1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

We're on the Map

Oh boy, oh boy! I finally accessed the Sanborn fire insurance maps and found our little casa! Our house was built in 1902 (duh), so I expected our house to be on the 1903 and 1909 maps of Eutaw. Unfortunately, the early maps cut off directly across the street from our house. How sucky is that?

I found the house on the 1925 and 1943 maps, looking pretty much the same on both. But what I really needed to see was the early versions, so we could figure out when the back part of the house was added. Our house is kind of a jumbled mystery ... all signs indicate the house was originally only 4-5 rooms with a center hall. But we don't know if the kitchen is original, when the third bedroom was built (a 4th bedroom was enclosed in the '70s), when the office was added, or when the laundry room was added.

On the left is the map from 1925, and on the right is the layout of our house and property today (click for larger versions):

Notice how today's house fits almost exactly into the footprint of the 1925 house.

Frankly, I am more confused than ever.

Every week a new mystery pops up. We have found two transom windows in the attic now. They match the window over the master bedroom door. But we're not sure where they went because the wood trim around whichever doors have been altered to look like there was never a transom.

A new mystery has developed from the Sanborn maps. They showed three outbuildings in our back yard. Two no longer exist, but one is the same size and shape - and in the same location - as our workshop. We had assumed this workshop was a 1970s creation because it had fake wood paneling on the walls, plywood on the floors and vinyl siding on the exterior. Oh yeah, and the brick patio on front includes a concrete paver with a '70s date written in it.

But perhaps it was built from parts of an old building, or maybe it is even a dressed-up (yeah) version of the original outbuilding. On the map, the building is marked with a D, which indicates it was a single-family residence, if I'm interpreting the map correctly. Hmmm, a servant's house? Or maybe MJ's son James and his family lived there. In the 1930 census, James and family was living next door to his mom in a rented place.

We need to talk to some more people around town, track down Mrs. Jackson, whose late husband was MJ's grandson, and see if we can get some of these pesky details nailed down. I'm a reporter (sometimes, anyway), so I should be able to find this stuff out. I feel a bit like Nancy Drew ... all I need now is some "titian" hair dye.

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Gary said...

I would have guessed that your workshop was a chicken coop, then I saw the numbers. If your home is # 128 on your street, your workshop was assigned #128 1/2 and your garage/carriage house was assigned a number as well indicating that both were occupied. I suggest you look at the overall layout of the street for answers. The workshop may in fact be part of the original farm and therefore older than your house. Look at the nails that hold the frame together one day when you get really bored. Other things to look for are evidence of a wood stove and whether there were sash windows or windows that opened at all. At least you know all the additions were done before 1925!
Kitchens as we know them today are not the same as in 1902. Often there was a separate wash room and a pantry. Evidence of wood stoves will usually reveal the location of a wash room or a kitchen.If your town library has old street directories, look and see if anyone lived at 128 1/2 or 128 1/3.

7:54 PM  
Kristin said...

I noticed the numbers, too, but wasn't sure what they meant. I looked at the census records I compiled a while back and saw on the 1910 a family of three servants living next door in a rented house. They were professions such as "cook for private family." They were listed under the same number as the family.

As for evidence of a wood stove, I'm not sure. There's a small area of coal fragments right where the "private garage" would have been. I'll have to poke around the workshop some more. Wish I could see under that vinyl siding.

7:59 AM  

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