Hello from Southern Indiana!
My family and I purchased a 3 story over basement, American Foursquare that was built in 1901. It sits on a large city lot (originally deeded as 2 parcels) and is part of our town's "Northside Historical District".
Prior to us, the house had been in the same family for it's entire life seeing three different actual owners. The man who built the house was named Carl Furst, a German imigrant, who came to America in pursuit of the great dream. He was a master stone mason and made his way to Bedford, Indiana by way of Chicago in the late 1800's to work in the fledgling limestone business. later, he and his cousin Henry formed a limestone company along with another man and so was born Furst & Kerber Cut Stone Company.
Back to the house. It's framed entirely of what I call "full-dimensional native lumber" and is completely clad in limestone block with a very unique tooling feature on the surface called "4 Cut" which means it has 4 cuts or ridges per 1 inch of width. All of the limestone came from one of Mr. Furst's quarries and was laid by his own quarrymen. I was told that there was a mini-recession going on at the time in the area and to keep his men emplyed and paid he enlisted them to aid in the construction of his house. The house itself cost roughly $10,000 to build which was a lot of money! Mr. Furst even had an electrician come all the way from Chicago to wire the house. I can only imagine how long it took him to get there. It takes us about 4 hours without stopping at 70 mph!
When we purchased the house it had been sitting vacant for 3 years. There was a caretaker/handyman that would come over to take care of the basics such as heating and cooling, maintenance and yard care but other than that it remained unused. The PO was the grand-daughter of the original owner and had since moved to Florida. After a lot of looking, deciding and praying we closed on the house about 10 months ago and became the owners of a huge project!
After a lot of research and talking to people that knew the history of the house we embarked on what I call a resto-mod of the house. There was and is no way that we could afford to do (or want to) a FULL restoration of the house to bring it back 100% to it's original state as built in 1901. We could have dropped $500,000 and that still probably wouldn't get it done. Over the years a lot of things were changed that took it from being original which would be either to costly or impossible to bring back, like the original red asbestos tile roof'.
In the early 50's, the second family owner converted the Parlor into a bedroom which meant removing the colonnade entry from the Foyer and walling it off. I have no idea where the colonnade boxes went but the PO took the columns with her to Florida and currently uses them as plant stands and wouldn't let us have them. The Parlor originally had a 60" opening with oak, 5-panel pocket doors that opened into the Sitting Room. The doors were long gone and replaced with a single 32" hollow core luan pocket door. The Sitting Room had been converted into a full bathroom, hallway and closet to service the bedroom. The original fireplace mantel and opening had been bricked in and replaced with a vanity and the hardwood flooring removed and replaced with a 2" mortar bed and tile. The original 60" opening from the Sitting Room to the Dining Room once had pocket doors that matched the other set leading from the Parlor but they were gone as well. The only traces that remained of either set of doors was the bar on edge track that was still in the wall!
The Dining Room remained fairly original with the exception of the Crane Baseboard Radiators that had been added to most rooms in the house sometime in the early 50's. The kitchen was tiny to say the least! It had received the 50's update as well complete with white metal cabinets! The ceiling had been dropped from it's original 10' height in favor of 8'. There was a Butler's Pantry off of the Kitchen which had been converted to a Laundry Room when the PO moved it from the Basement. The largest project that was completed during the remodeling was the removal of the rear porch and the addition of a Sunroom that fit into the original footprint of the porch along with matching roof lines and partial limestone facade.
I wish I had of found this site and forum prior to starting our project. As it stands now, we are 5 days away from move-in after almost 9 months of work. We hired a GC to tackle most of the work and me doing all of the demo, clean-up and other tasks and projects that I didn't get quoted.
I'll post some more later about the specifics and fun parts of this saga!
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