Friday, September 29, 2006

Random House History: Repairs

I've posted before about the treasure trove of information we received along with our house. (All we had to do to access it was sort through 75 years worth of accumulation.) I ran across one of those great pieces last night, it's a 3 inch by 6 inch memorandum book that Bess would jot down what she paid for house repairs, and materials along with other tidbits, such as how much fabric it would take to make curtains for 3 kitchen windows and the back door "9 yd a yd wide for two 1 1/4 in hems."

For as organized as Bess was, a big head scratcher is why isn't this thing chronological? It skips around from page to page. I think the earliest dated entry (there are lots without dates) is
April 19, 1932
Pool lot 60.00

I know this refers to the pool that Bess and Helen built in the back yard, but was that the cost of everything? That seems high... They also didn't start digging it until 1933, I thought they had the ground already, maybe they expanded the back yard?

Another favorite is this page:

From the top left it reads:

Mr. Switzer painted
kitchen + cupboards
Aug, 1947 19 hours
labor + material 115.00

Rufus Wagner's "Joe"
removed dining nook seat
"gooed" the roof- new screen
in H's window- repaired
library window 26.59

Singer Sewing Machine 50.00
" " table 23.92

June 16- 1939
China Closet 23.95

The right hand page from the top:

Bought GE Refrigerator
Aug 1, 1939- 128.00
+ (160 deduct for old one)

May 19, 1948 (W.A. Gay)
86# hind quarter beef 49.07

April 27, 1948
Heavy wire to house (220) Nate Moore 55.08

March 31, 1948
Wagner Connell Co.
shower, electric water heater 40 gal
stool- 327.25

So I know 1947-48 was a big update year (20 years after the house was built) they took out the half wall and one seat in the kitchen nook, repainted the kitchen, upgraded the electric service, and converted the basement room (kindling room in the blueprints) into a bathroom.

Here's what the nook looked like originally:

and what it looked like when we bought the place:

As much as I like the look of the original I do appreciate the extra room you get when walking in the back door.

Lisa suggested that as a preservationist I tell Pete that I will pay him historical wages!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Who has time to work on the house?

Apparently not me during September. I have managed to paint some cupboard doors and get the baseboard in the girls’ rooms finished, but too many other things happen around here in September. Including:

Iowa Hawkeye Football

We are a block from Kinnick Stadium so every home game is like Mardi Gras. The stadium went up the year after Foxcroft was built and I have a lot of old photos of the place, including this one shot from our front porch in 1934:

Kinnick just finished a 2 year 89 million dollar renovation and before the first home game they dedicated a statue of Nile Kinnick (University of Iowa Heisman trophy winner in 1939) the day before the first home game. Let me give you some background on Kinnick: He was the grandson of an Iowa governor, the UI senior class president, Phi Beta Kappa, and chose to go to law school after graduating in 1940 rather than play pro ball. He dropped out of law school to join the navy as a pilot in WWII. He was killed when he ditched his plane in the Atlantic after developing an oil leak on a training flight rather than risk the carrier crew with a landing on deck. In his acceptance speech for Heisman he stated he was glad to be battling on the gridirons of the midwest rather than the battlefields of Europe. He was the epitome of "scholar athlete." Bess, who built Foxcroft, watched Kinnick play in that 1939 season, and wrote in her daily diary after Iowa upset #1 Notre Dame: "Iowa 7 Notre Dame 6. I still feel faint!"

I took the girls to the dedication and got some good photos:

The Hawkeyes beat Montana 41-7, then went on the road to beat Syracuse 20-13 in double overtime. Then they were back at home for the annual battle with the Iowa State Cyclones. Rowan went to the game with me:

Both school’s bands played at halftime

And of course the students mobbed the field after the game

The rest of you can see the excitement of Kinnick Stadium this coming Saturday when ESPN Gameday will broadcast all day from inside the stadium, and at 7:00 PM CDT the #13 Hawkeyes will play #1 Ohio State in a nationally televised game on ABC.

This will be a huge event, and I admit I am dreading it a bit. Two weeks ago for the Iowa State game, tailgaters (people who party where they park their cars) started next door at 6:00 AM. That game kicked off at 11:00 AM (a frequent starting time here) Many people in our neighborhood rent parking spots in their yards at $20 a game, so we get lots of partiers. Most are not a problem, however we had a girl from the neighbor’s tailgaters passed out in our driveway at 9:30 AM. With a kickoff 8 hours later than usual I’m afraid that many folks will start partying at their regular time and be unconscious by 4:00 PM. Lisa and I plan to have the girls stay at grandma’s out of town. Otherwise the crowd noise (70,000+) will last until at least 10:30 PM and they won’t get to sleep. Then imagine those folks all walking through our neighborhood in the dark, and driving home. They will either be deliriously happy for upsetting the #1 team in the country or really angry for losing to the #1 team in the country. Either choice is likely to be loud and perilous. Wow "delirious" and "perilous" in the same paragraph, and I'm not on a ladder!

Besides all the football last weekend was the 36th Annual Iowa Friends of Old Time Music’s Fiddler’s Picnic. I am proud say I’ve have been at 23 of the last 24. Here is a picture of Rowan playing on stage with other violin students. The guy playing backup banjo in the back with the funny hat on is me.

So maybe, I’ll start getting home projects done again soon. Right…