Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, October 14, 2016

Let's Talk Rooves (or Roofs, It's All the Same to Me)

One of the things that makes Horner House, or any other second empire, so memorable is its mansard roof. So, what is a mansard roof? Technically, according to the dictionary "a roof that has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down." So, what does that really mean? Well, in the case of most second empires, a flat roofed "attic" area with a lower almost vertical secondary roof, leaving a very distinctive look. In our part of the country the flat roof has several options for covering, but that's a blog for another day. These days, the vertical roof also has many more options than it had back when Toad was first built and the only options were shingle or slate.

 Two vertical mansard roofs.

One of fun and distinctive parts of slate roofs are that they get to be more than just functional. The slate itself is large, overlaps, and can be cut into patterns. It can even be cut into different patterns for the same roof. 

 In the upper right corner of this photo is a board covered window in the vertical part of the mansard roof. Running horizontally across the middle of the photo is the metal flashing that has been exposed that lays along the bottom of the the mansard roof. It normally would lay down into the box guttering allowing rain to drain properly. There is one square slate missing which shows just how much of the slates are covered by other slates on a mansard roof. That's a LOT of rock!!!

This slate has fallen from the roof and is missing the corner. Most slate roofs are good for about 75-200 years. The Horner House is approximately 141 years old. We have already been told that our slate has passed it's prime and is in need of replacement.

Here is another photo of a fallen slate. For size comparison there is a concrete block and bricks in the photo. You can also see the area of the slate that has been painted red. This is the only area of the slate that was exposed when it was hanging.
 One last photo shows the three different shapes on Toad Hall. These are achieved with only two shapes of slates. 

 Next time we talk roofs (or rooves) we can talk styles of flat roofs, what replacement options are out there, and since it's October we'll throw in some Halloween Horror and talk cost too.

"If you only dream as high as your roof, then you are limiting yourself to dreaming higher"

-The Horner House Family

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Historic Military Photos

As Mom and Papa are going through their attics and downsizing we have been on one long slow trip down memory lane. Some of these memories are relatively recent, but some are many generations old. As a girl I grew up to hearing my Papaw Williams talk about his time in the Navy. He had many stories, most funny, about his time on a repair ship in WWII. By contrast, my Grandpa Hebble never spoke of his time in the Navy. I have always been fascinated by the WWII era and probably explains why I have been trying so hard to get more information on when the Horner House was used as a VFW Post. Honoring history is important to us, as is honoring our veterans.

Papaw Delbert Williams

Grandpa Leonard (Bud) Hebble

One of the items that we have spent plenty of time discussing is a photo from WWI of my Great Grandfather Hobert William's entire unit. We also have the sweater his Mother sent him (because he was not supplied with one) and several letters between them including the one telling her that he had eloped! (Oh my!)

Great Grandpa Hobert Williams' Unit. Can you pick him out? Ha ha.

When Mom was first given the photo it was rolled up,  it had been stored in a cardboard tube and hadn't been looked at in untold years. We were not even able to look at it because it started to crack and break when handled. It was taken to a conservator who spent months bringing it back to life. Once he did we found that it had:

Co. D. S.A.T.C
Winona Lake, Ind.
Lieut. E.C. Timms Com'd'g   
Because the photo has so many men in it, Mom has decided to donate it to the Indiana State Museum. We are planning on taking it over one day in October, when our schedules line up. She's already been in contact with them and they think they might be able to get a list of the men who were in that unit. 
Also on the history and honoring our military front, the Indiana State Museum is looking for photos to put up for Veteran's Day. Please contribute if you can!
Many thanks to our military men and women from the Horner House! And we'll see you all soon.
-Amanda and the HH Family

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Meet Our Newest/Oldest Family Member

As always this year has been full of bumps in the road for the Horner House and our family. Because of the sheer volume of these challenges we have been pretty quiet. Thanks to an old friend of ours, new to you, that is about to change...

Amy Hucks has been friends with Amanda since back in the day when Amanda's family still called her by her childhood nickname of Amy. This caused some initial confusion until Mom dubbed Amy Hucks... Amy Le Deuce, adopted her on into the family, and has let her get away with all kinds of mischief (while busting Amanda like normal) ever since. Family at it's best.

Thanks to Amy we have a number of old plans creaking into motion, and many new ones already working too. She has a background in IT (yeah!) and even better, fits well with the Irvington history of the house, as she is a polymer clay artist. You can find her on Facebook at Two Gals in a Clubhouse or under her newest project 1 Face a Day.

An example of faces in brooches that Amy Hucks sculpted from polymer clay.

One of Amanda's favorite "faces" sculpted by Amy Hucks.

To see examples of Amy's work in person, or have the chance to meet her, stop by the polymer clay booth at the Art Squared festival in Fountain Square this Saturday, September 17, 2016 near the Red Lion Grog House, rain or shine. And while you are there, pick up some works by local artists! Plenty of good works, good food, and good fun to be had by all ages!

Until next time, stay safe while you are partying out there.

-The Horner House Family

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The War Days and Post 7403

We haven't found a lot of information on the house's history during WWII; those were lean times for many people. But we do have a lot of history on one of the daughter's of the house. Norma became a WAC and a war correspondent. They called her Ed or Eddie as short for Editor and Morgan being her married name. Here's a great photo from the "War Years."

It took three of us to translate the writing on the back, but I think we finally managed it:

Ed Morgan and Wade Jolly (Folly?)
-only WAC correspondent in
Transportation C(350,000 men)
-and only WAC doing Field Trips alone

Wade - an artist with the soul
and talent of one - the
sweet disposition of an angel

atop the Fort overlooking Cherbourg
Normandy, France
August, 1944

What a great little piece of history....

We also know that, at some point after the Terrill Family sold the Horner House, it served for a very brief time period as VFW Post 7403. There is little to no information about this time in the home's history, but we did get one tiny hint at the State Library. (Gotta Love the State Library!)

This lovely little gem ran in two separate papers in October of 1948. It ran first in The Woman's Angle in the evening edition on Monday the 4th and then on Wednesday the 6th in the Logansport Press. Back in the day it was not uncommon for pieces like this to be written by society matrons and submitted to one or more local papers for the "society column," and then just run as written.

So what's so very interesting about this little piece? It lists the names of Mrs L. Dickerson and Mrs. Navel Hallinin as co-chairmen of Post 7403 of Indianapolis, which is us! So now we have the names of two of the people who were part of the post! And an event that they attended! Which is more than we had before. It's not much to go on, but maybe we can track down something from it.

For us, this is such a fascinating time in our house's history, and yet, there is so little information out there.  But we'll keep digging!

-The H.H. Family

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Dangers of Owning Old Homes

There are many downsides to owning one (or more) old homes. The upkeep, the covenants, finding replacement items, bleeding time and money... The list goes on and on. But did you ever think your old house could have it in for you? Would be out for your blood? We're not talking about ghosts, poltergeists, or even the evil ivy. Just the house itself. Sad but true. Or more specifically, all of the things that have been living in that house since lonnng before you took up residence. So let's discuss this before another hospital visit occurs.

Currently Legionnaires' Disease has been making the evening news all across the country due to the outbreak in New York City. At this time there have been four deaths in that outbreak. It turns outs that this very deadly form of pneumonia is what landed Eric in the hospital last week. We are so blessed and grateful that he is now safely home with us and recovering. Unfortunately, we don't know where he picked it up, BUT it is complicated by the fact that we do own the old houses. And we WILL BE doing some special testing, cleaning, and construction to make extra certain that it did not come from any of our homes or gets spread. Paranoid much? YES!!! We have to be! With Amanda's compromised immune system, we can't take any chances.

Front Parlor of the Toad Hall. Looks perfectly clean to me!

The point here, is this is the second time in three years we have had a family member in the hospital, and the doctors were running a lot of extra tests because we live in, and own a second, old house. Looking for things like special fungus, bacteria, etc. And this time they found one. It just might not have been living in the house. 

So. Precautions. This is why all those masks, gloves, and other bothersome safety items are suggested for cleaning, painting, and repairing your old home. It's a matter of health! And the next time your significant other reminds you to clean the gutters, replace a furnace filter, clean an air conditioner, or set a good example for the kids and wash your hands, please think twice before arguing. They love you and want a happy, healthy home environment!

Keep safe, well, and stay blessed. We know we are, to have our Eric with us tonight.

- The Horner House Family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bay Windows (Plural)

The house is supposed to have two, yes two, bay windows on it. One was removed long ago. Currently there is a lovely hole where the original bay window on the South side once resided. It was most likely structurally unsound when it was removed, as they shortened the two windows in the bedroom above and added a support beam in the remaining opening. Initially, this was the only "evidence" that a second window had ever existed.

 Here you can see the windows and the beam referenced above.

As time wore on were able to clear away enough of the brush at the base of the boarded up area that we found a portion of what looked to be the original limestone foundation of the window. This was very exciting and for a long time was the best evidence we had that the window really had existed.

 On left side of the photo up against the house there is a tree growing out of the middle of the remaining limestone and on the right side the limestone comes away from the house in a nice solid line until it stops pretty abruptly at the block wall. 

Then came the day we had some young men from the neighborhood come and do some work for us. They were asked to take any loose bricks and pile them up and cut down anything and everything, which they did. Bricks were pulled, pryed, dug, and stacked. The next thing I know they are asking questions about bricks laid out patio style... Wait! Wait a minute! What are we looking at?

 The black arrow points to a stack of foundation bricks that run along the inside of the limestone foundation. There is a matching pile that runs along the inside of the foundation on the other side of the opening. 

The black arrow shows a line of bricks that is most likely part of the original foundation wall of the house. 
A significant amount of new evidence to show that a bay window was originally on the
South side of the house. Still not convincend? Then check this out? Photographic proof. Thanks Gail!
 A photo of the Southside bay window. Intact. From the Terrill Family Collection. 
-The H. H. Family




Friday, July 17, 2015

Terrill Family Artchive - Gail's Visit and What She Left Behind

For those of you who follow the FB page, you saw that on July 1st Gail R. Anderson came to stay with us for a few days. Her great grandparents, George C. and Mary Amelia Terrill, owned the house for just over two decades in the early part of the twentieth century. Gail was here to do some genealogy research and to pass on more records for the Terrill Family Archive. 

The archive already consisted of digital copies of photos and documents, original deeds to the house, one day journal written by Mary Amelia from 1932, three scrap books made by Norma Terrill (Mary Ameila's youngest daughter, or going the other direction, Gail's Grandmother), and a desk once owned by George Terrill during the years of the Horner House. Memorabilia from at least one of the scrap books is somewhat pertinent to the Irvington neighborhood, as they lived there during the time period it was created. Until it is cataloged and the contents researched we will not know just how many gems and tidbits of neighborhood history we will find.

The new addition to the archive is much larger. Here are some photos to help tell the story:

To start things off with a bang we have two hand crocheted items with the Terrill family name on them. They are complete cylinders and having no idea what they could be used for Amanda showed her Grandmother the photos. She (Grandma) immediately recognized them as "pillow covers." They are fancy ends that would be stitched to the end of a pillow case to "dress it up." Both will need to be taken to the conservitors at the Historical Society for some minor repair work, but beyond that... WOW!

One box chock full of military correspondence, photos, notes, etc. Norma Terrill was a war photo journalist and was sent to Europe. One of the scrap books goes along with this box too. For those interested in the WACs this is a dream come true!

This bucket contains loose pictures and negatives. It's about half negatives. Be still my heart!

This stack of annuals has three from Shortridge High as well as one from the school where Mary Amelia and George met. We need to go through them and mark where the family is referenced and shown in photos.

Now for the crazy part. Yes, we are just getting there. Fourteen, count them, fourteen photo albums on this table! Oh my! Yes there are! They are all piled up there in the upper left hand corner. The large pile to the right hand side middle is genealogy research that was mostly compiled by Mary Amelia back in the early part of the twentieth century.

Here we have miscellaneous items including a 78rpm record made by Norma's son sent to her in place of a telegram.

Another stack of diaries! Seven more!!!

Last, but certainly not leaset, a drawer from George's desk. This has two of the photo albums in it, a few of the loose photos, and a few of the negatives. These were ones that Amanda pulled out while her and Gail were going through things. This is because these were ones that are specific to the Horner House or Irvinton. There is also a book in this drawer that once belonged to George Terrill that Gail has graciously gifted to the archive as well.

We are very grateful to Gail for the amazing gift that she has given to us. Getting this cataloged,  protected, and researched is going to be a massive undertaking, but with the all the support that we have received we know that it will get done. Many thanks to Gail for her gift! And many thanks to the members of the community for the continued love of everything old!

-The HH Family