Saturday, May 29, 2010

Former Owners Drop By For A NoMi House Tour

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

The fabulous and oh-so-affordable North Minneapolis house of Brian Reichow has been featured on this blog before, click here and here.

Recently, Brian had special visitors to his house...the former owners. One can't help but be reminded of that new country song, "The House That Built Me."

Here is Brian's description of their visit, which he initially posted on Facebook...

Their eyes lit up as they recognized things from their childhood (the three sons are all in their fifties), and recounted stories ranging from which room was where they watched The Beatles play on Ed Sullivan, to where one started the house on fire, to the playroom where they all lit comic books on fire, to where their father kept his girlie magazines, to how the kitchen was originally laid out, to the location of a long-since-removed gazebo, to the timeframe when a rock garden and now-dilapidated koi pond was created, and so on.

Their mother, who turned 80 today (hence the specially arranged visit), had never seen the hardwood floors before because during 1954-1964 nobody would have even considered having hardwood floors (carpet was all the rage). She also recalls there being a beautiful cork floor in the sunroom, where an oak floor is today.

One mystery that has been resolved is "What the heck is the big grating near the alley for?" -- I'm told it was a raised platform for garbage cans back in the day, and also where one would place the large wire basket for burning leaves, when such things were still permitted in Minneapolis.

The single coolest observation was when they pointed out something I had completely missed: there was once an arched, recessed telephone nook in the hallway across from the kitchen door, with space for both an old-school wall phone and address book/phone book. One can pick out the "shadow" of where it once was, which until now I had assumed was just a poorly done plaster patch job.

They also pointed out some items missing from the basement rumpus room - namely, a seating booth and a triangular corner shelf that once held a giant bottle (magnum?) of some wine. Once again, the "shadow" of these lost elements can be picked out when you know what you're looking for.
JNS says: That's so cool, Brian. However, when it comes to my house...based on some of the items left behind, and some of the mail that still arrives...I don't know if I'd be as welcoming as you to former owners or residents!

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