I skipped a blog post last week—unfortunately. I have been very busy, and I just couldn’t seem to find the time. I doubt there was anyone out there waiting with baited breath, but if so I apologize. The sold info below will include both weeks.
I have been running all over Sullivan County, showing homes. It seems there is a late summer rush. People want to be in something by the holidays. Most of what I have been showing is older, turn of the century homes; with a few dating all the way back to civil war era. I love these kind of homes, they all have character, history, and I what I call “echoes.”
A customer of mine coined that phrase a few years ago when were out looking at older farmhouses, and I have stolen it, because I think it describes that feeling or “vibe” you get from these type of older homes. It is that indescribable feeling when you walk through the front door, and get a sense of all that has transpired in that space over many decades. For me it is not necessarily a hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling, (although I have had a few of those) it is more of a wistful nostalgia. An empty dusty dining room evokes images of happy holiday gatherings around a carved turkey, or the faded wallpaper in a child’s bedroom the only clue to who may have grown up there. A pile of discarded books or newspapers makes you wonder who had leafed through them. Echoes from the past—it is a strange, cool feeling and only certain houses have it.
I think bigger, formerly busier spots give me this feeling more than others. The boarding house over the wooden bridge in North Branch had major echoes. (I have blogged about that house before, and it remains one of my favorites) More recently it happened with the former Griffin House in Jeffersonville—127 Maple Ave. This house was built in 1895, and was owned by the same family for 105 years. It was then a bed and breakfast for twenty years, before apparently through a series of misfortunes it was foreclosed on. Link to Griffin House site. It now sits vacant, a grand building waiting for the next chapter of its history. This really is a special property. The wood work is something I have never seen before, and the grounds could be beautiful once again. But more importantly, every room has echoes, and standing in the empty foyer by the fireplace, I don’t think it has ever been stronger. There is a lot of history in that old building, lots of memories–the narrative of a family unknown to me.
They may be able to get the wide plank floors or the field stone foundation exterior done right, but echoes are something a “new old house” will never be able to duplicate.