Susan McConnell House
5803 Broadway Street
—Written by Gail Drabant
This house is a significant late-Victorian house transitional to the Craftsmen period with Stick style influences. This grand house, located at 5803 Broadway, was built by the wealthiest resident of Richmond just after the turn-of-the-century in 1908. Note that local personal wealth was documented, since it was published on the front page of the Richmond Gazette. The top 20 taxpayers in ranking order were printed along with the dollar amounts that they paid annually for property taxes. Susan topped the list in 1909 with an amount of $550. All amounts below the fifth ranking taxpayer were below $200.
George and Susan McConnell raised their children in the house on the southeast comer of George and West Streets. George and Susan’s eldest child was Cora who married Emmett Covell. Upon George’s death, Emmett sold this double-lot to his mother-in-law on which she had constructed this unique house. Note particular attention to details, types of woods and finishes of the wood. This house was considered modem at the time and was designed by an architect rather than several of the other area houses that used mail-order plans. The houses on either side were also built by relatives. Emmett’s brother’s house (L. B. Covell) to the west used similar woodwork and Susan’s son’s house (Frank McConnell) to the east had the distinction of sharing a common privy. There is an original sidewalk connection through the backyards for this purpose.
Although Susan was a widow, she had a helper that resided on the second floor. Susan lived in this house nearly 30 years, dying in 1934. From 1948 to 1987, the Roy and Cora Sutton family lived in this house. Roy preceded his wife in death; however, she continued ownership until her death in 1987. They had four children that were primarily raised in this house. Cora Sutton was the daughter of Emmett and Cora Covell and was raised across the street. The current owners, Roy and Barbara Wulffen, purchased this home in the late 1980s and are in the process of restoring this house.