A few days ago, I bought a house.
I'd been looking for something to buy for the past couple years, off and on, but nothing ever materialized. Truth is, I was looking for a unicorn, and unicorns just aren't that common. When I did spot one, either I couldn't get the financing lined up or I got outbid. It was a frustrating process.
But like I said, the big hurdle was mostly my search criteria.
I wanted a really, really old house.
I wanted something that needed to be rehabbed.
I wanted something for which I could get an occupancy permit without a ton of work.
I wanted something that was bigger than 1,000 sq. ft., but not bigger than about 2,400 sq. ft.
I wanted something that was in a decent neighborhood.
I wanted something that was affordable.
That right there, that's the unicorn list, and one night about a month ago, just before going to sleep, I found a place that checked all the boxes (and then some). Yada yada yada, now she's mine.
The house I purchased was reportedly constructed in 1878, although I haven't confirmed this just yet. What I have confirmed is that in 1876, the house didn't exist; it was built somewhere in the yellow area depicted in the 1876 map below:
Back then the area was considered "the country", although it was developing quickly and would be fully urban within 35 years. While the house doesn't show up on the Compton & Dry map from 1876, it does show up in the 1883 atlas:
The little place I just bought was the first structure built on its block, and there wasn't anything else around it at the time. But by 1903, it had a neighbor:
That's my house on the left, which shows the brick house (pink denotes a masonry structure) and a variety of wood-framed (yellow denotes wood framing) accessory structures. Per the 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, the house had 2 covered porches; the one attached to the rear of the house was replaced at some point with a deck, although the bones of the angled porch on the side of the house still remain, potentially. There's a similarly-shaped covered porch there now and the posts and roof structure appear to be significantly old, but the walls and floor have been redone over the years. Regardless, both the porch and deck are in rough shape now.
The 1903 map also shows a 1.5-story structure, probably a stable, and a small 1-story building just south of it. Neither building exists today, although the 2-car masonry garage that sits in that area now appears to be fairly old, and is one of the rare instances where I'm happy that an original structure was replaced with something more "modern".
The other noteworthy item from the 1903 map is the lot lines; the house I bought sits on a double lot and at some point, the lot between my house and the neighboring house became part of the property as well. As such, my lot runs from the west wall of my house to the west wall of the neighboring house, giving me almost a quarter of an acre. It's a beast of a yard, and one that will require extensive work just to get under control.
Anyhow....that's a little bit of the house's background. As I slowly begin rehabbing this place, I'll get into all the details here, and there will be plenty of 'em. The inside of the house, which has 11' ceilings, still has a lot of really, really old - if not original - architectural features, and plenty of mysteries to uncover. If you want to follow along with my house rehab shenanigans, check back here for updates!