I have occasionally mentioned that I have been “looting” an old house in Iowa of its treasures. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so they say. It seemed prudent to pay homage to the old place seeing as how it has given its life for my home. The house is situated on a paved highway with a scenic view of the Iowa countryside.
It originally belonged to my 2nd cousin 3 times removed (whatever that really means), Dick (his name was really Dietrich Friederich, hist parents having come from Germany). He served in the latter part of World War I. His uniform was still in the old steamer trunk upstairs but, unfortunately, both had been ravaged by mice to the point of ruin. I’m told that the house originally was a parsonage but was moved to its current location some time early the last century. The last person to live in the house, was Dick’s youngest son, who died about ten years ago. I had asked about the fate of the contents of the house many years back, but didn’t get far with it. It was only this spring that I ran into Dick’s grandson’s wife and she gave me the green light to take anything and everything that I wanted.
One interesting tidbit worth mentioning is that there was no bathroom in the house. Even up until fifteen years ago when the son moved out to the nursing home, the privy was in use. I didn’t think that anyone lived that way any more!
By some miracle of fate, the interior of the house was surprisingly intact after standing vacant for over fifteen years. A very small amount of trim, a couple of doors, and the upstairs banister were missing. Other than that, it was all there. I even found the original paneled French doors in one of the upstairs closets! My wife’s garage is now full of trim, doors, wainscot, and various other pieces of millwork salvaged from the house. There are also a large number of backplates and ceramic knobs from the doors that were all saved.
The house really was quite beautiful in its day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match the style of my existing home, so I suspect that most of it will end up being sold. I simply couldn’t bear to allow all that trim to be burned with the house this winter, which is the current plan for the final fate of the place. Luckily, I will be using the base trim in my foyer remodel.
At any rate, peruse the photos and wish the old girl well as she stands her final days on this earth…