Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘neighborhood history’ Category

Art Beacon Shines a Light on Whittier School

I was asked by a local art blog to write an article from a neighborhood and rehabber’s perspective about a big art show at the nearby Whittier School.

Read the article here: Art Beacon: “Welcoming a New Community of Artists To My Neighborhood”

And see photos from the show here: Pitter Patter Clunk: “Sensory Overload”

Sent another letter to previous owner

Phew! What a busy couple of weeks it’s been!  I’ll have lots and lots of blog posts coming your way to tell you all about everything (with pictures!)

Today I sent a response to the lady who used to live in my house.  When I wrote to her last month she sent me back a really nice letter promising to look for some pictures for me.  In the meantime, I’m sending her photos of some of the puzzling wallpaper in this house to see if she remembers any of it, and also some photos of the clothing I found that must have belonged to her family. 

 Stay tuned for blog posts about replacing our storm windows, upgrading our furnace and adding A/C, a recap of the March Des Moines Rehabbers Club meeting, and much much more!  That’s all for the news.  Film at eleven.

[tags]neighborhood history, wallpaper[/tags]

I got a letter!

Remember last month when I found those clothes in the wall and looked up the family who lived in my house when those papers and clothes were stuffed in the wall and I wrote a letter to the lady I guessed must have lived in my house at that time?  Well she wrote me back!!!

I was worried she wasn’t the right person or didn’t want to talk about her past or didn’t remember anything since she was so little.  But none of these things turned out to be true!  She was excited to hear from me, remembers lots of details about the house, and is going to share some of her photos with me when she gets back home (she’s spending the winter down south) at the end of April. 

Here are a couple excerpts from her letter:

“It is surprising how much I do recall of the house – I remember where each room was & some of the placement of furniture. Yes, I do recall a built-in buffet or cabinet in the dining room with windows above it on the south side of that room. I also remember the living room and fireplace, the enclosed front porch, kitchen, bath and 2 bedrooms.”

“We had a cherry tree in the backyard & also a goldfish pond, which my Dad filled in because he didn’t want me to fall in and drown.”

Pretty neat, huh? I’ll keep you up to date about what I hear from her.

Oh, and… I haven’t finished the bathroom sink yet. I don’t have an excuse. I don’t have an explanation. I can only tell you that I slept all weekend. I wasn’t sick, just needed to catch up. (shrug)

[tags]neighborhood history, bathroom, correspondence, old photos[/tags]

Found Obituaries!

Another evening in the library, another few bits of information added to what I know about my house and my neighborhood. You can see the document with the obituaries I found on the About Our House and About the Neighborhood pages. I’ll keep updating the documents there as I find more info.

Des Moines Rehabbers Club Meeting, Jan. 5, 2008

This month, Jennifer James (co-owner with her husband, Larry, of the supremely cool Mars Cafe) presented a lesson on resources for learning the history of your house and neighborhood. She got me so fired up to get started that I went to the library today!

Some of you may know that I am an aspiring librarian. I plan to go back to school and get my Masters degree in Library Science sometime in the next two years. So researching the history of my house and the neighborhood is a special treat for me because I get to expand my knowledge of the library collections and research materials at the same time I’m learning so much about my house! I spent several hours in the library tonight (after working all day in another library) and compiled some data from the Des Moines City Directories.

I’ve put a link to a PDF of my data on the About Our House page and the About the Neighborhood page. I’m not putting one here because as I get new information for the spreadsheet, I only want to update the link on static pages. But they’re right at the top. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting to them.

Thanks a million to Jennifer for all the fabulous information and inspiration! I know I’ll be in touch for additional wisdom.

For more information about the Des Moines Rehabbers Club, visit RenovateDSM.com.

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