Saturday, February 5, 2011

Before the Befores

As promised, this post will be full of older pictures of the house.  We've collected these from several sources - all various previous owners or renters of the EH.  The picture in yesterday's post is the oldest of the bunch.  (I'm still dreaming of finding a picture of the original front porch.)

Continuing with more exterior pictures of the house, here is an aerial photo taken in the mid 1990's:

We'd been told that the house used to be surrounded by trees, but seeing this picture still made me catch my breath.  The only tree in the above photo that was still standing by the time we bought the property is the solitary walnut alongside the drive at the bottom of the picture.  I do wish some of the trees around the house were still here.

Next up is the old bank barn:

I'm told the original barn sat basically where our pole barn now stands.  Although this picture only shows the front of the barn, there was a long "ell" off the back of the barn that extended down nearly to the creek.  Looking out the window as I type this, it's hard to believe the view of the pasture used to be so different.  The old barn was torn down in 1996/97, in preparation for putting the property on the market.  By all accounts the barn was in poor condition when it was torn down.  (It was also, by all accounts, full of large old growth timber.)

Up next, the south side of the house, mid 1990's:

This is one of my favorite old pictures of the house. I've got a list of "someday" projects for the EH, and high on that list is bringing back that little side porch.

At left is a close up of the porch from the picture above. I love the pilaster at the top of the right handrail (which also gives me clues as to recreating the original front porch, another "someday" project). I'm also pleased that this picture shows the interior walls of the porch were covered in clapboard siding. The large pipe that is visible was the vent for the bathroom. If we ever do reopen the side porch we will almost certainly move the bathroom's location at the same time, meaning we could forego this one detail.

The pictures below show the same area, circa 1996 at left, and today at right:

The door and window in the 1996 picture went out to the porch pictured above.  The current door goes to the bathroom.  I wish the 1996 picture was brighter so that I could make out more details on the door. (Looks like we need a larger area rug!)

Our 1996 photographer did a 180 degree turn after taking the above picture to snap these two pictures of the kitchen:

(I hope you'll forgive me, P, if you ever see this blog post, but it was one of the best pictures of the old kitchen.) 

These earlier kitchen pictures intrigue me. What I see in these pictures (especially the horizontal board 2/3 up the wall) seems to reinforce my belief that the kitchen addition dates from the 1880s or earlier.

At right is a current photo taken at the same angle as the right picture above.  The ivory light-switch and plate in the current photo are black in the earlier photo, if that helps you orient the two pictures.  The left picture above shows the wall that used to divide the kitchen wing into two rooms.  (Note the flue cover, and compare it to the location of the chimney in the picture below.) 

The last picture I have to share today shows the back of the house, again circa 1996.  See the little cupola over the kitchen roof?  No one I've talked to can ever remember it having a bell, but it seems obvious to me that it was intended to house a bell.  The cupola blew off during a storm sometime after 1997.  Replacing it is another item on the "someday" list. 

And with that, I'll end this post.  I've got a cake cooling in the kitchen and a seven-year-old boy who is quite anxious to frost it.  : )


  1. Any idea why the trees were taken down? The mid-1990s weren't that long ago.

    I have to admit, they looked a bit crowdy and looming, all those trees bunched around the house in the aerial photo. But that could just be the perspective.

    Looking at the picture you took from the lane, the EH presents very well without the trees in front. But some strategically-placed ones to either side and behind it would be nice. That's your opportunity now.

  2. I know that the large pines in front of the house were taken down because they were in poor health, but I am not sure why the rest of the trees were taken down.

    We have planted one tree already and I would like to plant more, but it will take years for any tree that we plant to hold a candle to the full grown ones that used to be here. We've also got a few tree-planting handicaps that were not here in the mid 90s - things like the septic tank/leech bed and buried electric lines.