Thursday, October 3, 2013

Poor Little Porch

Poor little side porch.  She's been sadly neglected for many years.

This porch is on the east side of the house.  She still has her original spindles and beadboard ceiling, but she's suffered a lot of indignities over her lifetime.  I thought she was original to the house, but when I found Sanborn maps for my neighborhood, this porch wasn't shown as part of my house until the 1910 map.  (Incidentally, that's about when the back of the house was added on, too, the part that's gray in this photo and what I showed you in the last post.)  There were doors at either end of the porch at one time; the thresholds are still there and I can faintly see the ghost marks of some small hinges, probably for a screen door.  When I bought the house, the porch floor was covered with icky brown carpet and there were no porch steps.  I ripped up the carpet right away, and bought the steps that are there now.  (They're actually interior stairs, salvaged from an old house, but it's better than having to jump off the porch.)

The porch floor is tongue-and-groove and it has some damage.  After extensive testing--which consisted of jumping up and down in various places--I concluded that the damage is water-related and that it's mostly at the front edge of the porch.

Those two holes you see at the edge of the floor, though, aren't damage.  I think they're from porch railing that used to be there.  Back before I painted that trim board green, I could see the outline of the rail post on it.  I think the railing went along the edge of the porch to where the original steps were.  There doesn't seem to have been a railing on the other side of the steps, though.  I really wish the porch could talk, so she could tell me what she used to look like.

If she could talk, I think she'd shout, "Get that stupid, ugly plywood off of me!!"

I don't know much about the porch's history, but thanks to my neighbor Floyd I do know why the porch has plywood all over it.  Seems the previous owner, a sweet little old lady named Esther, had a live possum in the basement once (which kinda puts my dead rat in the ceiling to shame) and was convinced that it had made entry via the side porch somehow so she had the whole thing boarded over.  I tore the plywood off and looked underneath the porch.  For a couple of seconds I considered getting under there for a better look, and then it occurred to me that I could stick my phone's camera under there and get the same end result.  This is what the camera saw:
I'm not sure if that's a basement window or what--so it seems I will have to crawl under there, eventually--but whatever it is was possum-proofed by another piece of plywood and a couple of cement blocks. Note the big gap at the top.  Why, a clever possum could squeeze through there in no time.  This whole contraption makes me laugh.

What I don't find funny at all, though, is this rotten board on the front of the porch.  Part of it looks like chocolate cake and has about the same consistency, too, so it needs to be either replaced altogether or have a new board sistered in.  
I'd like to at least get that board fixed, as part of my tucking-in-for-the-winter plan.  If I'm being really ambitious, I'd like to get the porch floor painted too so that it survives the winter.  I'm worried that if I don't do repairs to it now, I'll have to replace it in the spring.  Poor little porch.


  1. That porch is going to look great when you're done with it. The most amazing house.

    I wondered when I thought about the first picture if there had been a railing there.

  2. I really wished the kitchen in my old house could talk. It clearly had had all sorts of things done to it. I would have given a tiny portion of my kingdom to know what it looked like originally.

    1. Isn't that the truth?? That's how I feel about my kitchen, too. I don't think it was the kitchen originally, but I don't know for sure. There's a stovepipe hole in the wall in what's now my bedroom, so I wonder if it was the kitchen. I'd love to know.

  3. Interesting little porch! I can tell by your post that you love your house and it will look great when you get it all fixed!