Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cedarcrest log house history

She just drove up.   In a new Buick, she slowly opened the door as I curiously approached the car, putting a cane on the ground, she stood up, turned around and looked at me and said, "I grew up in this house!"

It was Evelyn Davidson, age 82, smiling... looking 'fit as a fiddle.'

When I moved into this house just before Christmas 1997, I was given a photo of this  house by the previous owners who said they got it from woman that lived here before it was moved.  I went and got the photo and sure enough... it was written by Evelyn when she last visited this house in 1988.   Hard to believe that was 26 years ago.  She flipped over the photo and said, "Yes, that's my handwriting."

This house was originally located in Deason, TN... a small crossroads several miles south of Murfreesboro on Rt. 231.   It was moved here by Charlie Farrer, of the well-known Murfreesboro construction and hardware companies.  It was moved to where it now stands ... log by log, each spray painted with a number, every cedar log had a unique dove-tail joint that fit together like a 3 dimensional puzzle.  When I bought the house, I pressure washed off the spray painted numbers and applied a fine oil based clear protectant.

I researched this house when I bought it almost 17 years ago.  I believe I actually called Evelyn, who has lived in the same house in Shelbyville for 61 yrs.  She referred me to the previous owner named Clyde Barber, now deceased, who was in his 80s when I talked with him in early '98.   He said when he moved into the house in 1927, it was "about 100 years old" at that time.   He said the house didn't have electricity until 5 yrs later in 1932.

The photo

This photo taken of the house in 1942, sided over with wood and with a different window and door configuration, shows Evelyn on the porch at age 10, standing third from the right, wearing a hat.



With the photo, a letter to the people I bought the house from, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Roose, said that Evelyn's parents were Jasper H. and Lula B. Hayes.   She said in the letter:
"you will notice this picture was taken before lawn mowers were used.   My dad would cut the yard with the mower used to cut hay, and not very often at that." 
Also in the letter, she diagrammed the layout of the original house.

I asked Evelyn the usual questions I ask people of her age.  How do you stay so active and healthy?  She said, "well, I've always worked.  Ate food that we grew."   She was also married for 60 yrs.  Married at age 23 to a man 15 yrs older.  He passed away last year at age 96.   I also asked her how long she wanted to live?  She said, "I had a doctor that said I wouldn't live past 81... so I got another doctor."

She also mentioned that when growing up, they heated with wood burning Franklin stoves and it sometimes got below freezing inside the house some mornings, freezing water basins.

I asked her if she had an email so we could stay in touch.   She said, "No, but I'll take your number."  She said she'd like to return with her daughter.

I hope she does.

Like my neighbor Hans, and Joe T. (who passed this yr), you can't have enough octogenarians as friends.  

My house as it is now.  All local cedar and probably pushing 190 yrs old.  I still find 19th c. square nails in some of the walls and beams.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to know...nice to keep!!