Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Old Photos

Only an old house owner could get as excited as I am about this.

A couple of years ago, my neighbors across the street mentioned they had some old photos of my house. Their house had been in their family since it was built in the early 1900's and some of the family photos ended up with the current home owners. The family had a nice habit of taking photos on their front lawn....with my house in the background.

At any rate, I kept forgetting to ask them for a copy of the photos.....until Sunday when I ran into them on the street. They brought over their family album for me to pull out photos of my house to scan. By their guess, the photos date from the 1930's. So, the house was 6-15 yrs old.

My house is in the distance, so there isn't great detail. But enough to get enthused about. For example, who knew I had such a big side yard at one time. That the light above my front door was a simple rectangular light. That the ceder tree in my yard that reaches up to my roof, was once a short little bush.....and that there was a nice hedge under my front window. It also looks like the front doorway was painted white.

By blowing the photo up, I can also get a vague idea of what the front steps look like. As suspected, there were built in arm rails....and some type of curb that ran down the sides of the stairs. I also can see that the original storm door had a 1/4 wood panel and then an glass/screen insert (replacing the current aluminum storm door is on the "to do" list).

Geez, and look at the sunken stairs on the lower half of my lawn. I like those better than the raised stairs I currently have. One thing I wish I could see.....and don't think I can is where the original mailbox was. My other neighbor had also mentioned that at one time the frontstep was enclosed, but from these photos it would seem that was a later addition (that was removed again before I bought the house).

My neighbor also had a kind of fun story about our block. It seems at one time there was a small store on the end of my block, but in the 1940's (?) someone was killed in the store and it was eventually demolished. A newer house sits on that lot now. I'll have to look into this story a bit more.....

5 comments:

John said...

Great photos! I'd love to get some like that of our house. So far, no luck though.

Greg said...

I would kill for photos like that of my house. Recently, though, there was an archive made available at the local Universities web site of dozens of aerial shots of my city. A man back in the 30s and 40s regularly took aerial photos of the city, for reasons I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, they were all recently put on-line, and while it is only a bird's eye view, this is the only photo I've ever seen of my house where I wasn't the photographer.

StuccoHouse said...

I was pretty happy to get them. At an antique show I ran into a company that sold copies of the 1900 arial plats. It showed a photo of the shack that was on my property before my house. Not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I didn't buy it.

At one time I also had a link to a service that provided free arial photos of a huge variety of addresses over the years...they got down to street level. I was able to download a photo of a street I live on in Madrid, Spain. For the life of me, I can't find that site anymore.

The Minnesota Historical Society has a huge catalog of local photos that you can search by keyword. I searched the name of my neighborhood one day....and spent hours (and hours) online looking at old photos of houses, trollycars, parks, etc. I wonder if most cities have an archive like that. I found a photo of a house by me and was tempted to print it out and put it in the mailbox of the house, but didn't want them to think they had some odd stalker.

elise said...

Great photos. It's so exciting when you get a peek into your house's history like that. I can totally identify with the comment about the larger side yard. I drool over old photos of our house which show a beautiful rose garden instead of the hideous split level that currently lives there. Anyway, they do provide a lot of inspiration. Congrats on getting a hold of them!

Jocelyn said...

We need to go to the Chicago Historical Society and look through the archives- they have original architectural drawings and sometimes even photos of homes as well as info on who originally lived in them. We just haven't gotten there yet.

That is great you've got some "forensic files" to work on. Yes, we watch that show too much.

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