Bank Street mansion hosts open house

Published 10:24 pm Friday, August 24, 2012

Annas family members present a check for five percent of the proceeds of the sale of the real estate at 204 Bank St. to staff and board members at the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.

A Bank Street mansion was filled with nearly every possible emotion Friday evening as it hosted an open house ahead of next month’s auction.

The home and its contents are being auctioned by Emily Linzy and Jay Annas, siblings who inherited the home and its contents when their mother, Billie Annas, died in January and their father, Jack, decided to hand out his estate.

For family members, the night was bittersweet as they reminisced about the time they lived in the house and the many special events held there.

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Billie Annas died of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Linzy said she wanted to auction the belongings to help support the ALS Association, which will receive 10 percent of the proceeds.

People wait in line to gain entry to the house at 204 Bank St. during an open house event on Friday evening. The home, built by a lumber magnate in 1909, is being auctioned next month.

“Watching her die was one of the most horrific experiences of my life,” Linzy said. “This is the best way I could think of to pay tribute to my mother.”

“This is such a personal gift,” said Catherine Easter, director of philanthropy for the ALS Association DC/MD/VA chapter. “They’re parting with family heirlooms. I was just so moved.”

Jay Annas, who inherited the house, will donate five percent of the proceeds of its sale to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, which he helped establish.

“I have seen the selflessness of so many individuals in the process of building the clinic,” Annas said. “I was so honored to be part of that. I’m very blessed by God to be able to do this.”

Checks were presented to both organizations during an invitation-only open house that began at 4:30 p.m.

“We thought this would be another coming-out party for the house,” said Barry Cole of United Country A.B. Cole and Associates Auction and Realty.

Linzy said she hopes the person who buys the house will be “somebody that will treasure it and love it like she did,” referring to her mother.

Her father, Jack, said he is not upset to see the house on the auction block.

“I am absolutely delighted about what my daughter and her brother are doing,” he said. “We had 20-some good years here, and I’m doing OK.”

At 6, the house opened to the public, and a line snaked down the brick walkway and curved onto the sidewalk in front of the house.

Valet parking was provided along the cramped downtown streets, and off-duty sheriff’s deputies ensured that no purses or bags were carried in.

People waiting in line ranged from the curious, who simply wanted to see the inside of the large, old house, to antiques lovers looking to buy.

“We’ve got a lot of antiques at our home,” said Dennis Harrell. He and wife Robin were among those in line at 6:15, waiting on the sidewalk.

Albert Council said he came because “I’ve always wanted to see the inside.”

Then there was DeaDea Daniels, who said she believes the house is haunted. When she passes it on her morning walk, the hairs on the back of her neck stand up every time, she said.

“I’ve got a good sense of that stuff,” she said, adding she wants to see if the same thing happens when she gets inside the house. “The house is absolutely beautiful.”

Further open house dates are set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sept. 1 at the same times.

The auction will be held Sept. 7-8 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave. The real estate will be auctioned first at 5 p.m. Sept. 7, followed by the personal property until 9 p.m. that night and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the next day.

There are about 2,300 items in the auction combined into about 800 lots, Cole said.

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