York Town Square

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Lady Linden, of The Avenues neighborhood in York, gets full makeover

Jean Leaman stands in the lawn of the 1887 Queen Anne house on Linden Avenue in York, Pa., that she restored. (For another Paul Kuehnel photo on the “before” view of the home, see below.) Background posts: Trolleys helped make Avenues sought-after locale, Reader searching for Boys Club Pool photo, and ‘Good grief, how long has that pool been here?’.

James and Jean Leaman’s amazing restoration work on their 505 Linden Avenue house is having an effect on others in the Avenues.

“It’s snowballing,” James Leaman told York Daily Record/Sunday News reporter Angie Mason. “Everyone wants to keep up and make their house nicer.” …


Brenda Wintermyer documents the home at 505 Linden Ave. before Jim and Jean Leaman begin its restoration.

To get a closer look, the public is invited in the York Young Professionals Home Tour.
The free tour of eight city homes starts at 5:30 p.m. on April 25.
For information, visit www.yorkyp.org.
Angie’s story (4/17/08) on the house follows:

An 1887 Queen Anne house on Linden Avenue had fallen into disrepair when Jim and Jean Leaman bought it two years ago.
Towering old maple trees hid the house. Termites had made themselves at home. A quarter of the roof had been gone for decades, welcoming precipitation that caused ceilings and walls to crumble.
But because of the Leamans’ efforts, the home is slowly returning to its original splendor and facing a new future as a bed and breakfast.
Renovations to the first floor and the second-floor master bedroom are finished. The entire house has been rewired and given new plumbing and heating.
Jim has been careful to ensure renovations were historically accurate, his wife said.
He insisted on Plexiglas storm windows that magnetically attach to the frame inside so the look of the building’s exterior is not marred.
Greek columns that separated the foyer from the parlor were removed because they were not original. They were replaced with pocket doors found at Historic York’s Architectural Warehouse.
Jean thought French doors in the dining room were beautiful, but they were replaced, too. Elements from a 1930s remodeling job were also removed.
“We wanted this to be a restoration to the original,” Jean Leaman said.
A tin ceiling replaced one that could not be salvaged in the family room. Other ceilings were meticulously papered in Victorian style.
A blocked archway between the family room and kitchen was discovered and opened.
Carpenter Jim Staley spent months stripping every piece of natural wood in the house to restore it, Leaman said.
Staley remembered beginning to tear the house apart to reveal the 1880s craftsmanship.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said.
Downstairs, rooms are filled with old photos of Jean Leaman’s family and antiques, including an 1800s Weaver organ. Leaman said most of the items came from two city shops, Almost Anything and Circa Antiques.
She hopes the bed and breakfast will someday send shoppers downtown.
“Hopefully, some (guests) are from out of town and have money to spend,” she said.
Staley has done more historical projects since working on the home, he said. Neighbors have been calling about improvements to their homes.
“It’s snowballing,” he said. “Everyone wants to keep up and make their house nicer.”
Living in a restoration project has its ups and downs, Leaman said.
“You have to not mind the dust,” she said, adding that they’re working constantly. “You don’t waste any time.”
Two guest rooms on the second floor and the entire third floor await renovation. Improvements to the exterior are ongoing.
The Leamans hope at least one guest room will be ready by the end of the year so “Lady Linden” can open.

Additional background posts: West Side Sanitarium, later West Side Osteopathic and later Memorial Hospital born in The Avenues in York and Bucolic Outdoor Country Club started in busy York neighborhood and Industrialist Thomas Shipley’s ‘enduring monument’ in York did not ‘endure’ .