Friday, October 30, 2009

Pre-Russel Street Fire - circa 1980 pics

Just 29 years ago these houses in the Seminary Square Historical District of Covington had boarded up doors, broken windows, and squatters.

In 29 years, owners of these homes have spent millions of dollars to turn derelicts into beautiful homes.

Last week, a fire started from a heater that sealed the fate of one resident on Russell Street, and destroyed the homes of all of the others in the complex.

Every time we pass the fire damaged homes, I feel a deep sadness for all of the work that went into restoring and rehabbing these places.

This is what the houses looked like in 1980. I only hope it doesn't take another 29 to get it back to the way it was just two weeks ago.

This (below) is on the corner of Russell and 11th Street:

By the time we saw it a few years ago, it too was a shell of a house. I don;t know if a fire took it, but it looked like a bulldozer had. We thought at the time it was waaaaay more work than we wanted to do.

Heh. We laugh at that naivety now.

Anyway, someone else bought the place and did a great job fixing up the place.

We met the current occupants, Dillon and Anne, while standing across the street from what was left of the fire last week, as the owners and occupants tried to salvage what was left of their belongings.

This one, with the plastic coverings on the window openings instead of glass, or for that matter, plywood, is now a very nicely redone home on Russell Street, just up a ways from the fire.

I think Ill go around and do a before-and-after photo shoot of these places, just for perspective. Some of these abandoned properties in 1980 are going for $300K+ now.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any old pics of our place yet, but I'm still looking.

Everyone who has seen our home when we first bought it, in the mess that it was in .... (remember the beginnings... check this out for 'perspective'.....LINK) and seen how much of our lives/our time/our money went into this place always asks us if we're planning on rehabbing another one, and if so, how soon.

My answer is likely, never.

We sacrificed a lot to rehab our home. We sacrificed our business and our health. Besides blown out knees, wrenched muscles, ruined backs... I don't want to even think about how many times I smacked my head into a low beam rafter, or when particularly unlucky, the nail sticking out of the low beam rafter. Or getting slammed upside the head when the hammer drill got jammed while cutting a hole in the joists to run electric lines through. That one hurt. Then there's stepping into holes, falling off of ladders, and hammering fingers.

And after all that, I love my home. We're still working on it, I've been finishing up the window sills on the second floor (just like the ones on the first, so no pics necessary) and I'll be cutting aprons this weekend. But to see it gutted by fire after getting so close, it would ruin me.

For those who have lost everything, you have my sympathy and my empathy.

I hope the insurance can help to remedy a quick recovery, and if anyone needs to borrow a chop saw, a ladder, a box of drywall screws. I have them, and you are welcome to them.

1 comment:

Concord Carpenter said...

awesome pics.... I love old houses and pictures of old houses.

They always have great detials.