We recently found a newspaper wrapped around one of the original wall studs of the house we are working on, from April 1927. This is the oldest one so far. All the other newspaper has been found on the plaster and under wall paper, and most of that was from the 1950's. I think this newspaper from 1927 must have been placed there when the house was being built, or not long after, which means our house is at least eighty-seven years old. This fits with my friends guess that the style of the house is similar to the 1920's or 30's. Notice the title of the article on the newspaper that says 'Man Should Take His Turn At Being Continent'. Huh? I had to look up the definition of continent, since I've never heard it used as an adjective before. Should man take his turn "exercising restraint in relation to the desire or passions"? Or take his turn "controlling urinary and fecal discharge"? Probably both, really.
It was achingly cold while we worked on the house last Sunday, but it didn't stop us from making a little progress and admiring the view from the upstairs window. We think we will make the room with this view be our office. I wonder if the view has changed much since 1927? I did some quick interweb research to see what was happening in the world in 1927, just to give my self some perspective about the folks who last looked inside these old walls, as we are doing now. It's very likely the people who built this house had a radio, but no television, since 1927 was the year the very first television images were demonstrated. I would guess that these people were listening to the live radio reports about the great flood of the Mississippi River in 1927, where the levee's broke in over a hundred places (which, by the way, was the flood that inspired the song When the Levee Breaks, made famous by Led Zeppelin).
They might have also heard about the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight from New York to France, and about a new national monument that was being carved at Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota. Iraq may have been in the news then too, since they gained independence in 1927.
It's unlikely that these Kentucky farming folks were roaring around listening to jazz and hanging out with gangsters in speakeasies, but if they were readers, it would have been a wonderful time to live. I skimmed the list of books published in 1927, and so many famous writers were still in action. Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Faulkner, and Franz Kafka - such big hitters! How fun would it be to look forward to more work from these writers? Of course, it seems more likely that the people building our house would have been enjoying the brand new radio program called the Grand Ole Opry, but you never know.
This is the closet in the upstairs bedroom. Notice how the closet was made into a square, but those triangular shaped spaces in the eves of the house were walled off (also notice there is no insulation!). Since storage space is in short supply in this house, I think we could do something fun with these spaces and make some cabinets or cubby-holes. I don't know how much junk people had in 1927, but it must have been less than I have now.
Same thing with the space near the top of the stair, on the left side of the photo. I could cram a lot of stuff in a space that size. In this photo you can see how low the ceilings are in these upstairs rooms. Because of the way the roof is built we can't take all these low boards off like I hoped, so we will have to get creative with the ceilings in these rooms so it doesn't feel too claustrophobic. Were people shorter in 1927?