The Squire House has always been something of an architectural oddity. It was the first house in New York’s Westchester County to be made of concrete—a peculiar feature that once earned the 5,800-square-foot mansion the derisive nickname of the “Mud House.”
“It’s really considered the grande dame of Ossining,” says listing agent Jean Cameron-Smith. “People would drive by every day, look at the house and wonder, ‘What does it look like inside?’ “I’ve done many [open houses], and I’ve never seen the type of support that this house received from the community. People were just blown away when they walked in, saying, ‘Wow, we never thought it would be this beautiful inside.’”
The five-bedroom, seven-bath home is currently listed for $965,000.
The home’s history stretches back to the 1870s, when Ossining was still known as Sing Sing, for the maximum security prison it shares a ZIP code with. The original owner, Henry J. Baker, set out to build what he called a “Swiss cottage,” based on the High Victorian Gothic architecture he had seen in Europe.
The house traded hands several times, starting in 1881, before landing in the Squire family in 1905. The family’s patriarch, Dr. Amos Squire, worked as Sing Sing’s head physician, and raised his family in Ossining. The Squires remained in the house until 1996—alternately using the grand mansion as a mental hospital, Naval hospital, a restaurant, medical offices, and a business school.
By the time the home’s current owner, Gil Porter, bought the house, it was in dire need of a facelift, which he completed in four phases, from 1998 to 2004.
Outside, the Squire House looks as if it would be a perfect Halloween house, with its imposing tower and Gothic details. There’s an arched double front door, which opens to a foyer with original tile and a doorway out to the home’s front porch.
The foyer opens to a broad, winding wooden staircase, with chandelier, and restored wooden floors. The living room and study are both on the first floor, as is the dining room and chef’s kitchen, which comes with a 400-bottle wine refrigerator. There are three fireplaces on the first floor, in the living room, study, and kitchen.
The top floor has a massive, original skylight above the staircase, and floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the tower—accessible by a classic rolling ladder. The top floor has gorgeous views of the Hudson River.
“People are really happy that it’s been restored, and they really are hoping that it becomes a commercial venture, like a bed and breakfast or boutique hotel, so it will continue to be part of the community,” she said.