I’d like to start this post by saying that almost nothing below is based on research, historical documentation, or first hand observations. Now that I have your total trust, confidence, and undivided attention, I’ll continue.
Since the fist time we saw our house, I’ve tried researching (read-Googling) information on the home’s history, but to no avail. The only thing of note I was able find out was that the town of Central was so named because it’s exactly half way between Atlanta and Charlotte (about 133 miles each way), and was a hub during railroad construction for the South East in the late 1800’s. Click here for a cute little write up about the town’s history.
Besides that, I’ve had to make up my own accounts of what must have happened in our house; they always start with some lame joke about how how the old piano probably plays Vaudevillian tunes by itself at night, and always end with me convinced that a Victorian era, Polio-stricken child-ghost has befriended my three year old and will convince her to do his bidding. My stories were fueled by quirky things we kept finding, like the freaky little fellow below, for example…
Finally, I decided it was time to end this unhealthy cycle of misinformed thinking, so I contacted the most recent former owner to see if she had any information she could give us about the house (the engraved names and broken plate above are her handiwork, and now are a perma-fixture in the home’s foundation). and she agreed to meet with me to share what she knew. Most of what she told me was conveyed to her by the owner before her–so really what we’re dealing with here is what someone told me from what someone told her about things even older than that, but hey–the stuff makes for some interesting stories at least.
The Early Years
We’d incorrectly thought that the house was built in 1890, but that’s only when the land was purchased. The foundation of a small home that predates the main house lies on the back of our property , but we don’t have any information about it other than that it’s mostly gone and extra old (#dontaskdonttell). Our house was officially built in 1905, and was it originally used as a boarding house for railroad workers during that time because the town hotel across the street had recently burned down.
This information helps explain why almost every room has a sink or plumbing for a sink, and also why the house is pretty obviously divided between the main living areas and the “boarding areas.” The entire left side of the house would have been used by the owner and his family, and the right side and upstairs were boarding rooms. Even this room at the left front of the house that seemed oddly cut off from the rest of the rooms used to be connected through what is now a closet–
And would have opened up where these shelves are now in the living room:
Old Exterior Quirkiness
Below are pictures of some of the home’s original exterior features. We’d been wondering what the heck some of these things were…
An old stone well in the back yard. Pretty cute, actually. Like a little gnome could pop out of there one day.
So much less cute, but the concrete slab-like square thing beside the side porch had been puzzling us big time. Also a well. Like there’s water down there–it just has a top on it. We should maybe do something about that.
This shed in our side yard sits on another foundation-type area that was once the separate cook-house for the home. It’s now where we put our redneck trampoline so our daughter can jump her little buns off while we roam around the house and look dismayed.
The porch swing is still resting on the porch in what is apparently its original location, and it was allegedly built when the house was. During our chat, the former owner said she had seen a photo of the front of the home from around 1912, and there were two little girls on the front steps with this swing behind them.
I don’t know why, but that kind of freaked me out a little. Maybe because I have two little girls? Or maybe because I imagine the two little girls to be twins…naughty twins with matching menacing grins and severely cut bangs..who just swing on the porch swing and do evil little giggles while they–OK, woah. See what I mean about that unhealthy thinking!?
I better stop before I talk myself into a pre-move-in appointment with a sage-burning shaman, but stay tuned for more about the interior of the home–we finally know why we didn’t have to replace any plumbing or electrical work, and why there’s a secret passageway from the butler’s pantry up to the master bedroom. Also coming up, plenty of update pics on renovation progress. We’re getting so close to being able to actually live here! But also, does anyone happen to know the number of a good shaman…? Asking for a friend…