Monday, June 3, 2013

This old house...

 I’ve always known that my house has a bit of a past, but it took a tree falling on it to get my curiosity flowing. Maybe that’s because the incident led to pulling the carpet out of the dining room in a round-about way.

During the April ice storm, a tree fell on the dormer of the house, cracking the ceiling of the dining room below. It then proceeded to tumble to the main roof, dragging facia and soffet along for the ride and popping holes in the roof as it went.

So, not too bad of a list of stuff to fix, right? Fix ceiling, replace facia and reshingle roof. Tada! 

Or not.

It’s hard to roof when it either snows or rains for 6 weeks straight. And then there was the whole navigation of the insurance system, which I find nerve-wrecking. Especially since when they want money from me, I get an envelope with a window in it and have to pony up cash. It doesn’t work the same way when they’re supposed to give you money.

We had to rip down the dining room ceiling to see if the rafters above were cracked. As it turns out, that particular part of the house was insulated with something my husband referred to as vermiculite. It is messy, dusty and basically rains down from above when you pull out the ceiling. Which totally trashed the carpeting.

We headed for a home improvement store, and while my husband looked at boring things like insulation and drywall, I checked out vinyl flooring. My intention was to put a wood pattern in the dining room. I put off making a decision about the flooring, but just because we were busy getting sheet rock and shingles and other weird things.

Then I took a close look at the floor that had been hiding under the carpet. Oh my. They need to be refinished, but the floors in my house are hardwood. As far as I can tell, they are oak. And original.

My house used to be Bondin Township Schoolhouse No. 43 in Murray County. The school was moved to its current site in Avoca in 1955. I did a bit of quick research, and according to paperwork I found in the Murray County Historical Society Museum, the township made the decision to build the schoolhouse in March of 1880. Assuming it was built within a reasonably short time after that decision was made, this means my house is roughly 133 years old.

The floors will not be perfect when they are refinished. There will be a few spots where boards were replaced over the years. To me, that just makes them more interesting.

I’ve always known the house used to be a school and knew roughly where it was located. We’ve lived there for almost 18 years, and I don’t know why it has never occurred to me to look more into its history. But if it took a cantankerous tree during a terrible storm to make me look into it, then I have to appreciate that crazy storm.

Now all my husband and I need to do is learn how to refinish a hardwood floor. After building new walls, putting up ceilings, roofing and doing all the other crazy things we’ve done to the place since we moved in, how hard can it be? 

Well, maybe I'm not ready for the honest answer to that just yet. But I'm sure it will be fine.

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