Monday, May 28, 2007

Installment 6 – You just can’t rush this stuff

I ran out of gas Monday. Three days of manual labor in a row? I'm pooped. But I did manage to finish stripping the south and west side of the porch and get a coat of primer on it. Next will be: replacing the trim work ripped off when the vinyl went on, soffit replacement where needed and then a top coat of paint.

Of note, I did not hit my head on anything and "soffit" does not appear to be a word that spell checker recognizes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

David Barksdale receives National Preservation Award

David Barksdale is the face of preservation and history in New Albany. It’s his passion. To know Dave is to know he shares many characteristics with the Energizer bunny – he just keeps going and going.

If there’s anything going on in New Albany concerning preservation or history, Dave most likely organized it, promoted it, ran it and then starts planning to do it again.

Prior to yesterday’s Mansion Row Walking Tour (the last local event of Preservation Month) the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognized this fact by awarding him their Historic Preservation Medal. The Painkeshaw Chapter of the DAR are caretakers of Scribner House, which was the perfect location for the award presentation.

The national award is presented to individuals or groups whose study and/or promotion of some aspect of American history-on the regional or national level-has significantly advanced the understanding of America’s past.

Good job Dave!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Installment 5 – (Progress report on Ted’s House) “If one more G—Damn thing hits me on the head….” & Lofty Ideas Downtown Walking Tour

I have a solid memory of the first time I heard my father curse. Dad piddled around a lot in the garage and yard (he still does). I was 8 or 9 at the time and was in his shadow most of the time.

Setting the scene - He was in the garage. I was asking goofy questions about what he was doing, why he was doing it, what was for lunch, why is the sky blue, etc.

I know he was looking for something but I don’t recall what. He was pulling stuff off a shelf and a hammer fell on his head. I imagine it must have been rather painful, but the piddling went on unabated. A few minutes later, I’ll be darned if a box of junk didn’t fall off another shelf and land square on top of his head.

The pain must have been pretty bad, because I remember him opening the overhead garage door and heading outside in an obvious effort to “walk it off” and not blurt the inevitable expletive that was to come. At that moment, the garage door came off its hinges and, you guessed it, hit him on the head.

It was then that he said, “If one more G—Damned thing hits me on the head....”.
It was one of those opened ended statements that we’ve all made at one time or another. I didn’t stick around to see what would happen if one more thing did hit him the head.

Even at that young age, I had an appreciation of good slapstick humor which I probably obtained from reruns of the Three Stooges. I laughed long and hard then and I’m laughing long and hard now.

What’s this got to do with work on my house? I hit my head three times when walking under the scaffolding set up on the front of my house. It hurt badly each time. However, I didn’t use an expletive but did chuckle to myself because of that memory.
Time was short this weekend (I sure say that a lot lately). But I did get some paint stripped. My painter did some work too. Progress is progress I suppose. And besides, I’ve got a three day weekend coming up! Yippee!

The Downtown Walking Tour was a huge success

The head count was 52 attendees for the “Lofty Ideas” Downtown walking tour this past Saturday – a National Preservation Month event. The weather was great. The tours were great. See a full spread of photographs here: Preservation Month Photographs - Lofty Ideas

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Cardinal Ritter Birthplace - blight removal

The before and after photographs are impressive. The first shot is from about 4 years ago. The second from last week.
It's hard to believe it's the same home - the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace - at 13th and Oak Street. Progress has been admittedly slow. But you can help speed it up by opening up the check book a little. Read all about the project at the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation website. Click on the "contact us" tab for donation information.
The Mission - taken from the Foundation website: "The Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation aims to renovate the highly endangered birthplace and childhood home of Cardinal Joseph Elmer Ritter in New Albany, Indiana."
" develop the Ritter house into a dynamic community center that can provide a range of social services to residents both within the immediate neighborhood and the greater community."
"Funds are being sought to stabilize and restore the exterior of this landmark property to ensure its survival. Additional funds are also sought to ensure the building's future."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Installment 4 (reports on progress on my house restoration): Part 1 - Take it off, take it all off & Part 2 – Won’t you be my neighbor?

Part 1: Take it off, take it all off...
Time was short this weekend, but I did manage to hit the cornice work around the front porch. The old paint, which is alligatored and failing, is all coming off. I’m stripping, one provocative inch after another.

Part 2: Won’t you be my neighbor?

The home next door to me (844 Cedar Bough Place) is hitting the market soon. It has been vacant for over a year. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good house on a good street. If you’re up for a challenge, please call an agent and schedule a showing.

Beware that there’s a Ted lien against the property. I’ve been cutting the grass there for three years. The new owner will need to pay up with dinner at a local eatery of my choice and all the beer I can drink. I’ll consider the debt paid after that.
Here's a shot of the main stair through the front door. The original fireplaces are intact. There's a lot of original fabric left in the house.

The view from my front porch.

The "Bough" is calling for someone.....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Installment 3: Porno for Preservationists – and it’s Preservation Month

Home security is important. I’ll not deny that. The screen door that was on my house when I bought it was a “security” door. The security door, along with the monochrome vinyl, gave the house a distinct cell block feel. I was not fond of that at all.

Was the door necessary? Keep in mind that there are six foot windows around the entire house that a potential burglar could literally break and walk through. Perhaps the door was a bit of overkill?

Regardless, the door is gone, no doubt being melted down as I write this to supplement humvee armor in Iraq.
The replacement screen door is up. It’s a wooden door purchased from It’s my favorite house project to date. I love looking at it as I pull in the driveway. I love looking out of it from the inside. I love the way the stained glass glows through it at night. I love this door so much, I may ask it to marry me.

The gable on front of the house received its first top coat of paint this weekend. The return is nearly complete. It’s quite a contrast.

Don’t forget about Preservation Month activities. Check the right sidebar for more information. The first event is this Thursday, May 10th.