This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The house at the Fisher Oak Savanna

In February I wrote about burning brush at the Fisher Oak Savanna. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit the large house that is on the property. It is one (and the best) of only five listings for Milroy township in the Jasper County Interim Report, which lists it as an American foursquare, c 1910. I was allowed inside because I went to the brush burning--it is not open to the public. So if you want to see it, you should look for volunteer opportunities at the Fisher Oak Savanna, and maybe you will get lucky.

What surprised me the most about this house is that it has not been lived in regularly for about fifty years. During that time it has been used as a summer residence. There is a much smaller house immediately behind it that is currently occupied. Why occupy the little house and not the big one? Because the little house has heat.

Notice, by the way, that this house has been kept painted and roofed, so it is in very good shape.
This old wood stove greets the visitor as he or she enters the back porch. Obviously it is no longer used, and you can see a much newer stove in the kitchen on the right of the photograph.
Inside the kitchen is this ancient refrigerator, turned around to face the wall. (Is it a safety hazard because a small child could open it, get in, and lock himself inside?) I have never seen an operating refrigerator with the condenser on the top like this one has. I think these were from the 1920s or 1930s. On the back you can make out lettering (not on the picture shown here) that says, "Refrigerator cabinet manufactured by the Heintz Mfg Co Philadelphia" and I cannot read the state.
The main room on the first floor is huge with a large fireplace. The room has two lighting fixtures, and though the French doors you can see the front door of the house.Below is a much better view of the front door. I love the oval window in the door.
The second floor has a full bath complete with grab bars for the tub (There is a half bath on the first floor.). Clean it up and it would be a decent bathroom. Of course the color of the paint dates it. This bathroom is not as old as the house. When do you think it was installed? 1960s?
Other than the bathroom, the rest of the second floor contains bedrooms. The floor was in excellent shape throughout the house, with a few exceptions, such as in the picture below.
The rooms are almost completely empty, unless you count this telephone in one of the bedrooms as a furnishing. Each bedroom, by the way, had a closet. Not the big closets of today, but the smaller closets of a century ago.
The door to the attic stairs was open, so I went up. The wiring in this building is like wiring in my house (which was built about the same time.) The two strands in the wiring are kept separate, not paired as they are today.
The attic had two chimneys. One was from the old kitchen stove, the other, shown below, was from the fire place. I have no idea why they built it with this slant.
The building has a half basement, and all that was there was a water pump and a hot water heater. Note the lack of a furnace. There are no radiators or heating vents anywhere in the house.
In the back there is an outhouse. Although the door is off the hinge, the paint looks great. I did not check out the interior to learn if it has been recently used. I hope you will forgive me for that oversight. I really should have checked it.
I like old houses, and being able to wander around this old house was a real treat, and payment enough for a couple of hours of pitching branches on an open fire.

(Look at the sidebar for an event coming on Saturday at the Fisher Oak Savanna.)


The DIYer said...

That house looks great! The siding, roof, windows, and interior wood trim/molding all look like they are in tip-top shape. The only thing that really screams 'awful' is the carpeted floor in the large living room. If I owned that house I'd tear that carpet up in a heartbeat and restore the floor to its original hardwood.

Sarah said...

The refrigerator brings back memories of my Grandmother's house. There was a fridge like that in her basement. My Mom says that Grandma used to tether my uncle to one of the legs of the fridge in lieu of a playpen, when it was in kitchen.