1415 Third Street Home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sinclair PRESERVATION IN PRINT DECEMBER 2004 25 2708 Coliseum Street Home of Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson Moseley This side-hall Italianate townhouse is one of five identical buildings collectively known as "Freret's Folly," a speculative real estate venture that led to bankruptcy for developer William A. Freret. n February 1861, with the country on the verge of civil war, the 28- year-old architect William Freret bought the half square between Washington Avenue and Fourth Street for $9000. He divided the property into lots and built the three-bay, two-story frame houses with service wings, no doubt hoping to make a fine profit. He quickly sold the house on the corner of Fourth Street, but in 1864 he was still holding two lots with their buildings, which he lost in bankruptcy. Although built for re-sale, the homes are well detailed in the Italianate style with paneled wood columns on the lower galleries and handsome "Tower of the Winds" capitals on the second-floor columns. Bracketed cornices top the attic. The doorways with sidelights are embellished with applied foliate ornaments and scroll brackets flanking the transoms. Both levels have intricate cast-iron railings. Although owners have made changes and additions, the row is visually intact. New Orleans Insurance Company acquired this house at a sheriff's sale in 1872 for $10,000. For 11 years a rental property, it was then sold for $5,500 to Leonie de Varenne, a native of Guateloupe and a founder of The Carnatz Institute, a fashionable Garden District school for girls that operated until 1897. During the early 20th century, the home was leased by Mrs. Jean Baptiste Bertin de Villeneuve, who operated a boarding house—the 1910 census shows that there were nineteen residents, among them the five Bertins, a music teacher, iwo English teachers, two kindergarten teachers, and the manager of the Pabst Brewery. In 1913 the house returned to single-family use, leased by Dr. Gayle Aiken, who lived there with his family. In 1924 Captain Edward William Ward acquired the building for $12,000 and converted it into apartments, and by 1930 there were ten households paying rents ranging from $8 to $28 per month. After Ed Ward died in 1957, Rosalie Vella and Emery J. Pinke, superin- tendent of Dixie Welding and Metal Works, purchased the building and convert- ed it into three large units, known as the Pinke Apartments. Today, the spacious home with its colorful new exterior paint scheme is occupied by Shirley and Clarkson Moseley, who purchased it in 2000. One of the grandest mansions in the Garden District, this ltalianate villa was built by a cotton merchant from Virginia, Walter G. Robinson, who purchased the large lot in 1857. Four months later, the 40-year-old Robinson married 19-year-old Emily Medora Hanford. oon after his marriage, Robinson began construction of the man- sion. The Civil War, however, disrupted his life and the family went north, not returning until 1866. Completed in 1867, the house has an impressive scale, with ceilings nearly 16 feet high on both stories. The facade is distinguished by double verandahs curved at the ends, an ornamental cornice and parapet, an elab- orate carved entrance, and an arched cast-iron balustrade. An ornate rose patterned cast-iron verandah graces the southern side and overlooks a large garden with huge live oaks. On the left are a two-story carriage house with tall arched windows and a kitchen building. Inside, Robinson's home was lavishly decorated with fine plaster cornices and ceiling centerpieces, color- ful painted ceilings, and a handsome curving stair in the large front hall. Walter Robinson's world began to crumble in 1869 when his wife died. Illness and financial problems prompted him to trade houses with David McCan, an old friend and business partner. Robinson moved to that house on Fourth Street, where he died in 1875. In 1880 the McCan family was still living on Third Street with five servants. After the death of McCan and his wife in the early 1890s, the home devolved into a fancy boarding house. In 1900, 22 boarders lived there. In 1905 Peter Pescud, owner of an insurance company, bought the house at auction for $18,000. The North Carolina native was at the forefront of the struggle to create a paid public fire department in New Orleans, and his wife, Margaret Maginnis, had been Queen of Carnival in 1874. Following the deaths of the Pescuds and several subsequent sheriffs' sales, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company acquired the house in 1935 for $500. In 1941, Thomas Leslie Jordan, president of Canal Barge Company, acquired the home and completely renovated it under the direction of archi- tect Douglas Freret. During the nearly 60-year Jordan occupancy, the house was notable for fine antiques, rare scenic wallpaper, and lavish hospitality. In 2000 the Jordan family sold the home to Shirley Bakunas and Franklin H. Sinclair, who undertook a complete renovation in 2001. www.prcno.org