1885 farmhouse to be bulldozed

wolfmanjoe3

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Dec 28, 2006
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I recently learned that my cousin is going to bulldoze the house I grew up in. It is a solid brick farmhouse built in 1885, but he needs to make room for a new barn - and the house doesn't earn enough rent compared to what he can make on cattle... Portions of the house were added/remodeled over time so there are at least 4 separate attics. The main house was connected to a summer kitchen many years ago and an enclosed porch was added in 1961.

My hope / plan is to MD the yard and flowerbeds, etc. before the house gets razed. Also plan to search the attics and basement for hidden caches - by then, it won't matter what gets torn apart. Then if I am lucky enough to be there during the sad event, I will keep my eyes open for hidden caches. Who knows what my great grandfather, grandfather, or dad hid in the walls or attics... Then try to sift through the rubble for whatever. And finally, MD the parts that were under the porch and other parts of the house not accessible before the house is removed.

Any other suggestions on my approach?

BTW, getting permission to hunt will not be a problem - unless my cousin remembers something I did to him when we were kids, that I don't remember...

And, there is a 2-holer outhouse ~ 15-20 feet from the house that is likely to be torn down also. It probably hasn't been used in 30 years, so if I have time, that would be another target for hunting.
 

Jeff G

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wolfmanjoe3 said:
I recently learned that my cousin is going to bulldoze the house I grew up in. It is a solid brick farmhouse built in 1885, but he needs to make room for a new barn - and the house doesn't earn enough rent compared to what he can make on cattle... Portions of the house were added/remodeled over time so there are at least 4 separate attics. The main house was connected to a summer kitchen many years ago and an enclosed porch was added in 1961.

My hope / plan is to MD the yard and flowerbeds, etc. before the house gets razed. Also plan to search the attics and basement for hidden caches - by then, it won't matter what gets torn apart. Then if I am lucky enough to be there during the sad event, I will keep my eyes open for hidden caches. Who knows what my great grandfather, grandfather, or dad hid in the walls or attics... Then try to sift through the rubble for whatever. And finally, MD the parts that were under the porch and other parts of the house not accessible before the house is removed.

Any other suggestions on my approach?

BTW, getting permission to hunt will not be a problem - unless my cousin remembers something I did to him when we were kids, that I don't remember...

And, there is a 2-holer outhouse ~ 15-20 feet from the house that is likely to be torn down also. It probably hasn't been used in 30 years, so if I have time, that would be another target for hunting.

On the house--check the stairways for hidey holes. Often they were there. Also on basement stairs,check behind them for loose bricks. I know our old house had a hidey hole there. If there is an old root cellar, you can get huge finds in those. We had permission to hit an old house they were going to burn. We didn't metal detect, but we did find lots of nice stuff, including a clay jug with old apple hard cider in it(still corked and tasty!!) we poured it out after a small taste(for safety).

We were going back for more stuff, but the weather closed in on us. There were thousand of dollars in antiques that were burned. You couldn't drive to the house any longer, the bridge was out. The owners just wanted it gone. I am currently trying to find out who now owns the property. I would love to hit the area with a detector....
 

Gypsy Heart

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Nov 29, 2005
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Sad sad sad :'(

When my grandparents had their house , My grandma hid things behind the flour bin drawer...and in the pantry in a hidey hole.
Also look under any linoleum , and on top of the floor joist beams in the cellar. Make sure you check old cans before throwing them out.
Lots of walls were lined with newspapers,or cardboard signs.... these may not be valuable but are interesting.

I found a silver ring once by pulling the drawers out in the kitchen and looking at the floor underneath. Many a lady has had her rings drop down the drain also...take the trap out and look there.

Under the stairwell is always a good place and if there was any dirt floors inthe cellar...like near a wood or coal chute or cold storage for food.

Good Luck and make sure you take lots of pictures of everything!
 
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wolfmanjoe3

wolfmanjoe3

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Excellent recommendations. We (my siblings and I) plan to search for hidey holes. We reminisce via email about the house. One of my sisters remembers the transoms above the bedroom doors which were covered over when the beautiful 10 foot ceilings were dropped to 8'.

The cellar has 2 rooms - one had a dirt floor and a coal chute, the other was rough concrete or slab stone from what I remember. I also remember an access hole from the cellar to the crawl space under the house. It is too small for an adult to get in, but I remember crawling under the house as a kid. Won't be able to check there until the house is removed.

I really want to check out the attics also. I remember my parents talking about hiding flour and sugar up in one of the attics during WWII when rationing was in effect. Who knows what else was hidden among the ceiling joists?

Definitely will take lots of pics. It will be sad to see the home place demolished. :(

Joe
 

Gypsy Heart

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Some people pay big money for old doors and hardware,transoms,hardwood flooring ,oak doorframes, hand hewned beams,windows and even bricks. Many of the people who are doing rehabs on older homes are having a hard time matching bricks because the original companies have been out of business so long andthey need the weathered ones to match....you guys might want to look into selling some stuff off to renovators......
 

Montana Jim

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gypsyheart said:
Some people pay big money for old doors and hardware,transoms,hardwood flooring ,oak doorframes, hand hewned beams,windows and even bricks. Many of the people who are doing rehabs on older homes are having a hard time matching bricks because the original companies have been out of business so long andthey need the weathered ones to match....you guys might want to look into selling some stuff off to renovators......

YES!!! Gypsy is right... your house is worth more in pieces than whole! I also suggest you look into it.
 
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wolfmanjoe3

wolfmanjoe3

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Montana Jim said:
YES!!! Gypsy is right... your house is worth more in pieces than whole! I also suggest you look into it.

I hear ya. I'd love to pick up the entire house and move it somewhere I could take it apart piece by piece. The brick portion of the house has walls that are a foot thick or more. Tons of brick - both weathered and protected. I haven't been inside for 15+ years so I don't know the interior condition. The house has been occupied by renters for almost 30 years, so I wouldn't be surprised to find it in pretty rough condition, but the structural elements of the house should be sound. I know the rafters and walls were made of hardwood - probably much in good condition.

Will definitely look into salvaging as much as we can...
 
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wolfmanjoe3

wolfmanjoe3

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I located some aerial photos of the house I grew up in. Found out from my sister that our cousin is going to bulldoze the house, woodshed and chicken coop (long building behind the house). He said he will let us know when the renters move out (end of school year). He said we could take anything out of there that we may want as a memento. He is very understanding about us wanting to search the house and take things from our old home before it is gone.

Here are the pics:
Farm 1955.jpg
Farm 1973.jpg

Looking forward to MD'ing the lawn, searching for my ancestor's hidden caches, and salvaging whatever I can from before my 'home' is destroyed.

Thanks for looking.

Joe
 

Tom Walter

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A friend of mine back in Illinois has a back-hoe service. He was contracted to tear down an old house built in the 1860's. He was hard at it when his back-hoe bucket broke open a 1 gallon bottle full of silver coins. Coins went flying everywhere. He gave everything to the land owner.
 

stoney56

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Oct 4, 2004
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Montana Jim said:
gypsyheart said:
Some people pay big money for old doors and hardware,transoms,hardwood flooring ,oak doorframes, hand hewned beams,windows and even bricks. Many of the people who are doing rehabs on older homes are having a hard time matching bricks because the original companies have been out of business so long andthey need the weathered ones to match....you guys might want to look into selling some stuff off to renovators......

YES!!! Gypsy is right... your house is worth more in pieces than whole! I also suggest you look into it.

Very true. The old oak floors and original 2 X 4's--not that new dimensional lumber they use nowdays.

So many places to search and so little time---3 hours with a dozer or 10 months with a hammer and pry bar. ;)
 

cosmic

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One thing you might check.. Try lifting all the stair treads.. My grandparents had one that opened and its where they kept their valuables.. And also check the refrigerators or icebox.. People use them for keeping their cash safe from fire..
Ray
 

pgill

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I do not have any suggestions for you, but to do the best you can..... as been suggested, take as many pictures as you can from every angle... In the roof, under the floor and in any other cranny you can find as a momento..... once it is gone, that is the end...
Enjoy the moment
God bless
Peter
 

silverswede

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My first choice is to remove the mop boards for coins if there is a crack between the floor and the board you'll find coins swept under- guarenteed.
 

MonkeyBoy

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Related but on another note.. there are Historical Preservation Groups that will come in a dismantle the house and then sell it as part of a non profit group. If I understand it correctly, you will be able to get some sort of tax break since if a non profit does it. Try Historicalproperities.com It is a shame to see these great houses just get dozed!! To sort of put my money where my mouth is.. I bought my Grandmother's house instead of letting it go on the market... just seemed "wrong" to have someone else in her house!! The oldest part is 1790.. with a 1838 brick addition and a 2002 addition I did. Where is the house? Not specifically.. general location.. I would be glad to help do the research and see if if is feasible... If you think about it... having someone else take it down.. and getting a tax break... might cover the cost of a new barn!!
 
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wolfmanjoe3

wolfmanjoe3

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MonkeyBoy said:
Where is the house? Not specifically.. general location.. I would be glad to help do the research and see if if is feasible... If you think about it... having someone else take it down.. and getting a tax break... might cover the cost of a new barn!!

The house is in Mercer County Ohio - in west-central OH. I've checked out a couple of salvage websites including http://www.salvageweb.com/ and http://www.oldhouses.com.au/docs/directories/us/us_salvage.html

I'll do what I can, but the property was sold to my cousin and it is theirs to do whatever they want. If I can find a company that is willing to take the house down gracefully and salvage the building materials - that's great. But they would have to do it fairly quickly and there must be some financial benefit for my cousin. Otherwise, he will just bulldoze it as quickly as possible so he can put up a new building...

Appreciate any other ideas or input.
Joe
 

Bluezman

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If there are any dressers or anything with drawers in them. make sure to pull them out and look at the bottom of the draw. When I was a small child my mother gave me a penny to bust up an old nite table that she bought used. It was one of those old pressed cardboard jobs that had three or four small draws in it.
Well, when I took out the first draw and turned it over to stomp it to death, I saw taped to the bottom 4 silver dollars. The other draws had more. It was quite a hand full of coins and all the dates were in the 1800s. After showing my mother "look ma I found some big quarters" never having seen silver dollars before.... and I never saw them again either.
I guess those coins fed us for quite a while during those rough times.
Bluezman
 
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wolfmanjoe3

wolfmanjoe3

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Re: 1885 farmhouse to be bulldozed - sad ending

Well the story comes to a sad end. I was able to briefly visit the old homestead twice this year - once with my metal detector. No good finds. My family was able to retrieve a few items from inside the house (transoms, old fixtures, a couple of old doors, etc.). Earlier this month, the house was burned then the remaining bricks were hauled off to fill a ditch somewhere. It's over... :(

12-2-07 Burning3.JPG
 

deepskyal

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You still have aerial photos of the layout. Why not hit the areas where the outbuildings were? Still a good chance of finding some old coins or cache where the buildings were or in open areas where family picnics might have been held.
Al

That sure was a nice looking house..the brick work around the windows...nice!
 

Baggins

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So sad to see historical buildings/houses coming to an end...
Baggins
 

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