Historic Old Houses Becoming More Affordable

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News, Old House History

A story in USA Today caught my eye the other day, mainly because it was about a town close to where I grew up. The story was about how the housing downturn has affected home sales in Frederick, Maryland. USA Today is evidently looking at a different city in various areas of the country each week. I grew up about 20 miles south of Frederick, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, and I remember Frederick as a quaint small historic town, with a beautiful downtown area. Of course the housing boom of the last 30 years changed all of that, and from what I have heard from my parents, I wouldn’t recognize the area any more. According to the article, the sales prices of some of the historic old houses in the downtown area have almost dropped in half. That’s good news if you are buying, but not so good if you are selling, especially if you bought in 2004 or 2005. But there are definitely a lot of beautiful old houses in Frederick.

And speaking of old houses, I came across a couple of stories which show what is possible with hard work, determination, and a love of old houses. The first is about an old plantation house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The old house was originally in Washington, Louisiana, which is about 60 miles from Baton Rouge. The old house was built in 1820, and was the centerpiece of Live Oak Plantation. During the 1980’s this couple who collected Cajun and Arcadian antiques were looking for an old house to restore, where the antiques would look at home. At the time the old plantation house had been vacant for about 35 years, but was still in somewhat decent shape. The couple hired an old house expert, and the old house was taken apart and moved to Baton Rouge in 1991. The time since then has been used to rebuild the house and restore it, and it is now full of their antiques. I wish there were some pictures, I really like old plantation houses. Moving an old house is a big job. Taking one apart and moving it, and then putting it back together is an even bigger job.

The second story is about an old house that has been restored in Kalamazoo. I don’t know what the deal is, first we had the Old House Expo in Kalamazoo, and now this, evidently there is a lot going on in Kalamazoo. The house is 170 years old, and the couple who purchased it had been hoping it would one day come up for sale. When it finally did 7 years ago, they purchased it and have been restoring it ever since. This story did have pictures, it’s a beautiful old house, and they are doing a great job with the restoration.