Old House Holiday Thoughts

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

As we approach the big day, depending on your beliefs, I thought I would mention a group of people who work hard to save old houses. The efforts of these people help to ensure that future generations can see an important part of our country’s history. I am talking about the people who make up the many historical societies and preservation groups throughout the country. Many of these people work hard to save old houses that others feel stand in the way of progress. These organizations stand up to developers, who are sometimes more concerned with making money than preserving history, and in some cases to towns and cities, where decisions can sometimes be made without taking all information under consideration. Most of the people who belong to these organizations work without pay, and donate their labor, and sometimes materials to save and restore old houses.

These people love our country’s history, and the old houses that played such a large part in that history. Old houses that were owned by famous educators such as George Washington Carver, or that served as military hospitals during the Civil War have been saved by these groups. In some cases the old house or structure might simply be an example of a architectural style which was prevalent in the area, or an example of a historic architect’s work. Many of these organizations rely on donations to save, and restore these old houses. I realize that times have been tough the last several years, but if you have anything to spare during this season of giving, you might think about a donation to a preservation group or historical society.

I also want to touch on a bit of old house safety during this holiday season. Please be careful of unattended candles or holiday lighting in your old house. If you are using a live tree for indoor holiday decorations, please make sure you keep it watered, and ensure that the tree has a lot of clearance from any source of heat or flame. Evergreen boughs that you may be using for other indoor decorations can dry out from the heat, take care if you are using lighting with them.

When stringing your holiday lights take care not to overload the electrical circuits, which can cause overheating. And most important, make sure that your old house has smoke detectors, and that they are in working order. It seems like every holiday season I read about a house fire caused by a careless action, and old houses can be very combustible. I hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday season.