Historic home honored with Pride of Darlington award

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Owners of a historic Darlington home were recognized last week for work they’ve done to restore and improve the property.

Brian and Patricia Hobbs received the residential Pride of Darlington award from the Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association (DDRA) for their efforts to restore the W.F. Dargan house, located at the corner of Cashua Street and Spring Street.

Built in 1880 by William Franklin Dargan, mayor of Darlington during the notorious Whiskey Rebellion, the house began as a one-story affair with a hip roof. In 1915, the family removed that roof, extended the porch with brick columns, and added a second floor with a mansard roof.

Over the years, the house changed hands multiple times through inheritance, and even spent some time as a rental property, but was purchased for the first time when the Hobbs bought it in 2015.

“We were the first people to ever buy it,” says Brian. “It was passed down to the children of the couple who built it, Willie and Sue Woods.”

Family members shared the home during the Great Depression, one widow turned it into a rooming house to generate income, and multiple times the house has provided a refuge for family members who needed a sturdy roof overhead.

The Hobbs bought the house from the lone surviving family member, Dargan Jones, an ancient-literature professor who taught at Wellesley College and Mount Holyoke College. Jones lived in the house during summers and sometimes rented out the unused side to tenants.

When they moved in, Brian and Patricia began checking off renovation projects to update the house and make it their own. They replaced the brick front steps, added a new roof, new heating and air conditioning, new electrical wiring, renovated the bathrooms, replaced all the floors, installed arches in doorways to accentuate the home’s 12-foot ceilings, and gave the whole shebang a new coat of paint.

“We also cut about 300 trees out of this lot. It was completely grown over. Now, mind you, most of those trees were planted by birds,” said Brian.

The end result of their hard work mixes the comfort of gas fireplaces and custom-made dog cubbies with the august presence of a Historic Register home. In recognition of their efforts, DDRA presented the Hobbs with the Pride of Darlington award last week.

Author: Rachel Howell

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