Friday, November 04, 2016

#707 National Register of Historic Places

Our house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

The NRHP is the official list of historic places worthy of preservation in the US.  It recognizes the architectural significance of the house and helps to raise awareness of the importance of historic preservation in southwest Missouri.

Though we often refer to our house as the Ozarks Bungalow, the official name is the Lewis Shaw Coleman House.  Mr. Coleman and his wife Mary Kate Miller Coleman, whose families both owned area lumber yards, built the house in 1914 on a corner lot overlooking Oak Park.  The Colemans chose a Craftsman bungalow for the style of their new home and included exposed rafters in open eaves, low-pitched gable roofs with wide overhangs, decorative gable beams, large windows to connect the house with nature, and a prominent front porch with tapered stone columns.

The Craftsman bungalow style was unusual for the area in 1914 and so the construction project made the local paper.  The Aurora Advertiser reported the Coleman family was "completing a beautiful bungalow on East College" and the new Coleman bungalow showed "the progressive spirit of the city." 

Four homeowners later, we are thrilled to be awarded this NRHP listing recognizing the architectural significance of what the Colemans envisioned a century ago.  It is the only home in Lawrence County included on the NRHP.

In our excitement, we printed a temporary plaque to hang by the front door!

Yours in living in an historic place,

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#706 Topping it off

Sometimes when you clean something, you get a better look and decide it needs more than a good cleaning. It should be repaired.

This summer, we cleaned the masonry cap on our brick wall and discovered it was a lovely tan color rather than a dingy gray.  (The builders achieved that tan color using a skim coat of white Portland cement with exposed aggregate sand and we love it.)  But we also discovered the need to repair many cracks.

In previous years, the cap had been patched with a gray cement - perhaps to match its then dingy gray color but more likely because white cement is uncommon here in Missouri.  It's a good thing we enjoy a good road trip because Texas has gads of white cement!  

Chip out the old gray cement patch.

Install clamps to support the new masonry.

Spray water to prepare the old cement.

Start filling the crack with white cement.

Complete filling the crack with white cement.

Expose the sand aggregrate to help match the existing masonry.  (Kelly had sifted out the large sand grains through screen wire to collect enough of the needed size.)

Admire the finished product.

Repeat 17 times!
We're hoping these fixes will keep the cracks from widening this winter.  Plus we just think it looks better.

Yours in fixing up the outside and topping off the brick wall,

Monday, September 05, 2016

#705 Seth Peterson's Cottage

Our wedding anniversary, a secluded jewel in the Wisconsin woods, and the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright - the trifecta for the Johnstons!

In August 2014 (yes, more than 2 years ago!), we reserved Wright's Seth Peterson Cottage in the southern Wisconsin Dells for Labor Day weekend 2016.

We drive up to the gate with all the anticipation that two years can bring.
Less than a mile down the private road, the cabin waits just for us.
 This guy seems pretty happy to hold the key.
 We see from the guest book that we follow in the footsteps of celebrities.
And then we quickly make ourselves at home in this 880-square-foot cabin in the woods and claim it as our own for three fun days.
 The cabin's deck overlooks Mirror Lake. Dock and canoe are provided.
It may even be more fabulous at dusk.

Yours in sending cheers of love from the jewel in the woods,

Sunday, August 21, 2016

#704 National Register - On to the Keeper

The state of Missouri recommends listing our house on the National Register of Historic Places!

August 19 is a beautiful day in the City of Jefferson and Kelly is ready to make our case to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He arrives at the Lewis and Clark State Office building, a very green building on the banks of the Missouri River, carrying his notes on months of research.  He is ready.
Most importantly, we stack the audience with friendly faces.
Kelly expertly tells the story of our house.  Following questions, comments and compliments, the Council votes unanimously to forward our National Register nomination to the Keeper at the National Park Service for the ultimate decision.
We are excited to move the nomination forward and thankful to all those who have supported our efforts with good wishes and advice and hospitality and custom, hand-crafted gifts!

We expect to hear the Keeper's decision by the end of October so stay tuned.

In the meantime, let's celebrate!

Yours in celebration,

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

#703 It Happened in August 1996

It's been 20 years since we first laid eyes on our favorite house in Aurora, MO.

On August 2, 1996, we are living in Kansas City and visiting family in southwest Missouri.  Kathy and Mark are moving to Texas so we're all getting together to celebrate their move - either that or to try to talk them into staying in Missouri!    
During the weekend, the family meets for a meal in Aurora (can't remember if big hats were worn) and accidentally, serendipitously, we drive down College Street and discover the house. 

Our first photos were taken in 1996 when the house was owned by the Duncans and the grounds were so beautiful and well maintained.   

We continue to drive by (or stalk, if you must) the house for the next 13 years whenever we're in the neighborhood until we eventually learn it is for sale - which is yet another story of serendipitous good fortune.

Yours in serendipity,

Monday, August 08, 2016

#702 Intensity of Caring

"I've always felt that the details, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are more than just nice things to notice.  They are manifestation and expression, a kind of measure of the intensity of caring." - Fay Jones

A tour guide at the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Crystal Bridges once told me that and I believe it.

We are the proud fifth owners of our 102-year-old house following behind the Colemans (1914-30), Moores (1930-83), Duncans (1983-2004), and Holmes family (2004-09).  All have shown their intensity of caring by their stewardship and looking after the details.

So we are thrilled when previous owners or their descendants come from near and far to attend our house party and share memories and photos of the house through the years.

Yours in house parties and celebrating people who care,

Thursday, August 04, 2016

#701 House on the Move

Historic photos of our Ozarks Bungalow are hard to find but we just keep looking.  Sometimes the stars align.

Until recently, the earliest photo we had found is this 1937 photo from Lawrence County in Pictures, published 23 years after the house was built in 1914. 

At the most recent meeting of the Aurora Historical Society, Bill told us about his family's early-20th-century house-moving business using horses and a winch.  It worked something like this...


Lucky for us, Bill still has a circa 1920 photo of a large white frame house moving west down the center of College Street with OUR HOUSE IN THE BACKGROUND!

With a closer look, we see more detail about the upstairs window (previously hidden by an awning in the 1937 photo); we can see a lighter paint color in use on the top floor; and if we use our imagination, we can almost make out the outline of the outdoor porch lighting. The porch visible to the left of the horses belongs to our neighbors Bill and Denise.  The porch visible to the right of the horses is ours.

Yours in appreciating historical society meetings, family archivists, magnifying glasses, and the spirit of house movers,