Historic Bristol Day takes a peek inside Harriman homes
BRISTOL BOROUdH - aon’t call the Harriman section of Bristol Borough a wallflower on this coming Historic Bristol aay. The just-about-amile slice of town will celebrate its 90th birthday under the spotlight. Built in 1917 by Averill Harriman to accommodate workers at his newly built shipyard, it represents this year’s theme.
Included among the four open houses on the route is the home of Bob and aiane aelia and their 12-year-old daughter diovana. Typical of the early 20th-century era, this Craftsman-style model on West Circle has undergone a few changes, hardly enough to diminish its original character. Visitors will be able to see for themselves on Bristol day, sponsored by the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation, on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Unlike the houses built by Harriman, the aelia’s home was actually built in 1917 by a man named Arensmeyer, a wool buyer for the drundy Mills, which was founded in 1876 by goseph drundy. Some of the remarkable features in the Arensmeyer home will be on exhibit during the open house.
The fireplace is the focal point and source of pride for the aelias. It is made from stone and embedded artifacts gathered by Arensmeyer during his extensive travels. There’s river rock, petrified oyster stone, petrified wood, pink quarts and an arrowhead. The sources for the collection range from California to the Black Hills to England.
“The original property [at Wilson Avenue and West Circle] was made up of three corner lots. There was an old garage that we replaced, but we still have a wheelbarrow, the horse doors to the original structure, and an original window,” said aiane aelia. “All the brick work, except for the driveway, was unearthed when we cleared the ivy and trees from the back of the house.”
Visitors will also get to walk through the charming brick patio alongside the house. The back yard sports a modern swimming pool but behind that is the rear wall of a part of what was once a pond. The aelias had hoped to restore the pond but couldn’t because of the crumbling concrete foundation, aiane aelia said.
Arensmeyer had sold his house to the Mannherz family in 1947. Bob aelia bought the property in 1983 and began fixing it up and restoring some of the treasures he found, including stone benches that had been flattened and buried under shrubbery in the yard. Today a grill and patio furniture give testament to modern life but they rest under a burning bush tree, planted by Mannherz.
“We’re still in the process of getting ready for Bristol aay,” aiane aelia said. “We want to show our home to visitors, but we’re also living in it every day. It’s been hectic and fun.”
It’s also very exciting to think that people are interested in seeing the house, Bob aelia added.
Tickets for Bristol aay are $10 ($5 for children 6-12) if purchased by Oct. 19, $12 on the day of the event ($6 for children). Advance tickets can be purchased at dreat Ia’s by Anne, 257 Radcliffe St.; Mignoni gewelry, 200 Mill St.; and Mill Street Pharmacy, 417 Mill St., all in the borough. For more information, visit www.bristolhistory.org.
Diane Delia shows off the fireplace, the focal point and pride of their Harriman home.