Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spirit House Continues to Decline, Rexie in a Huff Over the Public Use of Spirit House Pictures

For my upcoming talk to the Madison County Historical, SPIRITUALITY AND REFORM IN THE BURNED-OVER DISTRICT(3/22/17) I decided to use a picture of Spirit House to promote the event. After all, many in Madison County know me for creating  the Spirit House Society to try and save and restore Spirit House by turning it into a Historic Home--Spiritual Retreat. Spiritualism also played a major role in reform in the Burned-over District. 

When Rexie, the women who thwarted our effort by purchasing the home for herself heard about this she began to complain vociferously. Eventually the picture was removed. Evidently she claims that no one can take a picture of Spirit House, or talk about Spirit House in any manor with our her permission and paying her a royalty. Where did she get  this idea from? Several of the pictures below refer to this bizarre notion. 

Rexie also indicated that she needs to set the recored straight on Timothy Brown (the man that built Spirit House.) Evidently she has some insider, or special information about him. Personally I had thought Spirit House Society Board Member Jocelyn Godwin (retired Colgate University Professor that has written about 20 books) did an incredible job with his book on Spirit House, which he again referenced in Upstate Cauldron.

You and I are within our rights to photograph Spirit House, a nationally registered historic, from the street as long as we are not on her property. 

When I heard all this I decided it was time to visit Spirit House and post some pictures on the Spirit House Society Blog. Not only to express my and SHS member's opinion on this matter, but to catalogue the continued deterioration of this grand and majestic historic home that sits on a very sacred site.


It is  important to catalogue the deterioration of this home for history. Before we distributed the money we had raised to Madison County not-for-profits ( Gerrit Smith Estate, Madison Hall in Morrisville) there was a discussion of whether we should pay for a professional photographer to photograph the home and send the pictures to NYS Archives; but we felt that we had enough pictures and could catalogue the decline as I am now doing.

The pictures below show the deterioration. I am surprised that Code Enforcement has not fined her for the condition of the home and the circus of junk on the property.

There is a chance you might see a Spirit House Picture at my talk on the 22nd in Oneida to Madison County Historical Society. In the mean time go visit and take some pictures and tell everybody about the tragedy that has befallen Spirit House.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Muller Hill

Thanks to Melanie Zimmer and Joscelyn Godwin for their work with the distribution of funds; one result of which was getting the signs repainted at Muller Hill. We did not donate any money, but tried to do so to the state to pay for the repainting. Instead they offered to have them repainted.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Funds have been disbursed


The funds have been disbursed see below. A few of us made an effort to try to see if we could donate to an organization in Georgetown, Unfortunately, the Georgetown Historical Society is not a registered 501-c3 so we could not donate to them. We tried Muller Hill and the DEC and that did not work out; although signs at Muller Hill will now be painted and new ones put in, so we had some affect. We looked at....

As was discussed we donated to the  Gerrit Smith estate ($1,340) and Madison Hall ($500), and $41.13 will be applied to buy park benches at Onondaga Lake at a future date.

Thanks for everyone's help and interest in our effort to buy Spirit House.

I will continue to post occasionally if I hear something; if nothing else keep a historical record of the house's deterioration.

I imagine the house will again come up for sale, but given Rexie's lack of upkeep and maintainance not much of it will be left.

madis senner

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lawn Still not mown

Unfortunately Spirit House has not been properly maintained. The house is in desperate need of repair the grounds are going to ruin--the lawn has not been mown as of September. The following pictures were taken September 8, 2015.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Email sent to Spirit House Society Members on June 21, 2015

Dear Spirit House Society Member, 
I hope that all has been well with you.
This fall will mark four years since Spirit House was purchased by one of our members, Resurreccion Dimaculangan, for her own use. While our effort disbanded I did not distribute the $1,900 we had raised after expenses to other non-profits. I would like to do that now.
Sadly, it appears that Rexi has done nothing to preserve Spirit House. The paint has continued to peel and some parts of the house such as the sunroom, on the south side, are almost all bare wood. The lawn looks like it has not been mowed this year and is over a foot high. There are dozens of connected white half barrels on the front lawn that are collecting water and mildew. My understanding is that the barrels were supposed to be some sort of a fence. I will send you a separate email with some pictures; I am not attaching them to this email as I am concerned that they might be flagged as spam.
My inclination is to donate the money to non-profits in Madison County where Spirit house is located. Many in Madison County were helpful and encouraging to our effort. In particular I am thinking of the Abolitionist Hall of Fame in Peterboro and Madison Hall in Morrisville. Dot Willsey of the Abolitionist Hall of Fame tabled at our events and was very helpful and informative to my queries. Although our event at Madison Hall was not the success we hoped for, Mountain Bob treated us like royalty and were accommodated as to the charge.
I welcome input on where you would like the money to go. As I noted my inclination is to donate it to organizations that were helpful to our effort.
You have some time; so reflect on what you think should be done and email me. I would like to have resolved this by yearend.
I look forward to hearing from you.

madis senner

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Madison County Courier Article

Dear Spirit House Society Member,

The following appears in this week’s Madison County Courier. Martha Conway has written a very informative article about the status of Spirit House and the financial condition and plans of the owner.

Madis Senner

Spirit House Gets Exemption on Improvements
May 30, 2012 By margo Leave a Comment

By Martha E. Conway
(Georgetown, NY – May 2012) The Georgetown Town Council scheduled a public informational meeting May 1 to answer questions about an application by Resurreccion Dimaculangan, new owner of the Spirit House, for a tax exemption for the property. The meeting, which was sparsely attended, was a precursor to a public hearing scheduled during the board’s regular meeting May 8.
“The public hearing is May 8,” said Supervisor David L. Coye of the May 1 special meeting. “People in the town had questions. Apparently, not that many tonight, but this is the time to ask questions, not at the hearing.”
According to Coye, the state allows the enactment of local laws that provide exemptions on improvements to historic properties; the exemptions are used as incentives for property owners to restore and maintain their structures. He said the exemption must be applied for through the local assessor’s office, is geared toward attracting and retaining local business and applies only to improvements.
“I am requesting that town people have an open mind that allows the exemption,” Dimaculangan said, adding that the structure is not a regular house but a historic structure.
She also insisted the exemption should be for the entire assessed value of the property, such as that granted to schools and churches, not just on the improvements. Dimaculangan said she would like to have the public have a vote in preserving the historic structure, Georgetown’s only one, she said.
Coye said that while it may be the only one on the National Register of Historic Places, there are a number of historic structures in the town.
According to Dimaculangan, the structure needs about $5 million in capital investment to restore it to its former glory; she said she doesn’t have it. She said it is imperative for her to invest the smallest amount of money in the least amount of time and resources to make the Spirit House self-sufficient. She said she would like to accomplish that through government grants and memberships.
“The structure should be able to pay for its maintenance and upkeep,” Dimaculangan said, explaining her goal is to preserve the past and leave room for the future.
Dr. Joscelyn Godwin, historian and professor of music at Colgate University in Hamilton, asked how Dimaculangan planned to position the structure to support itself, if she were considering turning it into a bed and breakfast or other revenue-generating destination spot.
He said if aggressive action wasn’t taken soon to shore up some of the Spirit House’s problem areas, the structure could be permanently compromised.
Dimaculangan said she is using it as her primary residence and that her plan relies on responsible, adaptive use.
“I would not like to be pinned down by a B&B, and it would not be competitive,” she said.
Councilman Matthew Van Heusen, who also serves as code enforcement officer for the town of Lebanon, wasn’t satisfied with the vagueness of Dimaculangan’s described plan.
“As a councilman, you have to give me some kind of plan of action,” Van Heusen said. “You have a week to come up with some kind of written plan because from what I’m hearing tonight the only plan is to clean it up. How can I vote for a resolution when I don’t know what you are going to do?”
Asked repeatedly by several people present if she planned to restore the Spirit House, Dimaculangan responded with a question.
“Which past am I supposed to preserve?” she asked. “Brown’s original design or that with the renovations of Mrs. Cossitt?”
Town Clerk Sarah “Sally” Brush was one of the few attendees May 1.
“I would like to know what she is doing that she’s not going to have to pay the taxes I have to pay,” Brush said. “I’m going to side my house this year, and I know I will pay for it.”
Dimaculangan said she doesn’t ask Public Assistance, Medicaid or HEAP recipients why they are on the system and felt she should not have to explain herself locally, as she had been in contact with the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Coye said whatever improvements Dimaculangan makes to the property will be assessed in 10-perent increments each year until it is at full valuation at the end of 10 years, so she need be prepared for that.
“That is a historic house under New York State code and falls under certain standards,” Van Heusen said. “Even as a historic building, it is an existing structure. If you need a building permit, you have to provide us certain information before you get it.”
Dimaculangan said she wouldn’t abandon the project if she didn’t get local support by way of the exemption.
“It’s a special house because of its history,” she said.
When asked if the taxes were current, Dimaculangan said she had paid them. According to the tax rolls maintained by Brush, who also serves as the town’s tax collector, the taxes due Jan. 30 without penalty were turned over to the Madison County Treasurer’s Office for collection April 30.
The parcel on which the Spirit House is located is valued at $89,700; the three parcels total about $94,700.
The town board unanimously approved Dimaculangan’s request at its May 8 meeting; Councilman Bart Chapin was not in attendance. According to Coye, the board, based on the opinion of its attorney, maintains the exemption only affects the difference of improvements over assessed value.
“The exemption is for restoration and alterations only,” Coye repeated, adding that a five-member historical commission has to be established to oversee the process. “You can’t take the tax base away; that will hurt a community.”
“I disagree,” Dimaculangan said.
The Spirit House is one of three contiguous properties purchased late last year by Dimaculangan.
Georgetown’s equalization rate is at 100 percent.
“The Spirit House has a lot of potential,” Coye said. “When it is at full assessment – and that time will come – the town will benefit when that happens.”
Martha E. Conway is vice president of M3P Media, LLC, and publisher of the Madison County Courier. She can be reached at 315.813.0124 or by emailing Follow her on Twitter at or Facebook at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Member Update

Dear Spirit House Society Member,

There have been some developments since Rexie Friedman, aka Rexie Dimaculangan purchased Spirit House.

At a meeting with several steering committee members late last year she stated that she was interested in restoring and preserving the house but had no interest in honoring its Spiritualist roots. She implied that she was possibly interested in turning Spirit House into a museum or something similar. She gave no firm restoration plans or how the restoration would be financed.

She offered the following statement to convey to the SHS membership:
"The House is now in the hands of one individual that cares about conservation and preservation. She will honor the history and past and develop an economically sustainable structure within the town without being dragged by its spiritualist past."

We also learned that she has been living in Spirit House to save money. She was using a space heater and fireplace to keep warm.

One of our members was at a Georgetown Historical Society meeting in March were Rexie was trying to solicit interest to have her property taxes vacated. Rexie was described as being very dedicated and determined.

In late April two meetings where held in Georgetown where Rexie presented her case for why she should not have to pay property taxes for Spirit House. The town board eventually agreed to reduce taxes on any subsequent improvements to the house—a ten year hiatus on any improvements that would increase at a 10% rate per year. For example, if $100,000 in improvements were made the 1st year there would be no tax on the improvements, Year 2 taxes would be paid on $10,000, Year 2 pay taxes on $20,000 and year 10 she would have to pay taxes on the full $100,000.

No tax abatement was given on the house. She has to pay the full property taxes on $97,000.

At the meetings there were several queries about finances and restoration plans. Rexie said that there was $5,000 to $6,000 at hand for restoration work and that she was going to apply for a grant for the rest. I believe that I was told that she expected that the restoration costs for Spirit House to be about $5 million.

I will keep you posted on further developments.


Madis Senner