From the Daily Record:
Four years ago, Bob and Michele Pulis bought a historic, circa-1818 house atop Schooley’s Mountain in Long Valley. Vacant for 40 years, the Oak Cottage was in serious disrepair, its only residents a family of raccoons.
“I can remember standing out there and just looking up at the (house),” Bob Pulis says. “It was sad. It was like (it was saying), ‘C’mon, man, help me.’ ”
Bob and Michele saw beyond the overgrown landscape, rotting wood and mounds of raccoon droppings to the Victorian charm the house exuded in its heyday. According to local lore, visitors to the three-story, 13-room home, with its distinctive mansard roof and shingled cedar siding, may have included Ulysses S. Grant and his family. This was when Schooley’s Mountain was an elite summer community.
The couple had just finished building their own house in Jefferson, but they wanted what Michele calls “one more family project.” So they decided to rescue the historic property, once known as “The Gem of the Mountain.” They would spend the next 3-1/2 years — and more than $525,000 — restoring the Oak Cottage to its former glory.
Last Memorial Day weekend, they proudly showed the refurbished Empire-style Victorian to more than 1,000 potential buyers. Its list price was $885,000.
“We bought it right at the peak of the market. We never foresaw an economic apocalypse coming,” Michele says.
Today, the Oak Cottage is still for sale — for $499,000.