The Brick House is a tiny 4-bedroom house in the Federalist style. When I say tiny I mean tiny -- scaled for people of another time. Modern people find that their feet hang off the edges of the beds, and even children can stand in the middle of one of the bedrooms and reach all four walls. It is roughly an el-shaped house with a hipped roof, built of red bricks with cast iron lintels set above the doors and windows. My Great-grandmother Mahaffy said the bricks came from a brick factory which once stood across the road. If they really did, where did the lintels come from? It is true there is a building down the road that used to house the "Ontario Iron Works", so it could be that even the fancy lintels with their fan reliefs are very local. The panelled front door, which no one uses, does not have the traditional Federal sidelights, but does have lovely inset panels on each side. For most of my life these were hidden behind an aluminum storm door with "M" for Mahaffy. The window shutters were also missing, until my dad took some from his in-laws house when they were remodelling in the 70s. The shutters are just screwed in place alongside the windows now. They look okay from a distance. The same is true for the windows, which have been replaced more than once. They look fine from across the street (if it's raining).
The house was probably built in the 1820s. I'd like to have a look at the title abstract to see if I can figure out the exact date. In fact there are a lot of things I'd better have a look at if I want to get my story straight. Interest in family history seems to wax and wane in the family. My grandparents went through a phase of being interested in the history of the house. They even had an architect look at it, and he remarked on the unusual ogee molding along the roof line. Then my dad became interested, as he peeled off layer after layer of wallpaper in the interior and tried to get the family excited about the Federalist period. Now I'm having a turn. I've had a look at the architect's report, the baggies of old wallpaper scraps, and most of the family flotsam and jetsam around the place. Will I get the facts sorted out before the vinyl siding salesman comes calling? He's already got his mitts on most of the rest of Pulaski. (Note to self: walk around and record the location of all the other Federalist houses in town, while they are still evident.) Will I have time to write down the names of the people in the grim old daguerreotypes lying around while there is still someone to remember who they are? Stay tuned.
Monday, January 7, 2008
This is an exercise in therapy for a recovering Luddite. There must be something to this new-fangled computer craze, after all -- gee whilikers. Here are the useful things I would like to read in blogs, but can never find: instructions for making a historically accurate portiere for a Victorian interior; sensitive commentary on the ideology behind Waldorf schools and whether it is or is not too flaky; advice for growing edible plants on the same acreage as walnut trees; and the secret of staying sane while being a mom. Okay? Cyberspace -- this means you.