Here are a few shots of the kitchen before the demo started. This door went to the little kitchen closet. When I ripped out the closets looking for the hidden window, I no longer needed to use this door so the fridge was placed up against it with my portable dishwasher in between to act as my only countertop. I still have to wonder how housewives managed with no counters.
Don't you love my exhaust fan? It actually works extremely well. The new bathroom wall should hit just to the right of the fan.
I moved the fridge over to the other side of the room where it will stay until I can renovate the kitchen. Just for reference, the doorway on the left goes to the dining room. The open door on the other side of the fridge goes to the back porch.
The plaster is flying as demo starts. You can see the hidden window on the right at the top of the basement stairs. I call that the gnome door because it's about 5', 6" high. You should see the dents in my head.
We found this little children's plate inside the wall. It's a metal of some kind and has the alphabet around the rim. I'm hoping it will clean up a little.
Here's the area opened up. The door on the left is the basement door. In the middle is the hallway to the front door and the door on the right is to the living room. I put up the old closet door and barracaded the hallway just to help isolate the cats from the mess. They'd be sitting in the middle of it all to see what was going on with their house.
Here's the bracing where that second staircase was attached. It's still a bit of a mystery. I don't think the family that lived here would have been wealthy enough to have a maid but the 1880 census gives us a clue.
|Click to enlarge|
Three lines from the top shows the family that lived in my house in 1880. This is 17 years before Jennie Ray lived here. If you missed that story, you can find it here.
You can see Caleb S. Buckman, his wife Sarah, and three children, Maude, Charles and Herbert. Also living in the house was George W. Hale, a 19-year-old boarder who worked at a stationery store. I believe the house was built with a rental unit to help defray costs. The second staircase provided separation of the living quarters. In my former condo in an 1837 Greek Revival, we had the original contract for the house that included a two-room tenement above the kitchen at the back of the house. I think this was a similar situation. Imagine, six people lived in this 1200-square-foot house. And they probably only had one outhouse!
Interesting to this side story, I found Caleb Buckman on Ancestry.com in someone's family tree. I e-mailed the owner of the tree who turned out to be Herbert Buckman's great great grandson who lives in a suburb of Boston. He told me that Caleb and Sarah soon divorced and he ran off leaving her with the kids and was never heard from again. (I like to think that Sarah was a cougar and took up with the strapping young boarder.) I was hoping he would have photos of my house and he was hoping I had information about his deadbeat great, great grandfather.
Anyway, back to this photo. The vertical boards aren't studs; they were added as a base to attach the lathe to. The area between those boards is plaster. This was done as a way of insulating. After the sheathing was placed on the outside of the house, lathe was nailed to the back of the sheathing and the inside of the cavaties were plastered to provide insulation.
Remember when I did the exterior of the house...
...and it was all opened up? That was necessary to remove all that lathe and plaster so that insulation could be blown in. I'll eventually have to take all this out so it can be insulated properly.
Back to the mess. Note the strip of floor between the masonite on the left and closet floor to the right. That's the original finished floor. It doesn't seem to be finished or painted unless the paint was more like stain. It's gray but you can also see the path worn into the floor where people walked in and out of the kitchen. I'm very attracted to that area. If I could only touch it to soak up their stories.
This wall that's being opened up is the gable end of the main house. We were going to put a reinforcing beam under the original beam to redistribute weight to new posts below.
Here is that beam. A huge hunk was cut out of it somewhere along the line.
This shows the piece that's missing. On the left, the beam is sitting on the door frame from the kitchen to the dining room. On the right, the leftover stump was left dangling off the post (at the arrow) on the outside wall.
That's it for today. I may post more Sunday but I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Easter.