Magee House History

The Howells may have made changes in the house. Its external appearance is now more Federal in style than it was in the earlier print. The wood fireplace mantels in the downstairs rooms have been replaced with arched-top marble surrounds. A brick front entrance vestibule was added that has a half-round window above the outer door which looks very similar to the interior windows on the left side of the hallway. This window and one at the back of the building might have come from the right side of the hallway. A map dated 1873 shows a single story addition to the back of the building, which is no longer in existence. This wing might have housed kitchen and servants at some point in the history of the house.

In 1885 Daniel Howell took the property by foreclosure. He sold it in 1893 to Ira Davenport, Jr. who, upon his death in 1904 left the Magee house, a Liberty Street property, and $40,000 to the library association. The basement of the house, which had contained living quarters for the Magee family servants as well as the kitchen, was remodeled by the library into additional reading rooms along with a room to house the Steuben County Historical Society historical book collections.

A reconstruction program at the library in 1980 included a new roof and gutters, cleaning and sealing the exterior brick work, repair of floor joists, and refinishing of ceilings and walls. The Magee House was home to the Davenport Library until its relocation into a new facility, the Alice and Henry Dormann Library, built on the north western side of the plot of land where the Magee House is located, in 1999. At that time, the house was given over to the Steuben County Historical Society to provide a home for the Elm Cottage Museum, the Davenport Room, and the Chelsea and Liliane Kelly Children's Museum and Library in the basement, and the Historical Society and the County Historian on the first floor. Additional storage for historical documents and artifacts is located on the second floor, along with a room housing the Society’s Military Collection.