -- due to not being over ornamented. I found ours easy to live in and with a lovely quality of light due to most rooms having windows on adjacent walls.

  • I've lived in Syracuse. Many parts including Colvin St are pretty dangerous. It's quite definite living on Colvin St you WILL be a victim of crime and probably violent crime at that. Syracuse has many lovely areas. This isn't one of them which is too bad. Fixed up that area would be very charming.

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