Monday, July 30, 2007

Yay City Records!

Today I took a little trip down to the city inspections department and inquired about my house's history. The fanstastic woman at the counter pulled out my block's information and let me thumb through permits and assessments dating back to the 60's. I found the building permit from 1984 when the PO converted the house into a duplex. (grrr...) I also found out that my ugly white steel siding was installed in June of 1975. I also found that all of the houses on the block were built between 1898 and 1908. Mine's from 1928... what's with that? My house is the only one on the north side of 9th ave. on my block that's not from the 1890's. Strange, huh?

A gigantic smile slipped across my face when I found the last piece of paper that pertained to my house. It's a 1968 real estate assessment record that has lots of information and one faint picture. Mind you, this picture is prior-gross white steel siding. I especially like the little vent in the attic that has the trim around it. I've always felt that something should be up there, not just the vast expanse of siding that sits there now. I may have to go digging for that... we'll see how adventurous I get. The owners at the time were listed as Ernest D and Barbara F Somes, who purchased the house in 1955. I'll have to google them later to see what I can find.

The back side of this sheet had general information about the house. The report says that the house has 'pine or fir' trim throughout the house, but it also has the 'painted' box checked, so how would they know? I'm still hoping for oak. The first knothole I find may bring tears.
I ran over to the public library and asked if they would have any information in their archives about my house. The gentleman there referred me to a book I already own, given to me by my Grampa who has lived in the Fargo area since the 1950's. (except for ten years living out at the lake. I miss that lake!) My house, because it is not a substantial contribution to Fargo's historic architecture, was not featured in the book. The man then said I should contact the author of the book because he is extremely knowledgeable about Fargo's history. The author turned out to be one of my favorite Architecture professors! I had no idea, and I've owned his book for years! I took two Architecture History courses from him, so I'll have to see if he has any advice for me.
Closing soon. Salivating over upcoming demo. Hurry up underwriters!!!


Shawn said...

That's awesome that you found some records of the house. I haven't explored that avenue yet for either of our houses. I'll have to do that soon...

About the trim, you may already know this, but living areas often had nice oak trim and the bedroom areas had painted pine in order to save money. So, the most likely area to have oak would be the dining or living rooms.

Kelli said...

Maybe I can do that to kill time until we can close on our house. I'm a librarian by day, house fixer by night, so this kind of research is right up my alley.