Bank St. home goes for $400,000

Published 10:21 pm Friday, September 7, 2012

Making it official: Ruth Baker signs the paperwork after successfully bidding for the 21-room mansion located at 204 Bank St. as Ernie Rogers with United Country A.B. Cole and Associates looks on. Baker plans to make the home a bed and breakfast. (Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald)

The winning bidder of a 1909 Bank Street mansion plans to turn the lavish home into a bed and breakfast.

Ruth Baker of Bay Harbor, Maine, put up paddle No. 29 in the back row of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts auditorium Friday to place a $400,000 bid and triumph over another bidder. When auctioneer Barry Cole ceased his singsong twang to announce it was sold her way, she covered her face with her hands in a combination of joy and fear.

“I’m terrified,” said Baker, who admitted afterward she has never been to Suffolk before.

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Baker is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York and works at a bed and breakfast in Maine. She has been looking to start a bed and breakfast of her own and stumbled across the auction listing on the Internet.

“I hope it will be a wonderful bed and breakfast and wonderful wedding venue and a place for people to have nice parties,” she said.

The home was built in 1909 by lumber magnate George Truitt. It went through a handful of other owners before landing in the hands of Janice and William Mahone Crumpler Jr.

The Crumplers left the home to their daughter, Viola “Billie” Annas.

Jim Gallagher, an auctioneer and real estate agent with United Country A.B. Cole and Associates, looks for a bid from the audience during an antiques auction Friday night at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

When she died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in January, her husband, Jack, handed out his estate to children Jay Annas and Emily Linzy. They decided to auction it off.

Five percent of the net proceeds of the real estate sale will be donated to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, and 10 percent of the net proceeds of the personal property will be donated to the ALS Association, which fights Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Linzy said she is pleased with the outcome of the auction.

“My mother always wanted a bed and breakfast there,” she said. “I’m very happy.”

The 21-room mansion also includes a screened-in porch and carriage house.

Baker also emerged victorious in a separate bid for an adjacent property that holds a smaller house that is “in condemnation condition,” Cole told the audience of about 100 just before the auction.

“This property is improved by the dirt that’s under it,” he said. He encouraged Baker from the stage to keep bidding.

“They’ve got to stay together,” Cole said.

The winning bid for that property was $15,500.

“This gal is going to be really good for Suffolk,” said Cole, who imagines the secondary property would make a good parking lot for the bed and breakfast. “I’m rooting for her.”

After the real estate was sold, the extensive amount of personal property hit the auction block. About 2,300 items are combined into about 800 lots.

Auctioneer Scott Jones stomped his feet on the stage and kept the audience laughing with one-liners throughout the night. When one participant hesitated to continue bidding, he yelled, “Your pocketbook cost more than that!”

Baker continued her winning streak to the first item of the night, a pair of silver-plated candelabras that sold for $375. She also won many other items to furnish her new business venture.

Online bids also were accepted. A cut glass bowl will be shipped to a Montana bidder who won it for $900. Walnut chairs are going to North Carolina and Florida. Annas family members even bid on several items.

The auction of the personal property continues Saturday at 9:45 a.m. Registration will begin around 8:30 a.m. at the center, 110 W. Finney Ave.

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