This was taken the year before I was born. I believe it's my aunt seated to the right and my sister on the stoop.
The old Federal Revival farmhouse was apparently begun after the first autumn frost of 1865 (no borers under the bark on the pine framing) and finished sometime in 1866, or so the story goes. A crumpled piece of newspaper placed in the wall between the lower left front window and the corner of the house (to allow plastering over a broken lathe) contained an interview with a certain Mr. Grant. He stated that his son was considering running for president in the next general election. I guess that dates it before 1868, at least. Since the story went that the farm was once covered with huge pine trees, the lumber for the house was probably sawn from logs cut there on the farm. There was a water-powered sawmill along Waddington Creek in the valley below, so the lumber was probably sawn there.
The two windows on the lower left of the front of the house were in the former sitting room. We used it as a living/family room. The two windows on the lower right were in my parent’s bedroom. It had been the bedroom of Dad’s folks from about 1915 to 1929. Dad was born there one horribly miserable January day in 1925. My great-grandfather worked all that day keeping the fire going in the three downstairs fireplaces. The mantle on the old fireplace in that room was a little fancier than the others in the house, for it had been built to be the home’s parlor.
The front door opened into the tiniest of foyers, with a door both to the right and left, a flight of stairs on the left leading upstairs (eleven steps, 180 degree right turn, then four more steps) and a hallway on the right passing through to the back porch. The latter was a good arrangement for hot weather, for the front door faced west and caught the prevailing breeze, thus allowing the air to flow out the back door onto the back porch. A window on the stair landing allowed air to travel up there and vent the upstairs to some degree, as well.
The two windows on the upper right were in my sister’s room. It had originally been two little rooms, but Dad had torn out the wall between them and that made her a nice big bedroom. That also gave her a window on the back side of the house meaning that she had cross-ventilation. I used to envy her a bit on that matter until I rushed upstairs one day to put down the windows during a thunderstorm and saw a large blue ball of static electricity travel from a screen in one of the front windows, across her bed and out the screen in the back window. After that, I decided that she was welcome to keep her cross ventilation.
The window in the upstairs center was in the hall and, in warm weather, was usually open so air could travel to the window on the stair landing at the back of the house and vent the upstairs. The two windows on the upper left were in my room, though I can still remember when I slept in the folks’ bedroom. (THAT must have been cozy for them, since I was a light sleeper as a child!) It had a closet on each side of the blocked-off fireplace on the left wall. If you looked upward in the front one, you could see through a crack in the closet ceiling and see daylight through a crack in a piece of siding in the gable. The room was heated with an old gas space heater, but many a time in my youth, I could see my breath in my bedroom. Thank goodness for quits, comforters and army blankets!
One neat thing about my room was that it had a door into the attic of the back ell of the house. If the folks were in bed, and I couldn’t sleep, I could take the flashlight from my nightstand and sneak into the attic to snoop through the old things stored there. If I felt especially daring, I could go down the tiny spiral stairway into the dining room below. The stairs were so steep that they seemed more like a twisted ladder, and the turn was so quick that I’m certain that I spotted the back of my own head in front of me a few times. Once downstairs, I could sneak a snack out of the fridge, or answer nature’s call in the thunder mug in the one-time pantry (by then a bathroom) off the right side of the kitchen. Sometimes though, boredom was no problem and if I opened the attic door, it was just to better hear the rain on the tin roof.
The old house still stands after nearly a century and a half, though I don’t own it anymore. The attic has been removed in a remodel, and the tin roof has been replaced with modern shingles, but the memories still linger on. © 2012-