Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This is was my house.
This is was my house circa 1998 on drugs.
Word on the street was that the white van had been parked there for over a year quickly becoming a haven for neighborhood cats. I still have no idea how the van was able to fit in the driveway due to a large wooden fence installed directly on the lot line (right side of photo).
Oh forgot to mention the drug bust shortly before the bank took ownership.

10 years earlier this home had been accessed for over $ 70k.

On the day I viewed this property with a realtor it smelled so bad that my 3 very young children wouldn't enter, instead planting their feet firmly on the plywood porch floor covering their face with their hands and vigorously shaking their heads NO. Seems that there had been an altercation with a baseball bat & the original toilet in the upstairs bathroom. The resulting flood soaked all the first floor carpet.

The fashionably dressed realtor jumped at the chance to stay with the children while myself & my then husband took a look around.

After a very brief tour ending in the cellar, my soon to be ex asked me if I was on drugs for even considering this as an option.

2 days later armed with work gloves & a flashlight I came back for a good go thur.

What can I say ... one too many episodes of This Old House, and the fact that it was the only house in my price range.

Almost 9 years later this is my urban homestead.
I had thought that by now all the restoration & rehab would be over with. But then life takes over with raising children single all the while learning how to rewire an outlet.
Still needs a new roof (main portion), and as of right now only 3 windows left to be replaced of the original 14, along with countless wood work that is covered in 30 + layers of paint. Then there is the bathroom remodel that we have been collecting materials for over 4 years for. What can I say when you are offered a 1920's claw foot tub for free.
Then there's installing a wood stove from scratch.

Details; built in 1902 as rental income, 3 original upstairs bedrooms with 1 downstairs, parlor, dinning room, kitchen with a pantry closet, no indoor toilet, 3 coal/wood stoves. Cellar sported a large cistern (now holds all my home canned goods). Garage/shed added in 1929 floor paved with slate perhaps from a city works project?
Sometime in the late 1920's the owner's two children lived here as young adults to be close to employment as their parents had moved out to the country. Their mother died in 1928, father remarried then succumbed to work related injuries (city plow truck mishap) at which point the house stayed in the 2ND wife's possession for many years.
Interesting fact found in her obit was that her wake was held in their home 3 blocks away in a house that is still standing. I was able to find hers son's grave but not hers nor her husband's.
I believe that the stepmother & the owner's daughter had a falling out because in 1936 she signed a quick claim deed giving the new wife all rights to this property. On all the paperwork the house was owned by the wife. I found that very interesting that in the early 1900's a married woman owned a home separate from her husband's name.

Sometime in the 1950's a family with 6 children lived here. It was at that time that there was a kitchen fire caused by a stove. An elderly neighbor delighted in retelling how both her & a GF ran into the house and scooped up what seemed to her dozens of children before the fire trucks came. At the time I truly thought she was just telling tales then on a remodel of the kitchen ceiling charred beams verified her adventure.
Even though the deed & title have been a wealth of information I haven't been able to find out exactly what my house sold for in 1902.

~~ pelenaka ~~

P.S. 7/5/2010 per the internet the average cost of a home in 1900 was $1500. Still unable to find out what my home sold for in 1902.