Saturday, August 31, 2013
I wrote last Friday about the house fire down the street from us. When it burned, the house was painted a medium blue that was faded and peeling.
Here's what she looks like today:
The asbestos abatement folks came and stripped her of her last shred of decency yesterday: those old "cement" shingles that we see so often on these old houses were made with asbestos and have to come off before the final demolition. The original wood siding is actually in decent shape, which makes you wonder why someone would cover it up. But, you see, lazy people that don't want to work on their house existed in the early 1900's as well. Rather than spend their summer scraping and painting, they covered it up with cement siding (the "vinyl siding of their day").
The house had been abandoned for a number of years and we had actually been trying to get it torn down to improve the neighborhood. The taxes hadn't been paid for years and the city eventually took possession. They had just listed it for sale for a whopping $19,472!! Who on Earth would pay that for a house with no services and questionable structure is beyond me.
I always feel melancholy when I look at pictures of old houses in this sad state. The house could have been saved at some point if multiple someones had just made good decisions. Unfortunately, for this one, it's too late. We'll watch a steady stream of contractors perform their jobs over the next couple of weeks, like ants carrying away their picnic prize. And then the final day will come where there will be nothing left but a straw-covered lot.
But some good will come of this. The neighbors are repurposing what they can: bricks for patios, salvagable wood for decks or other projects. There are plans afoot for a community orchard or garden on the lot and the vacant one that sits next to it. As with everything in nature, all is replenished and new comes from old.
Posted by CrankyPuppy at 9:14 AM