A 19th century homestead in a rural part of Rome and vacant for several years after being used by state agencies is likely going to a distant relative of the last family to live there.
Four bids were received at the October auction for the nearly eight acres at 5787 Hoag Road. The successful bid was for $28,411, according to the Office of General Services.
The agency identified the buyer as Constance Collins of Vernon.
The sale hasn’t closed yet, but Collins said that is expected in early March. She hopes to repair the boarded-up farmhouse and shore up the barns and live there. She has ideas about using the ample space, such as for her upholstery business and a venue for art lessons or crafts but that depends on what are permitted uses under Rome regulations.
In any case, it’s an opportunity for Collins to rehab an old home, which she said she’s done before — included when she moved to North Carolina and bought a house that had been hit by a truck, and again in Vernon, where she lives now.
“If you get a good deal then it’s worth putting some money in it,” Collins said in an interview.
“We’ve done it twice before so it’s all do-able. I have a lot of friends and some good
contractors,” Collins added.
According to the court order authorizing the sale, New York state obtained the property in 1930 from farmer George F. Stooks. It was used for the state School for the Deaf before being used as housing for corrections personnel at a prison now closed.
Land owned by George Stooks was listed as a farm for sale in the annual report of the state Department of Agriculture published in 1916. The reason given for the land being for sale was the owner’s desire to retire.
Though Collins has lived in Verona most of her life, she’s familiar with the property. Her late former husband’s grandfather owned the property at one point, and an uncle married into the Stook family as well, she said. Two aunts who wrote books mentioned their Uncle George, apparently the last to live in the Hoag Road home she’s buying.
Another farmhouse nearby is being kept by the state, Collins said. The property abuts the Rome Wildlife Management Area. No plans for it have been announced.
For Collins, one of the draws is a chance to preserve historic barns before they’re lost. She was aware of the house and barns and contacted the state about it several years ago. When she heard about the auction, she pursued it.
“I kept thinking it’s such a shame they’re just sitting there. You can’t let them sit empty for long because they just go to waste,” Collins said.
“The big barn needs some work immediately. There are some leaks but generally in good shape … My grandfather’s barn, probably eight years ago, collapsed in the snow.
“It’s just so sad that we’re losing so many barns. I’d like to save them all, but I’m getting too old to do that. I thought, well if we can save this one I’ll be happy.”