Thursday, October 4, 2012

I never wrote about it

Living in an old house, (ours is from 1903) can be very exciting. And it can be exciting in a good way and a bad way. Good is that older homes offer a special character which cannot be found in a new house. It can offer a lot of history connected to local events, which is nice to research further.

The “bad” side is that older homes have higher maintenance costs, they need repairs, paint and have often higher heating costs, as insulation is not easy to add, without destroying much of the historic looks.

I once wrote about the old hotels on Campobello, the Tyn-y-Mae and the Tyn-y-Coed. They were built in the early 1880s but were soon abandoned as tourism declined around 1905. After that time the hotels remained standing but soon fell into disrepair. Those buildings were huge wooden structures as it was common many places in those days. One day a fire ravaged one of the old buildings destroying it badly. Shortly after WWII both buildings were removed, the building materials being “recycled” into private homes across Campobello Island.

Two old hotels on Campobello

After we had purchased our house we had to renovate the old building as it had been standing empty for 3 years. So we happened to have a close look at everything which seemed of historic value.

Surprise #1: Our bedroom doors bar the markings of screw holes where the room numbers to the guestrooms had been. Indeed on one door we can read a 6 of a two-digit number.
Surprise #2: Our stairway to the upper floor came from one of the hotels. The elaborate railings were not common in plain houses at the time.

Surprise #3: A stained glass window in the hallway is also from the hotels.


Surprise #4: All door and window trim came from the hotels as well. The very same trim can actually be seen in the addition to the 1897-built FDR-Cottage.

So unknowingly, we had purchased a  treasure trove of an old house, which caused us to show care and renovate cautiously.

Now to the downside: Our roof has been leaking along the edge of the dormer.
An earlier attempt to fix it by putting some tar along the edge of the dormer did not do the expected good. So today I had the ladder up on the roof again. Armed with a spray can of construction foam I sprayed the gluey stuff into the upper most corner where I couldn’t get to last time. Also, I found a spot between two shingles where someone long ago had applied tar which now was cracked open.

DSC_0050-mi    DSC_0041-mi  
I put a new glop of tar atop and hoped the best. The ladder remains on the roof for now as it is forecasted to rain a lot tomorrow, so we can put it to the test.

While I was clambering around on the roof I saw Bea out on the lawn with the NIKON. And then family called from Germany. They were on SKYPE and of course, they could admire me being up there. This new technology doesn’t stop to amaze me.

When I was down again I could say hello to my Dad. He has had a lot of pain in his leg lately where a piece of a WWII grenade has been sitting for 68 years. He is now walking with a cane.
I can’t believe that Dad is living all alone in his big house. How I would like to be there with him keeping him company…

Thanks for coming over again!



  1. That is a treasure trove you have discovered in your old house. What a neat bit of history. Be careful up there on the roof - slipping is way to easy to do.

  2. Well, you are a much braver soul than I am to be up on a roof like that on a precariously angled ladder. Nice to have all those historical features in your house. I wonder if any old ghosts came with them.....

  3. What a wonderful house you have No wonder you have been carefully bringing it up to shape

  4. I'm certainly glad that the roof on our place is only a One in Twelve pitch, and not nearly as steep as yours. Not a big fan of going up on the roof in recent years anyway, and the last time there was any need for work, I ponied up the dough and hired some off duty firemen. They have no fear of heights it seems.

  5. Just love old houses, like you said so much character, and history in them.

  6. That ladder on the roof looked a little sketchy to me but good for you!

    Interesting surprises in your old home - that bannister is beautiful.


We like to hear from you. You can add your comment here: