Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Pieces to the Puzzle

Big, big excitement here at StuccoHouse this morning.  I had just taken a shower and dried my hair and was walking through the dining room when I spotted a group of ladies out on the sidewalk in front of my house taking photos.   I watched them for a little while to see if it was my house they were trying to get in the background. It was.

So, I stepped outside to meet them (and explain that the crappy looking trim was really in the process of being stripped and repainted)....hoping against hope that it was a previous owner.  It was!

The older woman was the owner and she was there with two daughters who also lived in the house. They were the owners of StuccoHouse in the mid 1940's. There was another older woman that was with them that had lived in a house across the street at the same time.

First of all, before I forget. The front steps had little concrete benches on either side of the entryway. This has been a burning mystery since day one.  I had suspected there were benches of some sort there based on the odd markings in the stucco. Hmm...wouldn't it be fun to add wood benches back in? (ah, but I digress).

They also told me details about the ice delivery man (and the ice box that was once in my kitchen).  They considered themselves lucky to have the ice delivered right into the icebox from the outside. One of the women asked me if the bathroom still have hex tiles (she remembered cleaning them many Saturdays). I asked about the kitchen corner where I had the cabinet built (there were shadows on the wall of a previous cabinet), but no one remembered exactly what was there.

Hollyhocks and apple trees were in the back yard and the current hedge is at least similar to the original, if not the same one.  Under my front window was a hedge of bride's wreathes (oddly enough, last week I was talking to my mom about putting some in my back yard). There was a plum tree on the side of the first flight of steps up to my house (the former site of the ceder tree, for long time blog readers - and where I have been trying to think of a small replacement tree). There were two huge oak trees in the front yard.

They told me of a rag man that ran his cart down the back alleyway shouting out for old rags to be collected.  They told me about the coal, milk, and ice delivery men (one of them had a horse drown cart) that made stops at the house.  During winters, their father iced the back yard for them to skate.  The younger sister told me that when she went downstairs someone had to stand at the top and talk to her while she was down there. They remember the lit with a match vintage stove that was in the kitchen (well into the 1990s).

I was so surprised by their visit.  I gave them my contact information and they promised to send me any pictures, etc. that they were able to find. I told them that the next time they were in town that I would love to have them over for a visit of the inside of the house. How on earth did I not think to take a photo of them until they were driving off??!! I have my fingers (and toes) crossed that they will contact me.

Of course, after they left I thought of many more questions I wish I could have asked - was there a cistern in the basement? How did the laundry chute in the linen closet work? What did the little window in the wall look like upstairs?  Did the little closet in the basement below the stairs hold coal?  How was the coal delivered to the basement? And......

8 comments:

Barbara said...

Of course, you will remember questions after people leave -- it's Murphy's Law! You're really lucky, though, that you have found previous owners (or they found you). I'm reduced to trying to find old blueprints at city hall in hopes of discovering what the layout of my house was originally. . .

MrBrownThumb said...

Oh, that's neat! I wonder how sad the people who live in my current house would be if they could see it today.

Hope they contact you and you're able to get answers to your questions.

Karen Anne said...

Gosh, I know you know you should have gotten their phone number. How did you let them escape without that?

iced the back yard for them to skate - My Dad used to do this. Do people do this any more? Also I remember having ice delivered for the icebox.

Leah said...

that's so cool!

NV said...

Wow, too cool! We had a similar visit a few years after we bought This D*mn House. A lady knocked on the door and asked the mother if she could bring her parents by for a visit as they BUILT the house and the two girls spent their early years there.

I hope they will contact you again. Keep a running list of those questions.

AJ said...

That is so cool! I wish I knew all the answers about my house, or atleast had somebody to ask.

Cas from Angie's List said...

Oh! That's such a wonderful story! I hope you get all your questions answered.

Your renovations look excellent, by the way.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Oh, how wonderful that you got to meet the former owners! And I'm sure they were thrilled to meet you and to realize that someone who cared about the house is living there now. I hope they stay in touch and send you some old photos!

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