Toward the southeast corner of the village square, tucked in amongst shady trees and romantic overgrowth, sits Century House. Built in the early 1840’s by Jacob Ten Eyck, it occupies the original lot of the Madison County Hotel. The aging hotel was dismantled with the opening of the Lincklaen House in 1836 and various pieces of its cornices and doors were incorporated into other Cazenovia buildings.
Ten Eyck built Century House as a gift to his daughter Elizabeth when she married merchant Elisha C. Litchfield. Its construction marked a new period in Cazenovia life, when prosperous businessmen began to imitate the grand houses of the wealthy landowners.
The origin of the Century House name may have been lost to history, but its architectural style has been well documented. The house is a typical example of the popular Gothic Revival style of the early 19th century. Its original design featured a low-hipped roof and Corinthian columnns, as well as a more symmetrical shape than that seen today.
Litchfield made major renovations to the structure in 1863, adding turrets, a mansard roof, and a number of porches, hoods, and bays. The overall effect was one of sprawling whimsey, perfectly in keeping with the mid-nineteenth century fad for Italianate details.
Changes were inevitably made through the next century; the turrets were removed and the original staircase from Lakeside House was added in 1952. Overall however, the imposing mansion looks much as it did after Litchfield’s expansions, 150 years ago.
Century House remains a private residence today.