Friday, January 18, 2013

The Dunky House

Old sink in upstairs bathroom discovered
after trash was removed. 

Here are some pictures I took as we moved through the house the first few times.  Moved might be a bit exaggerated because there are four rooms upstairs we couldn't get to because stuff was piled so high.

We later found out it was an apartment (kinda) for the young single school teacher who taught at the old brick school house north of us.  It appeared there was a bedroom, sitting room, bathroom with a sink and toilet and a large closet/storage room. 

Looking into the apartment's bedroom.
The original sink was still in place and we kept it for years until we had an epiphany and realized we were keeping a piece of history that was pretty darn inconvenient.  The room didn't appear to have had a bathtub or shower.  I'm guessing the teacher did the old "sponge bath".  The closet had a board around the side with hooks (as did all our closets.)  Remnants of what must have originally been beautiful wallpaper hung in dingy tatters from the sitting room.

If our source for historical information is correct, the owner/builder of our home was a life long bachelor.  Interesting the home was built with this apartment for the school teacher.  Would be fun to know the story. 

The school is about half a mile down the road and I'm sure it was a convenient walk.  The square brick school was occupied by a family when we moved to this house.  A few years later, it burned and has been sitting in that sad shape until about a month ago.  It's now been pushed into the basement and will be gone forever this summer.

It was a frightening night when I happened to look north out our upstairs window and the sky was orange.  We hopped in our truck and went down to see if we could help.  They had got out injury free, including their pet, but, it was freezing cold and little was saved from the house. 

One of the things you know when you live in a very old house in the country, if your home catches on fire, it's best to get out as quickly as possible.  We have excellent volunteer fire departments serving our area but time goes by fast when something this old burns.  I joke if our house is on fire, get people out, get pets out and get my hard drive out - in that order.  The hard drive is where I store all my photos, both new and scanned old.

An interesting thing about our walls, is they contain nubbing.  Nubbing was a Swedish insulating process.  They would put in the 2x4 studs, clad the outside then lay brick between the studs.  Next came the inside lath and plaster.  It is an early insulation practice.  It might be a bit of a help if it caught fire and might have been why it remained so sturdy over the years.  I use "might" because I really don't know for sure.  All the brick used in the house and sidewalks was Bishop Hill brick; made either in the Colony or done on site.  It's soft and often has odd shapes.
The hallway to the apartment.
One of my big regrets about this old house project was I didn't buy a really good camera from the start.  Hence (yes, hence) most of them are fuzzy and pretty awful.  Another regret is I didn't take more pictures of the process.  Something about both of us having full time jobs and it was really hard work.  But still I love having the visual reminders.


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