Wednesday, February 18, 2009

House History

I found it! I found it! I found the original bill of sale for This D*mn House.

I think I told you a while back that the original owners came to visit a few years after we bought the place. (They’d left at least 20 years earlier then. There were two more owners over the next 20+ years before we bought it.) The couple built this house and raised two kids here. From all accounts, they were very happy here. I've got to think that karma counts for something.

During that visit, they brought us this document that outlines all the construction costs and the final purchase price for the house.

Both the mother and I thought that was pretty awesome. In typical mother fashion, she got a nice matte and framed it.
We had it hanging in the hallway going into the basement for several years thereafter. Then, when I painted the hall a few years ago, the mother decided to do some picture reshuffling. That hallway is chock full of photos. Not a single inch of bare space to be seen.

So apparently the bill ended up in the family room. I’m embarrassed to admit that I failed to notice that until last night. I’m not even sure why I did but I’m so glad I did! It was bugging me when I didn’t know where it was.

I can’t quite make the date out, but the PAID stamp was from sometime in 1940. I guess this would officially qualify as the house’s provenance?
And I’m dying laughing at these prices. Granted, both the kitchen and bathroom are tiiiiiiiii-nee but $10 to paint ‘em both?! And I can’t help but wonder what the “feature strip” in the linoleum was. I guess it was lucky they didn’t need more than 54 linear feet of it. (A true testament to how small the kitchen is. It’s less than 80 sq. ft.) Although 8 cents a foot for anything in the building material category is almost impossible for me to fathom.

And this final figure just cracks me up.
Even so, it’s almost 50 percent over the median U.S. home price (unadjusted for inflation) in 1940. And it’s about 33 percent above the average price for a home in Illinois, listed on that same table. I guess you can’t count the building expense in the purchase value though.


Jayne said...

That's pretty cool. Amazing how much more things cost now, huh?

Karen Anne said...

What a terrific thing to have.

Ty'sMommy said...

THat's really cool. Last summer, my friend Ginny and I dragged an old curio cabinet out of a shed on our property that has been there Godknowshowlong, and cleaned it up to refinish it. Caught under the shelves was a gas bill from 1920. I don't remember what the price was on it, but it was really neat! ANd the cabinet made a nice addition to our little country schoolhouse!

Gene said...

That is an amazing bit of house history to have.

NV said...

Jayne -- I know. It's ridiculous!

KarenAnne -- I think so, too. We are very appreciative of it.

Ty'sMom -- OOOh. Awesome. We did that at my childhood home with a gorgrous antique dresser. It had belonged to someone in our family, too!

Gene -- Now if I can just find their daughter and get some old pictures! :-)

Vicki said...

That's awesome, especially for someone who's dedicated to making her house the best!