The History of Our Home

The Days of Old at 13 Oakland Ave

Our home was first built in the early 1890s, and designed by prominent New York architect, E. G. W. Dietrich. Dietrich designed several homes in our village, including the Grinnel Burt house, the Red Swan Inn, Jean Beattie May’s house, and six mansions along Oakland Avenue for the Wisner family.

Our Office

One distinguishing architectural element of 13 Oakland is the pointed ship-like prow that extends the roof line over the third story window. Dietrich was a very popular architect in America’s “Gilded Age” and designed mansions for some of our country’s elite families, including the Roosevelts.

13 Oakland Ave

Before the house was constructed, it is believed that a much smaller cottage had stood in its place. It was replaced in the early 1890s by Dietrich and Mahlon Cooper, who served as Warwick’s Village Treasurer. The new structure was first occupied by Cooper, before it changed hands to George Furman and his family from Spring Valley. The Furmans adopted a niece, Bertha Maria Furman, who would live with them before marrying John Wheeler Sanford, Sr. The Sanfords lived in the house from the mid-1930s until 1948 when they moved to the ancestral Sanford Farm on Maple Avenue.

The house was believed to have changed hands many times throughout the 1950s, and fell into disrepair after it was converted for commercial use in the 1960s by Warwick Construction Co.

Finally, Seely & Durland Insurance made 13 Oakland Avenue its home when Ken Durland purchased the property in 1979. Occupying the historical Victorian Cottage in the heart of the village of Warwick, Ken and his sons, Garrett and Stuart, worked hard to restore it back to its former architectural splendor. In 2004, they undertook a gut renovation of the headquarters, overhauling the entire first and second floors. In 2005, the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce awarded Seely & Durland Insurance with the Building Renovation of the Year Award. Included in the Warwick Historic District, 13 Oakland subject to strict architectural standards.

SDI Office Renovation

That brings us to current times…

At a home with as rich a history as 13 Oakland, each generation has added layers to the surrounding landscape. Here at Seely & Durland, we’re not just a team of insurance professionals; we’re a family of gardeners! The grounds outside our office feature spring flowering trees and Japanese maples, underplanted with lush beds of sunpatiens. The property features privet hedges and rhododendron bushes, all enhanced with annual floral bedding, conveying its Victorian history through a modern perspective. While the Japanese maples and the pink and white dogwoods were planted in the spring of 1980, the large weeping cherry tree goes way back before all our times!

Ken, Sara, and Cal at the 2017 Garden Tour