The current owner of 617 7th Ave NW, Cheryl Russell, has said that she loves coming home to the beauty of this Victorian, which was likely built in 1893. The owners strive to maintain the house’s historical integrity, styling the fences to be historically accurate and cohesive, and painting the house in the signature colors of the era. The home retains its historic value, while also adapting to the modern era. The front parlor features an original chandelier that has been converted from gas to electric energy. The home also boasts original sliding pocket doors, woodwork, trim, and porches. The porches in front are double-decker, and the upper porch was a sleeping porch for hot summer nights. The side porch is an excellent place for enjoying the outdoors while maintaining privacy.
One piece of the property allowed the Russells to find several pieces of history. When they looked inside the old cistern they found empty glass medicine bottles, remains of antique toys and cans, and a miniature cast-iron replica of a sailboat.
The home’s elegant architecture is paired with a rich personal history. Previous owners included Gusti and Professor Eric Kollman, both of whom taught at Cornell. Gusti Kollman taught physical education in the mid-to-late 1940s, and Eric Kollman taught history from 1944 to 1973. The pair escaped Vienna in 1939 after Hitler rose to power, and ultimately made a home in Mount Vernon. The Kollmans have always been well-loved by their students, Cornell colleagues, and community. The couple often entrusted the house to students while they were away, and would come home to find evidence of the aftermaths of parties and events. As one of the Kollman daughters recalls, 617 "…was a house where everyone wanted to be.”