Sunday, January 22, 2006

Old Washington Saltbox House Faces Demolition

The Ledger Independent reported recently that the Code Enforcements Board is pursuing the goal of a "safer attractive" Maysville (Read Article). This caught my attention because of the saltbox house mentioned - near the end of the article - that was condemned by the board and now faces demolition and is one of only two saltbox houses in Old Washington. It also happens to be right down the street from where I live. Before it was condemned, a nice man lived there who took care of neighborhood stray cats and the house seemed to be in at least a decent condition. Almost overnight, after the home was condemned and the man moved out, nearly every window has been smashed in and the pillars that support the porch roof appear to have been pulled out from underneath the structure. It is sadly in a bad shape.

From the article:

"[Zoning Administrator] Wallingford said several groups in Washington have expressed concern about the possible demolition of the house. The property is considered a blighted structure, according to the board and is a hazard to the community. The Board of Architectural Review and groups in Washington would like to see the house preserved."

This would be a great thing if it comes to fruition. Unfortunately, it is unlikely. It appears that the owner of the home, who lives in another state, has not been cooperative in repairs and maintenance requests. With so many other historical buildings in the area in need of rennovation, for example, the McMurdy School Boarding House, the chances of this home being repaired are slim.

Saltbox houses are wooden frame houses with a long, pitched roof that slopes down to the back. A Saltbox has just one storey in the back and two storeys in the front. The flat front and central chimney are recognizable features, but the asymmetry of the unequal sides and the long, low rear roof line are the most distinctive features of a Saltbox. They were first seen in Europe around 1650 and remained popular throughout the colonial and early American period, perhaps because of the simplicity of its design.

posted at 6:26 PM by Jeremy Parnell