An Old House Made New Again
This Old House
The American landscape is scattered with nineteenth-century farmhouses like the one pictured above. My friend, author Laura Drake, frequently posts farmhouse photos on her Facebook page, pictures of buildings so filled with character (if not always charm) they could inspire a series of gothic novels.
Her most recent post was this one.
All of the pictures take me back to the Missouri farmhouse my grandfather helped build around 1900. It was once a white-washed lady, graced with first and second floor porches stretching across the front of the house, where the family could sleep on steamy summer nights.
But I didn’t know the house in its glory days. By the time I came along, deferred upkeep had left the house a ghost of itself. Grandma still cooked on a woodburning stove. The house had electricity and an oil heater in the front room, but indoor plumbing consisted of a pump that drew water from a cistern. Even the outhouses were falling apart!
This Old House Restored
Fast forward to 2005, when I returned to the midwest for a family reunion and had a chance to visit the old home place.
Here it is, restored and renewed by the cousin who inherited it. She and her son did most of the work themselves, years of hard physical labor. They dug out the old root cellar, took the walls down to the framing, added a full bathroom and plumbing, and rebuilt shorter porches.
In this side-view of the house, the porch on the left is where the cistern was located. My cousin tore out that room and sealed the cistern to keep snakes out of the house. Yep, Grandma used to find a snake in her house now and then.
One piece of family history remains–Grandma’s wood stove, also restored, but not used, except as a microwave stand. The door in the middle opens to an oven. The side doors are where the wood goes in.
What also hasn’t changed, except for some siding and roof repairs, and is still in use, is this barn, one of two barns filled with stacked hay bales we kids used to play in.
More Pictures to Come
One of my 2017 projects is retrieving and filing old pictures. When I find the one I’m looking for from around 1900, I’ll post it!
What about you? Do you have any favorite old houses to share?
Images: Wikimedia and the author