Past Headley Park, beyond Headley Road and across the street from Headley Cemetery sits Headley Manor, a monument of local history that turned into a labor of love for one couple.

Past Headley Park, beyond Headley Road and across the street from Headley Cemetery sits Headley Manor, a monument of local history that turned into a labor of love for one couple.

The brick Italianate home towers over a stretch of Clark State Road north of Gahanna just as it might have when it was built in 1848 by William Headley and his wife, Mary Havens Headley, early and influential settlers of northeastern Franklin County.

Its current owners, Dave Linton and Stephany Wilkes, are selling the home to be closer to Wilkes' aging parents in Tennessee.

They are not leaving without regrets.

"We love this house," Wilkes said recently as she fought back tears.

The love is evident throughout the house, which the couple spent years restoring.

They instantly fell for the 3,600-square-foot home when they bought it in 1992 but knew it needed attention.

"It looked nothing like it looks now," Wilkes said. "It was occupied by a bachelor. It was dark, with heavy drapes and dark green carpet and big dogs that had the run of the place."

The couple spent the next two decades lavishing attention on the property, with a devotion to detail that no doubt exasperated some contractors.

"When a contractor came to install flooring for the porch, he bought standard tongue-and-groove decking," Linton recalled. "I said: 'That's not going to work. We need cypress.'??"

The couple turned to Linton's uncle to build porch spindles to match spindles on the home's staircase and brackets to match brackets on the rest of the house.

When they wanted to cut heat loss through the windows in 2003, Linton was worried that standard storm windows would look out of place on the historic home, so he had triple-pane storms custom-built. (The windows have the added advantage of dramatically reducing noise from Clark State Road traffic).

They buried the 1,000- gallon propane tank because they thought it was unsightly next to the home.

In all, the couple can identify 34 renovations they have made since buying the home 22 years ago for $345,000.

In addition to the porch and the windows, the biggest changes include converting a stable into a guesthouse (1997); replacing the roof (1997); remodeling the master bedroom and bath (1997); adding a three-season room with the porch (2000); and remodeling the kitchen (2013).

The improvements have led them to list the home with New Albany Realty for $699,000, which includes a barn, a 1,000-square-foot guesthouse, horse stables and a four-car garage on 5 acres that border Blacklick Creek.

Wilkes knows preservationists wouldn't approve of the painted woodwork or the family room and second-floor master suite added in the 1970s.

But she and Linton are confident that their care has helped preserve an important part of Gahanna-area history.

According to the property's title abstract, the land was deeded by President John Adams to a New Jersey man, Jonathan Drayton, as payment for Drayton's service in the Revolutionary War. Drayton sold the property to William Headley.

Headley's nephew, also named William Headley, used the property for a sawmill on Blacklick Creek. Years later, the younger Headley and his wife, Mary Havens, acquired the property from the uncle and built the home that stands today.

A home with such a rich history brings some peculiarities.

The strangest occurred one summer day a few years ago when several vehicles pulled onto the property while Linton was mowing the yard.

A man got out of a truck, walked up to Linton and asked him whether he would mind if the visitors buried their mother's remains on the property.

Their mother had lived in the house years earlier and asked her children to spread her ashes "on the old homestead," Linton recalled.

"We were heading out of town that weekend and told them to go ahead," Wilkes added. "We said, 'We just don't want to know where.' "