JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Johnson City Board of Dwelling Standards and Review voted to have a cost analysis be done at the Robin’s Roost home.
The Robin’s Roost was once the home of two Tennessee governors, Robert Love Taylor and his brother Alfred Taylor.
In 1976, the home was put on the National Register of Historic Places.
“If you own a historic house and one that’s on the national register, theoretically, you’re making a commitment to help preserve it,” said Harold Hunter, historical preservationist.
The current homeowners purchased the residence in 2020.
The Board of Dwelling Standards and Review found that the property violates several city codes. They held their first public hearing about Robin’s Roost on Thursday.
Hunter said the home is important to the history of Johnson City and Tennessee.
“Preserving our history is one of those things that is extremely important because it tells us who we are and what we were and where we’ve come from,” Hunter said. “And this house stands is definite example of that. It’s an excellent example of late Victorian architecture and because of the way it’s built, it’s style.”
Hunter hopes that the repairs will be made and maintained.
“I’m hoping that the people will start taking care of it, keep the grounds mowed and maintain the house,” Hunter said. “So, there are issues up there that you can see very easily.”
Evelyn Socarras currently lives at the Robin’s Roost home and was at the public hearing. Her brothers own the residence and says she lives there with 15 family members and friends.
Socarras said the issues with the house were unknown when her family purchased the residence.
“We were rather disappointed to find that a lot of things had been covered up when we went to view the house,” Socarras said.
She said the house had been under the care of a caretaker for several years and on the market for eight years.
“They had painted over wood that was rotten by putting tape on it and painting over the tape to make it look like good wood on the ceiling of the porch,” Socarras said. “The roof was leaking in six places. There’s interior damage to the plaster from water from the house leaking before we bought it.”
Socarras said her family paid $50,000 to have the roof repaired, but that the job was abandoned halfway.
She said she has trouble finding people to work on the house due to its age.
“The work is a lot harder on a house that old to bring things up to code, because if you replace it, it has to be up to new code where 130 years ago people could do whatever they want,” Socarras said.
She is positive about the cost analysis that will be done by the city. They will conduct a cost analysis for repairs on the home that will bring them up to code.
“I came in here thinking this was a really adversarial process where it was me versus the city,” Socarras said. “That they wanted to maybe condemn my house and make it so we couldn’t live in it until it was repaired.”
Socarras and her family will still get to live there. She says that taking care of the people inside the home has been her top priority.
“Things like having adequate plumbing, having working toilets, replacing pipes that break, making sure everybody is fed, clothed, gets to school on time,” Socarras said.
She said she would like to open the Robin’s Roost up sometime in the future so the public can tour the home.