Thursday, January 6, 2011

Porches Before And After

  After -New Front Porch as it looks today.

Front of house with no Porch. Arrows mark signs were old porch was.

My Old Historic House, With Sagging Side porches, when I purchased it 2006.

My Old Historic House, Side Porches, as they look today.

Close up of Porch Iron Railings with Sheep and Willow Tree,

Front and Side View of My Old Historic House, As it looks Today.

Close up of Porch Columns and Railings.

View of My Old Historic House, when I purchased it in 2006.

Front view of house with no front porch.

Front View of the house with  New Porch.

F   When I purchased ,My Old Historic House ,in the spring of 2006, it was in a sad state. It had not been lived in for several years and was not livable, when I bought it.The front porch was missing. According to old timers in Clarksville,the porch was removed after a major flood, from the Mississippi River ,around 1953. A set of brick steps were  put in its place. The side porches had suffered from many years of neglect. The bottom railings were gone and the upper railings were replacements. The roof line was saging, because the stone foundation ,under the porch supports, had crumbled. The porch ceiling was falling in and had became, a home for many birds inside. The columns were all but rotten and is no wonder ,the porch saged here and bowed there.
   The side porches were the first take on. I had purchased the house in  March, of 2006. That summer, I laid into, the two side porches. After most of them were removed, a set of jacks ,was  used, to raise the roof line and make it level. We did not know what would happen. I was afraid the walls would crack or fall in. After all ,the house was ,160 years old, and no one knew what to expect. But, all went well and we got it pretty level. The rest was pretty routine, but far from easy. To reproduce the porch  columns, 56 pieces of wood ,to make each one ,was needed. This ment ,56 cuts to each column and we had 8 to do. I have to admit, it did get easier and faster after the first one or two.Then everything needed 3 coats of paint.
   We used treated wood for the support system. And concrete footings were also used. We covered them, with the cut stone ,from the old porch foundation, so it would apprear the same. This porch should ,out last me.
  I replaced the few porch railings, that were left ,with new, hand made iron ones. I found a company, in Texas, Kings Metals, that had a nice selection of reproduction porch railings. I chose one, with a sheep, under a willow tree. It is a copy from one, found on an old home ,of the period, in the Garden District, in New Orleans. These iron rails, should never need to be replaced, just painted.
  The next major project, took place in the summer of 2007. A new front porch. I could see on the bricks were there was a porch, a line of old paint a discolored bricks, marked the spot. I have always said, if you study an old house enough, it will talk to you, and reveal it's secerets.When we tore off the old brick steps, we found ,parts of the old porch foundation ,in the ground. So we knew there was a porch ,on the front of the house, at one time. I was the architect. I studied a little in High Scool and College, about drafting. So I drew up the plans. I used the side porch as a pattern and winged it, the rest of the way. It took most of that summer, to finish, paint and landscape. I am so very proud of this porch, as it kinda appeared from no where.
  What a difference ,New porches can make. I just love them and they are one of the main reasons, I love this old house. I set on the front porch often, and watch the River. In the winter ,it is a great spot ,to Eagle watch. The up stairs ,side porches, are great for late night summer setting. One can hear the River ,slap at its banks, and see the barges go by. The downstairs side porch is my favorite spot. I love to set there and watch the world go by. Even on the hotest summer days, there is a breeze and lots of smells and sounds of summer. I am a lover and collector of Anique Wicker Furniture, and what a wonderful and exciting place to display it, on all my porches.
  Now, the maintaince on these porches is another store. Every year, I have to sand and repaint the wood floor. The River really takes its tole. The porch railings ,so far, have just needed to be cleaned. Someday ,I am sure ,they will need more paint. Each fall, I clean the spider webs and mud dopper nest, from the porch ceiling and columns. I have to repaint the wicker aften, or it would soon dry and crack off.And in the summer it is sweep, sweep.sweep!
  Come to Clarksville any time and take a tour. Sissy, my beagle dog, is always availabe for a jump and a kiss. I can take you on a tour, or you can just go down and set on the porches and watch the old Mississippi roll by. And if you want, go down town and visit my Antique and Gift Shop. Richard's Great Stuff.It's open every day but Monday, all year long, after I sweep the porches, each day.

Side Porches during Restoration.