1902 Victorian

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

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Birth of a Bathroom

The first house in Eutaw built with a bathroom in the plans was Magnolia on Main across the street, built in 1904. I imagine our home's owner Mary Julia Dunlap gazing across the street at her neighbor's house as it went up and thinking, "A bathroom inside? Darnit, why didn't I think of that?"

Worse still would be the fact that only two years before, MJ had left the comfort of the magnificent two-story Victorian she'd shared with her late banker husband for this - the little 5-room, center-hall Folkster her new farmer hubby could afford. It just wasn't fair, I tell you! That first house had more bedrooms than her new house had rooms!

Then would start the quiet hints to her husband, Clay. "Did you hear they're getting a bathroom across the street? Right next to the bedroom upstairs! Can you imagine?"

And Clay, who is always the villain in my story because of the disappearing/reappearing-in-another-county act he pulls circa 1930, would say, "Hmph" and mutter something about "newfangled" and "putting on airs."

But eventually our MJ got her way, as we womenfolk tend to do. How else could Farmer Clay compete with the memory of Banker James?

The question is when. Knowing what I know of small towns, women, the South and Eutaw in particular, MJ couldn't have stood it for long.

So I think the porch-to-bathroom conversion came very early in our house's life. Later, three more rooms and a new porch were added, along with a considerable extension of the center hall, all by 1925.

The bathroom naturally went through several changes in the 65 years it belonged to MJ, many of which we haven't puzzled out yet.

Central to the puzzle is the window. When was it installed? The window has weights. When did windows with weights stop being installed? The most recent bathroom reno happened in the late '60s or early '70s. Did they find a salvaged window and replace the taller one? Or was this window already altered before the Parkins came along?

Then, maybe I shouldn't worry so much. I think MJ wouldn't. She'd peep through the curtains at her neighbor's house, and say, "Darnit, why didn't I think of that?"

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5 Comments:

Patricia W said...

Kristen, They were still using sash weights in windows in the 40's and 50's. My aunt's house was built in the early 50's and it had sash weights.

Aren't these old houses a mystery? I know that in my house it didn't originally have a downstairs bathroom so something was converted (probably a pantry) and there is a strange closet between the same bathroom and a room that the PO's used as a bedroom. It is so hard to figure out sometimes what it was like in the very beginning. I think your bathroom demo is looking good. :)

5:08 PM  
John said...

Dang, Patricia beat me to it.

The house we demolished for salvage material was built in the 1940's and it had double hung windows with sash weights.

8:02 AM  
Kristin said...

'40s and '50s ... hmmm. This could mean MJ changed the window around then, or it could mean the Parkins found a not-so-old 1950s window to replace the one they took out. FYI, the window doesn't have wavy glass like most of the windows in the house.

9:18 AM  
Kristin said...

Oh, and the Parkins did the drywall, so unless they were the ones who changed the window, that ugly patchwork of beadboard used to fill in the extra space would've been exposed for the world to see. I think they changed the window.

9:19 AM  
halloweenlover said...

You're so cute. I love the story.

5:23 PM  

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