It’s amazing to see how far we have come along with this house! What started as a seemingly abandoned house, is starting to show life again.
What is really amazing to me is how so many lives have been touched by the work we are doing out there. So many volunteers have joined together and become friends as we work on this house. And so much history is being uncovered!
When we first started working on this house, there were many days that we all thought it seemed impossible. The garbage and items left behind were up to our thighs. The smell was horrendous in some rooms. We have officially cleaned the house out!
We will be setting up another volunteer day soon so stay on the lookout for that. The next plan is to clean up the exterior and we are hoping to have enough volunteers that day to start the hard work on the dependency structure out front. The dead tree behind the building is the only thing holding the house up! If that tree goes, so goes this building.
I had a meeting out at the Allen House yesterday. Beth King who is with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office met me out there. She wanted to see the house in person, take some pictures for her office and to see what assistance they could offer. It was interesting to have another set of eyes on it and to try to decipher the history. We always thought the front of the house was built in two parts. She went under the house a bit and by looking at the continuous flow of the sills, believes it could have been built at one time.
She was in agreement that what we originally were calling the “summer kitchen” was not a summer kitchen. It always bothered us that it was in front of the house, that would have been extremely rare. We then got word that a plantation school was built on the property around 1840. Her thinking was that it was too large for a summer kitchen. She even thought too large for school, unless the teacher lived on one side and taught on the other. This could be something we will never be definitive with, but suffice to say we can now stop calling it the summer kitchen. If it is indeed the plantation school, it would be the oldest school in Vance County, North Carolina.
She is going to try and get us in touch with a group that provides grants and money to people preserving buildings and houses. Fingers crossed about that. She is also getting us in touch with a man who has spent his life restoring old houses. His expertise should be invaluable, especially as we try to tackle saving the “summer kitchen”.