The Lakin House
Photo by Albert Mach
Lottie Lakin would throw a fit, if not more by having complete strangers, intruders really, traipsing through her house. And look what’s been done to it! The two rooms she lived in for decades are unrecognizable as a modern kitchen and living room, the other rooms finished for comfortable living, siding repaired and painted, a neatly manicured lawn and flower beds, a real furnace and an air conditioner, and electricity, bathroom plumbing and running water everywhere!
No, it’s not a house she would recognize or approve, but it will be forever known as the Lottie Lakin House and for her legend as Moorefield’s crankiest eccentric. Folks still tell stories of teenagers harassing her and her them. They talk of her complaining “regulars and profanely” about anything “that rubbed her the wrong way.”
But, She wasn’t always an outsider. She was elected Moorefield Town Recorder in 1936, served one term and was defeated for reelection in 1938.
Begun in 1910 by her father T.W. Lakin, a craftsman who built some of Moorefield’s elegant houses of the era, including the Love House, the house was never completed. Left as little more than a shell, it stood weather-beaten, shabby, dark, uninviting and, some say, haunting for decades, until Lottie’s death in 1986.
In June 1987, hundreds gathered at the house for an estate auction. One of those was Robert Wright, who knew nothing about the house or its former occupant. Bit it looked cheap, so he raised his hand. Before he knew it, he was the owner at $29,000 and took a look inside, which he had not previously seen. He was shocked! “I said to myself, ‘Robert you’ve done bought yourself a movie prop.’ It was just a shell, that’s all it was. No bathroom. She had running city water to a sink in the kitchen, but no other plumbing. The kitchen was like walking into some farmer’s smoke houses. It was just black from smoke, like 30 years of black smoke.”
A year and a half and a lot of work later, he sold the house to Jared and Alisha Conners for about $47,000. Dennis and Sceiene Hartman bought the house from the Conners in October 1996 and sold it to the Seals in 2005.
The Seals replaced the laminated flooring in the front of the house with hardwood flooring and have preserved, as did prior owners, the original wood flowing, kitchen cabinets, and window and door trim in the back rooms where Lottie lived. Over the years, successive owners have erased the physical evidence of Lottie Larkin’s live there, but the legend lives on.
Open courtesy of Hedi Seal
Location: 116 North Elm St.