House Lust: Inside This Highlands Mansion, Time Stands Still

The Georgian Revival was built in 1901, and not much has changed since then.

When I ask realtor Lori Pacheco if her listing at 654 Highland Avenue in Fall River requires any updating, she has to think about it for a second.

“Maybe the wood around the exterior windows?” she says.

With a house this big and this old, you’d think there would be more to do. Not so, says Pacheco. The mansion, which was sold just twice over its 120-year lifespan, has been owned by the same family for years.

In 1976, a twenty-six-year-old seamstress from Portugal bought it for $50,000. She and her mother moved in, keeping many of the original furnishings as their own. The homeowner eventually married, but the pair never had children to scuff up the floors or color on the ornate wainscoting or toss a ball through a stained glass window. In short, and with a wellspring of admiration: This place is pristine.

“Everything is handcrafted,” Pacheco says. “You’d never be able to replicate that now without paying a fortune for it.”

Pacheco says the Highlands mansion, which was built for a hat factory owner, has garnered some interest. But she acknowledges it’ll take a particular type of person to actually buy it.

“It’s an old house. It’s a labor of love,” Pacheco says. “It’ll require a lot of upkeep.”

She can say that again. The mansion is listed at 7,570 square feet, but that figure doesn’t include the entirety of the third floor — a onetime servant’s wing with another three bedrooms and great room. Those rooms haven’t been used in decades, but they could be restored and add to the legal footprint of the house.

Mini rant: Whoever buys this place has to put in the work. Has to. Promise? It’d be a tragedy to let it fall to ruin and, let’s be honest, also a betrayal of the American dream. So, no pressure or anything.

Here’s your House Lust:

For more information about 654 Highland Ave., Fall River, Mass., contact Lori Pacheco of Anne Whiting Real Estate at 508-951-4957 or visit annewhitingrealestate.com.