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Harlem's Turreted Circus Castle Is Getting a Big Makeover

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Harlem's Bailey Mansion made headlines in 2009 when the 1888-built home at 150th Street and St. Nicholas sold for 75 percent off its asking price of $10 million. It took a few years, but the former residence of circus mogul James A. Bailey (yes, as in Barnum & Bailey) is now in the process of getting gussied up. That process starts not with the nine-bedroom interiors rife with historic details but rather with the century-and-a-half-old slate roof on top of the limestone castle.

Harlem Bespoke spotted a rundown of the restoration process on contractor Short Slate's website, which includes photos and details of the painstaking process. "It's a dramatic limestone castle, complete with turrets, Flemish-inspired gables, porches, balconies, 66 windows – and a complicated slate roof that was in dire need of repair following years of standing empty," writes Short Slate's Chris Short. "My team and I restored the roof to its original Victorian design patterns, with copper valleys, intricate cresting and an impressive copper finial (to replace the original, which had been blown off in a storm a few years earlier)."

The Bailey Mansion's history is extensive, earning an entire "Streetscapes" column in the Times. New York magazine called it "Manhattan's 'Grey Gardens'" and got a coveted video tour.

The once-leaky roof aside, husband-and-wife mystery owners sure have a lot on their plates. The mansion was used as a funeral home for many years and was apparently "overrun by a pack of wild dogs." Eep. But they no doubt have a beautiful slate on which to build: here's a peek of the interiors, circa 2009 when it was sold.

Whoever is restoring the insides, please do give us a holler so that we may ogle more pictures.
· The Bailey Mansion [Short Slate]
· Bespoke: Artisan Restoration at Bailey Mansion [HB]
· Bailey Mansion coverage [Curbed]