Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy 142nd Birthday!

Addison says: any excuse for an ice cream cake is a good one!

So today is the house's 142nd birthday. You may think it is odd that know the date, but we actually found it inscribed on the sill of the original portion of the house.

We made our discovery after we pulled out the old, narrow set of stairs and the old clapboard siding along the now interior stair wall. From what we can tell, that wall was the original exterior wall of a much smaller version of our house.

Addison's eagle eye noticed faint lettering, and after much deciphering we were able to read: May the 27th 1867 L.W. Needham. A quick Google search identified Lyman Needham as a local carpenter in our Village during the mid-1800s (how cool is it that we could Google that!). We did tax roll research to determine who Needham built the house for - John Denu Sr., a German immigrant that arrived in Wisconsin in 1866, shortly before he bought our lot.

Knowing that the house has been standing for 142 years has caused us to think about all the lives that have passed through these walls before us. How many babies were born here and how many families called this their home?

It's just a vernacular old house, but it's ours. And we plan to leave it better than we found it. Maybe a future family will celebrate the 200th birthday.


  1. I often think those very thoughts when I walk in the neigbourhood and see some of the older homes that have been around for about a century. It would be nice if we could have a scrapbook handed over from one generation to the next to make that kind of connection. Sometimes I wonder about the people who are buried in our nearby Cemetary and whether they lived in any of those houses. Interesting thought!

  2. What a great post! And it's wonderful that you are interested enough to look up the name of the builder and find out who the house was built for.
    I've done the same for my Victorian brick house.... built in 1896 by master builder Nathan Forsyth. he built many houses in town and a couple of the churches too.