Sunday, January 30, 2011

About the farmhouse on Pumpkin Ridge

The ad read  HOUSE FOR SALE: TO BE MOVED.  $3,000.  It was just a mile from the country property we had just recently purchased, so we couldn't wait to go see it.  And we fell in love with it. It was an old (circa 1890), dirty, 2-story farmhouse, and was being used to store farm materials.  The walls were pine boards of various widths ranging from 1x12 to 1x16, covered with cheesecloth and numerous layers of wallpaper, but the cheesecloth had loosened, so it had been stapled every 12” or so in both directions to hold it up.  And then the wallpaper had been painted over, as well as all the woodwork, with flat, bright, ugly colors.  The rooms were very large, and it had a parlor and a living room.  There were four bedrooms upstairs, and a “water closet” meaning a room with only a toilet, nothing more.  The outside desperately needed painting.  But it had such character!  I said, ”Yes, I love it, but I couldn’t live in it like it is.  Let’s take about a year and fix it up before we move into it.”  My husband, Mike, also agreed.  So we got a quote to have it moved ($5,500), and purchased the house at our bid price of $2,000.   It took a week for the movers to prepare the house, and a day to move it the mile down the road. But it took another three days and three broken drive lines to get it up to the site where we had put in the foundation.  Even though it was August and the ground was very dry,  the weight of the house exposed two springs.
      We'd no sooner got the house on its new base, than a lady inquired about the place  we currently resided in, offering us a fair price for it.  We couldn't turn down a buyer. So we sold and moved into the farmhouse just like it was.   Money was at a premium, and all we could afford to do was basic, not cosmetic:  plumbing, electric, insulation, etc.  There was so much to do, so our Baptist church family put together a work party and a group of men spent an entire  day helping us.  They replaced windows, put insulation in the walls in some of the downstairs walls, and did various other jobs.  
      It turned out to be a very cold winter, that winter of 1974, and our only heat source was an inefficient fireplace, which we all fought for the front row seat.  Before we moved the house it sat on a basement.  I learned from the previous owner that the basement wasn't original, but was blasted out with dynamite right under the house!!  We couldn't afford the expense of a basement, so we put in a crawl space instead.  It was a decision we often regretted while crawling under the house to thaw out frozen pipes. 

August, 1974
      A friend noted our need for better heat and gave us an old wood stove, and another friend built us one. With a fire going constantly in both of them, the house was toasty warm downstairs.  We hadn't had a chance to put in wood for the winter, so we burned 2x4's from the mill's give-away pile.  The upstairs was a different story  It was not much warmer upstairs than outside, and we had to scrape ice off the inside of the windows.   
            A lady contacted us, said her grandfather, Clyde Meyers, had built our house around 1890.  He had raised his family in the house, and then his son had raised his family in the house.  It was sold to Larry Starr in the 40's who did some minor remodeling, and we purchased it from his son and raised our family in it; four families in 100 years.