Lost Huntington: The Enslow mansion
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 34th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- The name Enslow has been a familiar one in Huntington since 1871, when railroad contractor Andrew Jackson Enslow arrived to help build the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. His son, Frank B. Enslow, grew up in Huntington, married here and entered the practice of law with Henry C. Simms.
In addition to his law practice, Enslow, who died in 1917, had extensive business interests in oil and gas, banking and other fields. Local legend credits him with being the city's first millionaire.
Certainly his opulent 26-room mansion at 1307 3rd Ave., was a showplace, with silk wallpaper, oak paneling, marble fireplaces, Tiffany chandeliers and stained-glass windows. Even the garage out back, which once housed the Enslow family's Stanley Steamer automobile, was a fancy affair. It had a turntable on the floor so the auto could be turned around inside.
Built in 1893, the Enslow mansion was a center of Huntington social life in that long-ago era. Decades later, the elegant mansion would also be the scene of one of Huntington's most celebrated mysteries when, on the morning of Oct. 17, 1936, the millionaire businessman's widow, Juliette Buffington Enslow, was found dead - beaten, stabbed and strangled -- in her second-floor bedroom. Her murder was never solved.
Following the murder, the vacant mansion was boarded up. In 1937, R.R. Steele, who operated the Steele Funeral Home two blocks down 3rd Avenue, purchased the mansion and moved his business there.
In 1965, A. Ray Black bought the funeral home and later changed its name to Steele-Black. He and his wife Joan lived on the home's second floor and barely escaped with their lives when a fast-moving fire broke out in the basement in the early morning hours of Aug. 23, 1977.
Firefighters had little luck battling the blaze, which eventually gutted the landmark structure. The burned-out ruins were cleared away the next year. Today, the property is home to a used car lot.
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.