Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Glorious Old House

This marvelous edifice is, as the real estate agent would say, centrally located.  The house is one and one half blocks from the post office and the movie theater, two blocks from the courthouse, and two and one half blocks to the bank.  It is a tad over one block to the grocery store.  Ideal.

Some quarter century ago, this house was owned by an individual who was undertaking to restore it to its original glory.  It was the second such house in the neighborhood that she had undertaken to renovate.  My phone rang one evening.  "Mr. L," the voice said, this is Donna.  As you know, I own a property downtown that I am restoring."  True enough.  I knew this.  "David," she said, I would really like for you to have that house, and I would sell it to you at a very reasonable and fair price."  And what, I wondered, might that be?

"Truthfully," she told me, "I have invested"... and here she inserted a very large dollar amount... "into that house and I am not done yet.  But I know that you could finish it off and you would enjoy it so much."

And I knew that there was no way I could undertake the project.  I couldn't even pay her what she had into it.  I told her so.  She could not understand "no" and persisted in trying to persuade me to change my response.  Which I did not do.

At a later date, she sold the house to my physician who basically closed off the upper floors and moved her offices into the main floor of the house.  Here she practiced medicine for several years, and thus I had the pleasure of visiting the house on occasion.

Last summer the doctor moved her offices to a medical center near the hospital and put the old house on the market.  I never so much as enquired of the asking price.

I believe it recently sold.  I hope someone gets the pleasure and enjoyment from it that Donna thought I might get, all those years ago.

Although "Donna" passed several years ago, I have given her an alias for this story.
A particularly peculiar feature of this tale is that I scarcely knew the woman.  I knew
who she was, of course, everyone did.  I may have met her once at some function, I
don't really recall.


Lin said...

Aw. I guess it was flattering that she reached out to you to take over her "baby," but I'm sure that was difficult to say no. I hope someone loves that old beauty back to her glory. I'm sure it is expensive to maintain.

I don't know if you got my email---but I LOVE my needle-threaders! Not kidding--I'm using them ALL the time. Why didn't I go get some years ago????! Thank you so much for thinking of my and my old eyeballs.

Grace said...

That's a fabulous front porch. I have always wanted a front porch, sadly I will never have one.

vanilla said...

Lin, it was flattering that she thought of me, but lacking the "wherewithal," it was not a difficult decision on my part. I do not know why I didn't receive the email, but I am gratified to know that you find the little gadgets useful!

Grace, we like front porches, too. BBBH wants me to have one built onto this house. I insist that it would be an architectural disaster. She doesn't care. :-)

Vee said...

I've always wondered if people spend almost as much remodeling a house like this one as they might spend building it new. However, it would take a "pretty penny" to build a treasure like this one.

vanilla said...

Vee, certainly in this case, one could have built a very nice house for what Donna told me she had into this restoration, and she wasn't finished. But one could not replicate this place for the price of a decent restoration.

Sharkbytes said...

Beautiful house. You'd need to own a railroad to maintain it. I wonder who built it. (a rail baron?) Our big houses here were built by lumber barons. I just think real estate people are pushy, but I'm glad you got to see inside.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I don't know any particulars about construction other than the date of build, which was 1920. For several years I lived in an old house about four blocks from this one, built 1904. I have the abstract which runs to a hundred pages. Fascinating history, sales, loans, foreclosures, divorces, heirs suing each other; fun reading back to the 1850s.