Monday, December 31, 2007

House and Garden History

I learned a little about my house's history tonight. We attended a New Year's party hosted by the people who lived in our house from 1976-1978. I had met them before, but this was my first opportunity to talk with them at length about the house.

Martha, the hostess, is the person who planted these two dogwoods near the front door. They came from her mother's house in one of Greensboro's older neighborhoods. Martha was sure she had planted one of them too close to the house, but now, thirty years later, it forms a nice canopy over the walkway and the two trees create a perfect spot for my shade garden.
Martha and her husband Charlie were also able to solve the puzzle of this seam to the left of the back door. Obviously some changes were made to the door frame--it turns out that originally there was a pair of windows here. They replaced the windows with a sliding glass door when they lived here...and in 2005, we replaced that door with these French doors.

Martha enjoys wallpapering (she seemed very normal otherwise) and took responsibility for the green 1970s wallpaper in several of the closets. "It has to be mine," she said, "Nobody else wallpapers closets."

She did an excellent job putting it up, as I discovered when I stripped it from two of the closets. I might leave this closet alone. And I prefer the term "Historic Preservation" to "Laziness."


Lisa at Greenbow said...

You have a beautiful home to go along with your garden.

Christine said...

How interesting to meet a person that once lived in your house. I would love to meet the people who did a few things to this house and ask them why on a couple of instances.

Mary said...

Hey, it's only a closet :o)

I have often dreamed of visiting homes I lived in before, just to see if my wallpaper was stripped. Probably was.

Jim said...

A past owner of my home (from the '30s and '40s!) stopped by and shared a story or two. Mostly about living there as a teenager before going off to WWII.

One past owner (from the early '60s) is on the Garden Walk Buffalo planning committee with me. For the first couple years she wouldn't come in the house. She had loved it so much back then, she couldn't bring herself to come inside. Eventually she did and shared pictures with me of the house from back then.

Our house is 111 this year. During the Pan American Exhibition here in 1901, photos were taken of nearly every existing home, block by block. The historical society here has all the photos on file. Alas, they stopped taking photos only six homes away from ours, so no early photos exist.

As it is said, we own nothing but are only stewards while here on the planet - someday there'll be someone living in your house questioning you "improvements!"

Carol said...

I'm the only one who has lived in my house, so I'm making the history here. I've lived in a few other houses and wonder now what they look like inside and if the new owners have any questions for me about what I did!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Carolyn gail said...

Your house looks too new to have a lot of history. If you lived in one like mine, which is over a century old, you'll find a lot of interesting stuff.

While rehabbing we found a hidden staircase behind the kitchen wall. Turns out it was the maid's entry/exit from the kitchen to the second floor. A banker built our house in 1904 for $5,000, a lot of smackers in those days.

We also discovered a fireplace behind another wall. Wish it had been full of money or jewels, but NO!

At last, but not least, we found a space behind our teeny tiny powder room and when we opened it there was a beautiful window that had been covered up. We added that space to the existing powder room and now it's a decent size.

I'm still looking for a stash in this old house, 'cause I think that Banker might've been putting some away somewhere.

Connie said...

Your home is beautiful! And, hey...I wouldn't mind having some of that funky green wallpaper in my closet. :-)

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Thanks Lisa. We're lucky to have found it.

It is neat to meet former owners, Christine. They can always shed light on questions.

You ought to go knock on some doors, Mary. I'm tempted to do that every time I pass by my childhood home in SC.

Cool stories, I'll bet, Jim. I like the idea of being a steward, rather than an owner--the house will, in all liklihood, outlive me. I'm trying to keep good records for future history buffs.

I'll bet they'd like to ask you some questions, Carol. You and Mary go knock on some doors!

Now you have some history in your house, Carolyn. If you find that stash, you can always buy a carbon offset from me.

Thanks Connie--That's "vintage" wallpaper!

Annie in Austin said...

Sorry I missed this post until now, David - what fun to know some of the history. We've always lived in 'middle-aged' houses... not really vintage like Jim's or Carolyn's or new like Carol's... but old enough to have a few minor mysteries.

I hope 2008 is a good year for you!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose