Newark Wright home with century
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Newark Wright home with century

Jun 25, 2023

Old home buffs now have a chance to purchase a piece of Licking County history — a 175-year-old Gothic Revival landmark that was once home to a prominent artist.

The home, called the Upham-Wright house, sits on 4 acres overlooking Granville Street on the west side of Newark. Built from 1848 to 1850 by George Upham, the property is on the National Register of Historic Places.

With its steep front center gable, decorative trim, pointed arched windows and door frames, and roof finial, the home is a prime example of the Gothic Revival style popular in the middle of the 19th century. The home was reportedly modeled after cottages designed by the New York landscape and residential architect Andrew Jackson Downing, an early proponent of the style.

The home was sold to Virgil Wright in 1868 and remained in the Wright family for four generations, well into the 20th century. For years, it served as the home of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones, a prominent illustrator and artist.

Hugh Price, with Howard Hanna, is listing the home for $795,000.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to own a piece of history," Price said. “This property offers extraordinary craftsmanship and has been beautifully maintained through the years.”

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The current owner, Jerry Jurden, bought the home 27 years ago with his wife, Martha, who died in 2005.

"My wife grew up on a farm, and she and I always liked old historic homes, and it had property with it. It had everything we wanted," Jurden said. "And we knew the history of the house, of course. People ask us, 'Do you live in the Wright house?' "

The Jurdens updated the home throughout their ownership.

"We did an awful lot to the house over the years," Jurden said. "We totally redid the kitchen and the whole downstairs, and then the upstairs. Every year we did something major."

One of the most recent projects was a total overhaul of the landscaping that put an island in the front and turned the back yard into a terraced and manicured garden, complete with a small pond. Near the pond stands an older barn, a newer four-car garage and a gardener's shed that resembles a small house.

Inside, the home includes six bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a family room, living room, library and a formal dining room.

While the house has been updated with a new kitchen and baths, many of the original details remain including wood floors and trim, eight fireplaces (including some with original clay tile), pocket doors, leaded glass decorative windows and 12-foot ceilings on the first floor and 10-foot on the second floor.

Upstairs are the home's six bedrooms, including one with a skylight that reportedly served as the studio of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones.

While the home hasn't retained other signs of Jones' presence, Jurden said "there's a little light switch in the house in the library that supposedly is one of her pieces."

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