The story of the house really begins with Franklin W. Knox, a prominent Coudersport lawyer. On a visit to Pittsburgh, Knox spotted an intriguing Italianate home. He was so fond of its style that he decided he needed to have one just like it. In the Spring of 1879, he had the two story house where he had been residing moved from Main Street to Water Street. His new home would sit prominently in its place with views of the Allegheny River. Construction began quickly and in the Spring of 1880, his very own Italianate Villa was move in ready.
A wide variety of timber was locally sourced from the forests of Potter County. Butternut, chestnut, cherry, maple, black birch, pine, oak, and hemlock would all have a place in the home. These species were incorporated into the trim, moldings, floors and staircases. All of the interior woodwork was to be left unpainted. Oak was used to construct the stunning double spiral staircase which curves up the 55 foot tower. Alternating strips of birch and maple were used to create the dining room floor. The outdoors were also brought in through other details. Flowers were incorporated in the form of detailed plaster moldings which decorated the ceilings. The large bay windows in the parlors were topped with keystone arches supported by capitals with fern fronds. The parlors contained icy blue marbleized fire places. The tower offered stunning views of the Allegheny river and surrounding mountains. The cost of F. W. Knox’s elaborate Villa was estimated to be at least $10,000 upon completion.