Friday, November 13, 2009

Hidden Feature

You'd think that after living here a couple of years that there wouldn't be anything about the house that would have escaped my notice. Especially something that I had taken several pictures of and had looked straight at many times. But there is a difference between 'looking' and 'seeing'.

Here's what happened. I was walking around the east side of the house and glanced up at the small window of the closet above the dining room. Of course, I had looked at it before, but this time I noticed a detail that somehow eluded until this moment. I saw that it had a screen. Not just any screen. The original screen. Then a thought hit me: if the original screen is still in place, then the window would probably not be painted shut and would still open. So I headed upstairs to find out.

We moved the clothing rack that sets in front of the window (the reason why we've never paid much attention to it) and discovered that not only did it open, but the window is an exact match to the hopper windows in the dormers. Those are all painted shut, so we'd never had an opportunity to see how they worked. Now, not only can we see one in action, but we can tell how a screen (and presumably a storm window) would have been attached. Some day we would like to replace the unsightly storm windows that are currently on the windows with something more authentic. Having the screen will make that a great deal easier.

Here is a picture of the window and screen from outside.
From inside the closet. You can see why it is called a hopper window.
The simple but effective way the screen is held in place.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Clintonville: The Book

One of the purposes of this blog is to celebrate Clintonville, the neighborhood in which our house is part. It's a great place to live and feels like a small town even though it's part of and surrounded by the city of Columbus. The history of the neighborhood begins as far back as 1800 when the federal government divided the land up to Revolutionary War veterans in hopes of encouraging settlement. It took another century for the northern boundary of Columbus to overtake the farmland that then occupied the area. At that point Clintonville began to grow in earnest and now boasts a population close to 30,000. And because it began to take shape in the early years of the 20th century, the style of architecture of the houses is predominately Arts and Crafts.

Last month Arcadia Publishing released Clintonville and Beechwold as part of their popular Images of America series. Books in this series offer a collection of vintage photographs of a given area and are great fun to read. The Clintonville book (Beechwold is a neighborhood in the northern part of Clintonville) was written by Shirley Hyatt, a longtime resident who has compiled over 200 photographs for this book. She put a call out to local residents for any photos they had of the neighborhood and managed to collect so many that she has created a website for the ones that did not make it into the book.

I've had a lot of fun flipping through the book, getting a sense of the history of Clintonville and truly understanding why people enjoy living here. I even found a picture that seems to have been taken in the same area of one of the photos I had posted in an earlier entry. While it solved one mystery it created many more questions. Just what a good book should do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Catching Up

Since I haven't written an entry in ages, I thought I would try to do so in one go. Hopefully this won't end up being too long.

Even though we did not plant a great many vegetables this year, we did get a good harvest from what we did grow. And for some reason, the bounty of the harvest were all given away to others since we actually grew stuff we did not intend on using ourselves. One plant we had great success with was okra. My wife was mainly interesting in growing them for their flowers, but fortunately we knew someone who eats okra and was quite happy to take it off of our hands. Here is a picture of one of the flowers.

Another large crop this year was hops. Not very spectacular, but the vines had a good number of flowers. Although we don't brew our own beer, we do know someone who does and they were very happy to receive a good-sized bag of hop flowers. Here's what one looks like on the vine.

While the beginning of September gave us an abundant harvest, the middle of the month showed that nature can take away as well as it gives. As most of you are probably aware, the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through Ohio, downing countless trees and knocking out power all over the state. Here in Columbus we had constant 40 mph winds with gusts up to 75 mph. We spent much of that day running out into the street removing debris that fell from our maple tree. Fortunately the tree survived, but the neighborhood was littered with others that were not so lucky. We were without power for a few days and our street was closed for nearly a week. Here's a picture of just some of the branches we removed from the street.

Another small disaster hit the neighborhood a few weeks ago when a condominium building that was under construction about a block or so away from our house caught fire. The fire began around 4:30 am, so we were awaken by the sirens. Trust me when I say that there are better ways of waking up in the morning than looking out your bedroom window and seeing it raining glowing embers. Fortunately, even though the wind was blowing directly toward the house, it was so cold outside that the embers were not much of a threat. As you can see, the building was pretty much a total loss.

That's the last few months in a nutshell. I'll be putting up another entry in the next few days to write about a new book about Clintonville.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And Now... The Back of the House

I thought I would use this post to give some feedback on a couple of comments that were left on the blog this week. The first, from Charley, is a request for a picture of the back of the house since such views are rare. As you can see from the picture below, it isn't exactly the houses best side. And I should note a couple of deviations/alterations from the original design. First, the two windows in the dormer should be closer together, but are a few feet farther apart in order to accommodate the rear chimney. In the original design, the chimney would be in the back bedroom closet. As for alterations, there was a window just to the right of the back door, but it was removed during a recent kitchen remodel. Although it would be nice to have all of the windows intact, this particular one was taking up valuable real estate in a very small kitchen, so I'm not complaining too much.

The second comment comes from fellow Dr Who fan and Marsden owner The Master, and she writes:
I also own a Marsden! Mine is in very bad shape, it was almost condemned before I bought it. Most of it's beautiful woodwork/bookcases/windows/hardware has been removed or updated to a more modern look. What were they thinking! I have just started plans to restore it, but was lost until I found your blog. You made me realize this house still has hope and she could be returned back to her original, unique, self.

I would love to hear from you, share some pictures, and maybe even do some brainstorming for ideas.

Great to hear from another Marsden owner. Sorry to hear that it has been the victim of a horrible remuddle, but it sounds like you're willing to do what it takes to bring it back to its former glory. Although I haven't posted pictures of every part of the house, there should be enough in what is posted to give you an idea of what your house was like when it was built. As fitting an Arts and Crafts house, everything is very simple, with very little detail, so restoring things like window and door frames or baseboards should be relatively easy compared to restoring similar parts of a Victorian. Other details such as doors or built-ins would vary from house to house, so just try to stay within the right time period and style and you should be fine. If you have any other questions, just post a comment. And good luck!

And if anyone else wants to see a particular part of the house or any other requests, just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Monday, March 31, 2008

More Treasures from the Box

Now that I've come out of hibernation after a nasty winter, I decided to go through some more of the pictures that the original owners of the house left behind. I had actually been putting it off for a while due to the frustration of not knowing much about the people in the photos. Sure, I could take some educated guesses as to some of their identities, but most eluded me. Dating the photos was problematic as well. If I knew more about turn-of-the-20th-century clothing, it might be easier. Fortunately one single picture became the piece of the puzzle I had been looking for.

I had a hunch that in this group of women workers outside the Columbus Pharmacal Co. was Estella Ankrom, daughter of the house's original owner (and eventual owner herself), but the picture is too small (2x3) to see much detail. Until, of course, I scanned it. It was an epiphany. There was someone I recognized from several other pictures. There was Estella (third from the right, bottom row).
So now that I've found Estella, I thought I would share some more photos of her.

I have no clue who the 2 young gentlemen are, but Estella seems pretty pleased with herself.
Another photo from the same day. Presumably the 2nd young man took this photo and the other young lady the previous one.Here she is posing next to a sundial on the Oval at The Ohio State University. This is probably before the Ankroms bought the house.
Estella hanging out by the pool with friends. Its possible that this is the pool at Olentangy Park, for many years one of the largest pools in the United States.There's not enough information in the picture to tell where it was taken, but it could be the park again. The location of this picture is a bit easier to identify since its the front of the house. I would guess that the picture dates from the late 20s or early 30s. It's the only picture I have of the four members of the family together.An interesting bit of trivia: my wife and I first viewed the house on March 15th last year. That was 20 years to the day that Estella's obituary ran in the local paper. And we took possession of the house only 2 days before her 119th birthday.