Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wait, Is That My House?

Some of you may remember me mentioning
"the biggest thing"
"the coolest thing"

a couple of weeks ago and promising to reveal it in due time. Welp, it's that time. Now, don't hate if this isn't your idea of "the biggest thing". It positively floored me when I saw it and I couldn't wait to share it.

Part I:

Okay, so a while back I used the 1940 census to find out a little about our home and the people who lived here in the late 30's early 40's, the Mucks. I even got the chance to speak to their granddaughter Wilene and hopefully, someday soon I will meet her. It was a thrilling time for us to learn a little about the history of the house and it couldn't have gone better thanks in large part to Wilene's very thorough research. Frankly, we figured that was the end of the road, though.

I knew that I could go and search through records and try to find more about the families who lived here but I also knew that with house projects, vacation approaching and just work, we would probably never have time to do that during the day.

Part II:

A few Saturdays ago while I was at work, I got the most cryptic facebook post ever from Conan.

"Yes, wonderful things."

That's all it said.
I called him and asked what was up. He told me that I had to wait until I got home but I was never going to believe it. When I finally got home and opened the door I wondered what would be in the living room. A new kitten perhaps? Some Craigslist chairs that Conan had been eyeing? He told me to sit down at the computer and then he flicked on the monitor to reveal this:

Wait, what?
Is that?

It couldn't be, could it?

It was! It was our house!

Now, that in and of itself would be amazing enough but it gets even better.

Part III:

I may have mentioned before that Conan works at a really old camera store here in Wichita (the oldest in fact) and a large part of his job involves taking people's old photos and slides, fixing them up, bringing them back to their original glory and then re-printing them or putting them on a CD or DVD. Turns out, a man had dropped these off at the store where Conan works when he wasn't in or wasn't up front and he had sat down to get started on them that weekend. The first one he saw was this one:

he told me that he chuckled at the picture and then something gave him pause; the columns.
Then he looked a little closer. Those windows sure do look like our windows, too.

He looked at a couple of more pictures and started to feel like everything was adding up but he still couldn't be sure.

Then he saw this one, with our address number and it was official. These pictures that someone brought into where Conan works were from our house in the 1940s.
What. are. the. odds?
If you're good at math, go ahead and figure me up some odds because I would like to know.

Turns out, the man who brought in the pictures lived in our house with his parents right after Wilene's grandparents. Pretty incredible, huh? He said that they lived here until the 70s and then he bought the house from his parents and lived there until the 90s which, when you're talking about a nearly 100 year old house, is pretty recent. Conan asked if we could share these photos and he agreed so here are a few more from around the house in about 1946.

The backyard looks a little different now but basically the same. The garage still looks like that but unfortunately we have a lot less greenery back there and no clothesline.

This is pretty much the only one that was taken inside the house. I'm going to try and see if I can't get some more eventually. This would have been right where our living room shelves are now. How do we know? The little seam that's on the wood above their heads? Still there.

Here's the whole neighborhood gang hanging out underneath our carport. It also looks the same except for one thing. The column on the right and the little wall isn't there anymore. He told us that his dad took it out and replaced it with a metal pole when he bought a trailer that wouldn't fit down the driveway. That was one of my only problems with the outside of the house when we bought it and if we have the time and money, we would really like to put it back.

This is probably my favorite of the bunch and even though it's not of the house, it does have the intersecting street signs behind it which helped us definitively agree that this was our house. Aren't they so cute? Like real life little rascals!

Another one in the backyard and you can see our neighbor's garage/apartment. It's painted red now but it pretty much looks exactly the same.

The back of our house looks remarkably the same. There is one difference, though. They apparently had a well! There's still a pipe sticking up there. What I wouldn't give to be able to go out and pump water out of it!

There are a few more but they're not really of the house. If I ever get the chance to sit down and talk to Larry (that's the little boy on the pony) I might try to get a few more photos of the house if he has them. Pretty dang neat.

On a sidenote, apparently I wasn't supposed to tell y'all about the This Old House thing until it was officially printed or something like that so if you'll just stare at this pen here for a minute so I can "Men in Black" that right out of your minds that'd be great.

Now then, whatever you do, don't go back and read the previous post and don't look at the paragraph above this one. Deal? Deal.

But for real, as soon as it's all over and done with *officially* I will tell you ALL about it. ALL about it.

Oh, and extra credit to anyone who can figure out Conan's super cryptic "Yes, wonderful things." reference. I know I sure couldn't. I'll send you a postcard all the way from Wichita, KS. It'll be great.


  1. Conan's words- Its from the discovery of King Tuts tomb "What do you see?" :)

    1. Correct! He said that it was kind of like finding treasure so this was the first thing that popped into his mind. I've got a postcard with your name on it if you want to email us your address : )

    2. boo yeah! I just saw the King Tut exhibit in Seattle last Saturday :)

      I'm glad to see that you've expanded the ability to leave comments, there has been a few other times I've wanted to (mostly when you've had cat pictures!), but don't have google/open ID/wordpress, etc...

      600 East Maple #1, Bellingham WA 98225

    3. Very cool! I wish we could get something like that to roll through our neck of the woods. Strange about the comment thing, I didn't even realize it was doing that? Oh well, I guess I "fixed" it : ) Postcard's on its way!

  2. Replies
    1. It freaking is, isn't it? Gotta' love that old Wichita history : )

  3. What an amazing treat! This story kind of made my day. My parents live in a 110 year old house in STL and I would love to have something similar. Makes me want to hide some "legacy" photos behind the old radiator or something.

    1. You totally should! It's so much fun to find stuff in your house that was left behind. I've joked that if we ever sell the house, I will have a complete photo album just for the history of the house to give to the new owners.

  4. This is so cool! And so awesome that you actually got to speak with the previous owner to hear some of the stories.

    1. Yeah, I hope to speak to him more in the near future but he's a busy guy. He's actually a professor here in town which I thought was extra neat. Someday I'll have to have a "house reunion" with all of the people I've found who have a connection to this house.

  5. King TUT! This is by far my most favorite post! You are all Veronica Mars up in Wichita! ITS GREAT!

    1. Yes! Thank you! We are indeed the high school super sleuths of the east-ish side of Wichita : )

    2. And hey, if you want a postcard, lovingly filled out by the super sleuths themselves, just email us your address!

  6. How cool is that?! I am so glad your DH just happened to catch the columns in the picture.

    Now you have me wanting to get a hold of the daughter of the lady who once lived here. I have been tempted to, but have felt uneasy about it. She is getting older (like the rest of us) so I need get to it. My house is still known to the elderly here as Mrs. White's house. I would like to have a picture of her along with some of the house from years ago.
    Have a great weekend

    1. Yeah, he's got a good eye! I understand about feeling just never know what to expect when you contact a total stranger. We've been very lucky with both of ours (and now they're not really strangers anymore!). It is very cool to have a sort of family tree of your house, though.

  7. That is very neat. We've found old newspapers from the 1880's in our house but nothing personal like that yet. VERY COOL! Maybe Larry can be a part of the public television show no one knows about?

  8. That is/was so cool


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