My house was built in 1918. WWI was ending. Some people had some money and others had very little. It was a very different kind of time from things we know now. Streets weren’t paved; most people still had horses and buggies, if they could afford that, or they walked where they were going. Prohibition was in force at the time. It was a simpler time in many ways. At our local historical society, we have information about the stores that were downtown, and to learn about them is fascinating. You bought your flour and made your bread, instead of stopping at the quick stop market on the corner, lol. You might have made your clothes, depending on how much money you had.
Old Mr. Ocker had enough money to build a double house, half for he and his wife and half for his daughter and son-in-law. He built a big strong house using a lot of oak, with a standing seam roof, and had it covered it with stucco that had small pieces of broken up, multicolored glass mixed in with the stucco. Stucco was a big thing at the time. (Since had to have the stucco removed and siding put on.) Inside he used doors that had been in some hotel; we can tell that cos several had the door knobs relocated to the other side, several were cut off at the bottom to make them fit, and there are some interior doors that have ornate key plates with Oriental designs on them. Other than those differences, the doors are all panel doors that are exactly the same. I have never been able to find out where the doors came from, and I probably never will. There were several old hotels downtown around and before that time tho, so maybe they were local and he got a good deal.
He built the house on a long skinny lot with not much land on either side of the house. On the lot to the south, next to an alley, was a small frame house that was torn down about 1934. Off to the north of the house was a cemetery which was established in 1861, and is the resting place of many Civil War soldiers. Also an interesting place to go to look at really old grave stones.
Down at the corner, there was a stop on a trolley line that ran thru these small towns. It was discontinued a year or so after the house was built, since there were now getting to be a few cars around, for those who could afford them.
There was electricity and water both available in town. There was running water in the house, but they still built an outhouse out behind the house. There was a concrete form built into the ground, a big square box with no concrete at the bottom. The “two holer” outhouse sat over top of the hole, which was the way outhouses were built.
A few years after we moved here, a hole started to open up in the back yard, straddling the property line between the two sides of the house. At first we couldn’t figure out what it was….then as it opened up more, falling into itself, and we realized: that is an outhouse hole! We put bricks and stones and hunks of concrete in the hole so nobody could ever hurt themselves because of it. I’ve since had it covered up completely.
Years ago I worked with a lady who, when she found out where I lived, told me that her grandparents were the Ocker family that built the house. We talked about the house and she told me some things she could remember about it. I told her we knew there was an outhouse out back cos the hole had begun to fall in and we had to put bricks and stones down in it.
OH, she said. Don’t ever go digging down in there cos there’s glass down in the hole! When old Grandma Ocker knew the revenuers were coming, she would take her bottles of moonshine and throw the whole bottle down the outhouse hole, so she wouldn’t get caught!
I like to know history, of my town, and my property and my house. So, there’s some interesting history, about the house and the outhouse hole. I think about the history I know of this place sometimes when I’m outside doing things, and wonder what it must have been like to live here then. I’m glad to not have to go to the outhouse!
Fascinating story! I think it’s cool that you met someone who was familiar with your house and got to hear some history about it.
Thanks Jackie. It’s a small town and I was at the right place at the right time, knowing their granddaughter.
As they say, timing is everything! Thanks for sharing this interesting story. I hope you have a great weekend. 😀
Thanks, and you as well!
Fascinating story! My grandmother’s farm, and, oddly enough, her outhouse, brings back many pleasant memories (a pleasant outhouse? – yes, this will require some explaining lol)
I was away much of my childhood (private residential school) and didn’t get home often, but when I did, it was preferably to stay with my grandma on her farm. They had indoor plumbing, but their bathroom was in a place that did not allow much privacy… so, the outhouse it was! Their outhouse was cleaner than any restroom I’ve ever been in (grandma always, even now at 92, keeps everything very clean).
Also I still have recordings of grandpa (no longer with us) with his guitar and his mason jar ;), sitting in the outhouse, singing, or ‘pickin’ and grinnin’ as he used to say.
Hope you have a great weekend, and I hope MaChatte is feeling better
MaChatte is all back to normal, her crazy self. They live in the moment…..
A clean outhouse….hmmm, I’ve been in a few and never was in one I could have called clean. Thanks for the interesting story! Your grandpa must have been a very interesting guy, and grandma, bless her heart, still going strong at 92!
Have yourself a great weekend too! Paint some good stuff. .
How great to know the story of your old house… my condo was built in 1979…. not too much mystery here!!!!!!!
I wish I could learn more but there is nobody older left from the Ocker family now, hasn’t been for many years. And our local newspapers on microfilm don’t tell stories like of houses being built. I bet you have some good local history to explore tho, even if it’s not your own house. .
Nicely done, Nancy. Who knows what tales your house could tell.
Thanks Steve. I wish it could tell me stories. History, especially history right here, fascinates me and I always want to know more.
Beautiful post, I loved it. My house was build in 1990… I can only tell stories about Mr. Bowie… 😉
Thanks Herman. That’s ok, cos your stories about Mr. Bowie are good and interesting as well, and plus he’s just so darn cute. You also have your beautiful garden! We like your stories.
What a great story, it brought me back to growing up in northern Vermont in a late 1700’s Colonial house. Between the barn, where they kept the horses and carriages, and the house there was a hallway that had a two holer in it. I remember as a kid playing long hours outside and not wanting to come in so instead I would use one of the holes when I needed to “go.” Weird, but fond memories.
Thanks! You have your own interesting out house hole story, and thanks for sharing it. I guess I must be a green neck too, cos I’ve been reading your blog and enjoying a lot of what you say. Frugal, thrifty, there’s a lot of those words apply to me too.
I love learning all about the history of houses each house has a story. This one is definitely interesting. 🙂
Thanks! I try to learn more, but more info is limited.