Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

A Bit of History

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Is it just me or does it seem that Labor Day always entails alot of work?  One of these days, I swear I'm going to do NOTHING on Labor Day...no schedules, no festivals, no plans, and absolutely no honey-do lists.  I couldn't wait to get back to my job today so I could get some rest from the weekend.

As you know, J. and I are working our fingers to the bone right now on the old house across the street from us.  But today I want to share a bit of history of our own painted lady that we were able to find in the water company archives.  It's the original water permit from when the house was finished in 1899!

If you look closely, there are some really interesting artifacts on here.  It's permit 1414, which means our house was one of the early houses in Kansas City to have indoor plumbing. But I find the lower left-hand corner to be really interesting.  Cows, horses and vehicles?  Did they really base the water rate on how many of these the person owned?
Information is sparse, but it makes sense that they didn't have water meters in 1899.  And it probably follows that someone with livestock would probably water their animals with city water if necessary.  I'm not surprised that none are listed on this permit, because our part of town was fairly well-to-do with many houses being built by the up-and-comers that were benefiting from the housing and construction boom during the 1890's.  So far, we've been unable to track down the mysterious "J. Smith" that is listed as the permit owner.
I find it incredibly cool that the water company would still have this piece of history and be willing to give us a copy.  They have these dating back into the 1880's if you're interested in locating the one for your old house.  Additionally, all structures standing in 1941 were photographed and are housed in the archives.  Those are available also for a small fee (to pay for the copy). 

When we bought our house in 1998, it looked very much the same as it does here except it was in serious need of a rehab both inside and outside.  That double-decker sleeping porch wasn't original to the house, so we shored it up to keep it from falling off and waited until we had saved up enough to tear everything off and start over.  There were motorcycles parked on the hardwood floors and parts being washed in the clawfoot bathtub, plastic deer targets in the staircases, and a kitchen sink being held up by 2"x4"s.  The real estate agent was griping about people who kept stealing his for-sale sign.  But somehow a couple of young 20-somethings saw the potential and, after 13 years of blood, sweat and tears, we have a pretty darn cool house that's just 6 minutes from work for both J. and I. 

And that's how we became "urban pioneers".
Tomorrow, I'm going to take you across the street and introduce you to THE PROJECT.  You won't believe the before and afters.
There's a new blog hop that I'm sharing this with:  go check out the inaugural Down Home hop over at Tilly's Nest!


  1. What a fascinating post! You are quite the detective :) Now, I wish my house was older! I can't wait to hear about the house across the street. Thank you so much for linking up to our blog hop. ~Melissa

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Be careful what you wish for....with my garden pretty much done and all our time devoted across the street, you may get really tired of seeing pictures of old houses.

  2. Oh my gosh you know I love history. This is the best thing ever... I can find out what my great grandfather's house looked like in 1941!

    1. Me too, Mary Ann. I love looking through old pictures and maps of KC. When they built our house, the roads were all made of dirt, and then finally they were bricked over.

      I wish I could remember the exact name of the department that has those old pictures. Start with the water department and, if they don't know, call city hall. It might be the Records department? We did this so long ago that I just can't remember for sure.


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