Just as every good book has an ending we hate to see, so did the tour of homes. Well, what do you do when it’s over? You await the sequel, of course.
This year, three centuries were represented on the home tour. Today, I’ll introduce those houses built in the early part of the 20th century.
In 1901 an attorney built an incredible twelve-room Queen Anne, complete with a massive wraparound porch that invites visitors to plop into one of a number of seating places and sip cool lemonade. Two octagonal turrets at the front provide unusually-shaped and interesting rooms inside. It’s the classic Victorian and one I wouldn’t have missed seeing this year (even though I saw it once before). A fun tidbit about this house is the fact that for nearly 40 years it was used as a funeral parlor. Though the owner says, “No, there are no ghosts,” he pointed out that a newel post in the stairway was missing it’s cap. It seems the top of the post interfered with the ability to bring the caskets (stored upstairs) down the curved stairway, so it was removed and never replaced.
What early neighborhood would be complete without the Arts and Crafts-style bungalow? This 1912 home surprised me. A portion of the exterior was done in a pebble dash finish that looked like a candy bar—peanuts covered with chocolate. Though it wouldn’t have been my choice of exteriors, it was interesting. On the second floor, were two “eye brow” dormers—a new term for me, but evident when seeing the shape of the dormer roof—straight with just a slight rise in the center. Inside, the house was stunning, larger than I assumed from the outside and with the stained wood trim you expect to find in such a house. Sometime around 1920, a room was added to the back. It is said this room was used by the “man of the house” as his billiard/poker room. A massive granite fireplace stands at the back. We were told the owner won the stone in a poker game and used it to build the fireplace. Don’t you love hearing tidbits like these about something old, whether true or not? The barn/carriage house out back was a reproduction built on the spot of the original building. This was, as the architect put it, a “man cave.” The large-screen TV, bar, fishing motiff…need I say more?
The 1924 Colonial Revival was one I had been in before, but did not tour this time. What I recall of this home are the large sunporches on each side of the residence—such an appealing place to sit on a lazy day. Every year, the owners set up and decorate huge Christmas trees in both rooms. The home has four fireplaces, a roof covered in ceramic tiles, and twelve pairs of hand-beveled glass doors on the first floor of the exterior. I don’t know…that’s a lot of windows to clean.
I hope the next time you have an opportunity to take this type of tour, you will skip, not walk, to the ticket office. Even though these are occupied, lived-in houses with renovated kitchens and bathrooms (many more modern than my own), there is something special about stepping over the threshold, feeling the wood, walking the old floors, hearing interesting stories from the past, imagining the people who lived—and sometimes died—in the various rooms.
Question: If someone were to ask you what was special about your house (whether old or new), what would you tell them? Hmmm, I’ll have to ponder that one myself.
Some of the background material for these posts was taken from the foundation’s tour brochure.