The Strong Homestead, currently on the market, features prominently in early photographs of Howick Beach, sitting on the ridge at the end of Selwyn Road. It was built in the early 1860s by carpenter Daniel Strong and remained in the family until his daughter Molly Strong died in 1989.
Present owners, Diana and Jim Ward, bought the house from the Strong estate. The house had been turned into two flats, one of which Miss Strong lived in while the other was rented.
The Wards restored it back to a four-bedroom house, with separate lounge, family and dining rooms opening onto the veranda. They added an upstairs room and dormer window, but retained the three metre high stud and stained glass windows.
“Everything she [Molly] had is still here. Our renovations were in line with the age of the house,” Mr Ward says. “The kauri floor boards have been polished, we retained the original ceilings and the kitchen is kauri.”
After the Wards bought the house, Howick historian Alan La Roche was invited to take a look around. Under the house he found one of Daniel Strong’s original work tools, a broken slate with a piece of string and pencil at the end of it.
“A receipt for his work on Stockade Hill in 1863 is now in the Historical Village collection,” Mr La Roche says. “He was responsible for the carpentry work on the stock house on the hill.”
“Molly Strong was the last Strong to live in the house and was very active in the Catholic Church,” he says. “She is buried in the Howick [Catholic] church yard.”
The house was a major icon in Selwyn Road which originally connected the Howick Beach wharf with the village retail centre in Howe Street, before it was shifted to Picton Street.
Mr La Roche is pleased the house has been kept “more or less as it was. And the colour schemes are appropriate for that type of building”.