Down The Rabbit Hole
Bo asked, innocently: “Why are these sashes so…odd?”
And then all Hell broke loose.
In my previous post, I detailed how all I knew about the carriage house was likely wrong. Way wrong.
And all because Bo asked an innocent question about some sashes.
I have shown the above image previously, in a post detailing the history of the carriage house as I then understood it.
Later, I did a second post better explaining how the carriage house was relocated on the lot.
- The carriage house was built against the alley. It was likely at ground level, and with a dirt floor.
- The structure comprised a 1-story north wing, and 2-story main body.
- Circa-1921, the structure was moved a bit west, and set upon a new foundation. The 1-story wing was rotated 90 degrees, and set behind the 2-story main body.
In the above image all that is clear is the north wing, its roof, and an extraordinary cupola/ventilator.
I long wondered when the conversion took place.
Looking at the deeds of the property it was evident that the Cross House was on one legal lot (526) and the carriage house on another legal lot (524). These two lots remained in the same names until 1921, when 524 was, for the first time, sold separately.
This is all I know for sure.
But was the conversion done before the sale? Or after? So, is the conversion, say, 1919? Or 1924?
I do not know.
But I use the date of 1921. I should though always write circa-1921. I am a bad boy.
In the above image, I assumed everything on the first floor dated from the circa-1921 conversion. Everything on the second level, I assumed, dated from 1894 save the flat-roof dormer to the right of the turret.
And almost everything I just wrote is, it seems, now wrong.
And all because Bo asked an innocent question about some sashes.
THOSE DAMN SASHES
Bo wanted to know why the diamond sashes in the turret did not match all the other diamond sashes on the second floor.
I had not noticed before.
The turret sashes were obviously constructed differently and were, in addition, constructed really badly. In short, they are really fucked up, dude.
My previous post details all this.
DO I HAVE TO????????
When my previous post was done yesterday I knew I had no choice. Today, I would have to crawl around inside the attic of the carriage house. Only this would confirm/deny my new hypotheses.
But I was loath to do this.
Now, normally I cannot wait to climb up a ladder and get into an attic! WHAT is more fun?
But I have never been in the attic of the carriage house.
I know! Can you believe it!
I had tried. Once. I popped open a small wood panel in the ceiling, stuck my head in, shined a flashlight…and gasped.
All I saw before me were mountains of blown-in cellulose insulation. MOUNTAINS. The attic looked like a gray version of the Sahara with towering drifts of cellulose.
The idea of crawling into this was decidedly unappealing. I closed the small wood panel and never again ventured forth into the attic.
But today I had to be brave.
But then Bo asked an innocent question about some sashes.
Then, while writing my previous post yesterday, I had a cascading series of epiphanies.
OH! Maybe most of the sashes dated from 1921?
OH! Maybe all the dormers dated from 1921!
OH! Maybe the second floor was just a big hay-filled attic with a turret stuck on?
DESPERATELY SEEKING CONFIRMATION
In the attic, I hoped, should be some evidence as to these wild new hypotheses. If the dormers were all added at a latter date, this should be obvious by physical evidence in the attic. Right?
So, I had to channel my MOST manly inner self…and brave the Sahara of cellulose drifts.
At this point, there was so much cellulose dust in the air that I could not take any more pictures.
But, access to the turret is through RANDOM sheathing. This strongly indicates that the turret dates from 1894.
In addition, access to the large dormer on the east side, kissing the sunporch, is through CUT sheathing, strongly indicating that this dormer is, too, circa-1921.
THE TURRET QUESTIONS
Readers have been asking: IS the turret from 1894?
In short, Sanborn often gets stuff wrong.
In 1893 Sanborn shows the turret as a curve when, it is almost certain, it was an octagon.
In 1911 Sanborn does not even show a turret at all!
So, is the turret from 1894? I believe yes, based on:
- The sheathing in the attic indicates that the turret is original.
- An octagon-shaped weathervane is shown on the 1894 drawings. The only location for this would have to be the octagon turret on the carriage house. In addition, the 1894 weathervane drawing has a distinctive lower section. A 1932 image of the turret shows a weathervane with the same distinctive lower section.
- Did the turret extend to the first floor? The evidence indicates no. Why? The exposed underside of the overhanging turret is painted, carefully installed beadboard. This was covered over by the circa-1921 porch. Had the turret extended to the first floor, the removal of the porch would have revealed exposed joists on the underside of the turret rather than neatly installed beadboard.
- The turret has the same oversized tin cornice, with tin swirls, as the Cross House. It seems unlikely that this would have been added twenty years later.
Wanna know why the turret perhaps did not extend to the first floor?
My epic attic exploration seems to support my newly born suspicions:
In 1894, the carriage house was built with a huge roof. Under would have been an attic. There were no dormers. The turret is from 1894.
TWILIGHT ZONE QUESTIONS
Two questions remain unanswered.
- Why are the turret diamond-paned sashes so fucked up? I still have no answer.
- Why does the Sanborn map show the main body of the carriage house as 2-stories? I posit an answer:
See a 1 and a 2 marked on the carriage house? The 1 denotes the one-story north wing. The 2 denotes a two-story main body.
But all the evidence indicates that the main body was one-story. Above was a big attic. With a turret. But an attic never counts as a “story” with Sanborn.
My guess? Sanborn looked at the turret, and assumed a second floor.
A GUILTY REQUEST
I am ready to click “publish” on this post.
This post took 5 hours to write.
My previous post also took 5 hours.
Ten hours to write two posts.
THIS FREAKS ME OUT.
I soooooooooo cannot afford this kind of time. Behind me is a box of six sconces which need to be rewired, fully restored, packed into a box, and ready for FedEx to pick up Monday morning, early.
I had planned to start on them at 4PM.
It is now 8:23PM. And I am still writing this post.
At least since 6PM I have been experiencing an ever more guilty sensation:
WHAT AM I DOING?
I need to earn a living! I need to FOCUS on earning a living!
But all I felt like doing was writing this breathless update.
Then I had a thought.
What if I reached out to you?
Did you enjoy this post? And the one before it?
If so, would you be comfortable helping to make sense of the time spent of creating these posts? Would you be happy to click on the Go Fund Button below? Would you be delighted to contribute $1? $5? $10? Really, any amount?
I may likely even share some of the funds with Bo.
Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.