Monday, June 20, 2011

The Story of a Lady

Once upon a time...

That's how I felt the first time I saw this house, sitting on the curve, and across the street from Walloon Lake, in northern Michigan, very close to Petoskey.  It is blurry... It's not your eyes.  Terry and I were married in January 1982 so the first sighting was the summer before.


It was empty.  Kind of forlorn, but looked like it could be saved.  The roof looked good. New even.

To the right of the house lived the elderly son of the last resident.  He was in his 70s at that time. 

 My Father-in-law, who was born in 1930,  remembered as a boy, during the Depression , the family that lived here,  would have a Christmas party for the children of the town and serve cookies and hot cocoa.  During that time and in the 1980's, there wasn't much of a town there.  A general store, a marina and  a very nice restaurant at the Walloon Lake Inn.   Walloon Lake was and is a "summer home"  location. A majority of them are owned by people from Chicago area or Ohio. 

At the turn of the 20th century, there was a big hotel on the lake and in 1898, Ernest Hemingway's family bought 4 lake front lots (about 1 acre)  and built Windemere, their vacation home which is still there.

Grandpa told me how long it had been vacant, but that was in the 80's and I've forgotten exactly, but I think since the 1960s.  There was a feud between the son, next door, and the sister in lower Michigan, on who would inherit this beauty.  So it sat. And sat. And sat.

We had to pass by it every time we left Walloon for Petoskey, in one direction, or Boyne City in the other.  I would look at it and my heart would actually ache at the the waste of such a beautiful old lady just sitting there sitting and waiting  for life.

I could just see her restored to the glory she deserved, owned by people  ( me, preferably!) that loved her and turned into a Bed and Breakfast.  But she wasn't for sale and she was on a lake meaning even in this state, who knows what the price would be.  Never the less, she haunted me.

One summer day, like many others, I parked the car and walked around,  peaking in windows and taking pictures.  Mr. Hass, from next door saw me and walked over.  I introduced myself.   Terry's family had lived on the lake for generations as well. 

Great Grandpa had owned the original farm that Terry's Dad had grown up on and where his Uncle still lives.   The Farm had stretched for acres right down to the lake until the year that the crops weren't so great and Great Grandpa couldn't farm the land on the lake because it was too rocky, so he sold it to pay the land taxes.  Sold it for a couple of hundred dollars.  We all know what lake property goes for now. So Terry grew up across the street from the lake.

So Mr. Hass, knowing I was not an "outsider" went back home and returned with this in one hand

and a key in the other.  He asked if I would like to go inside.  Would I?  Holy crap!  I asked if I could take pictures and he said, "Sure."  I was in heaven.  I learned this beauty was built in 1907.

Next time we get to open that front door and see what treasures she was hiding from me.


Sweet Tea said...

The house reminds me of the one that George & Mary lived in on "It's a Wonderful Life". What a beauty. Can't wait to see inside. Such a shame the owners would leave her empty and wanting. . .

Kathy said...

What a beautiful old house! I love houses like this--and sadly, they are slowly disappearing.

Intense Guy said...

Oh wow! I got goosebumps just reading this!

I can't wait to see what you saw inside!!

I wonder how many gallons of paint you would need to paint this old lady up? I'm sure it would be amazing to see her shine once more!

Gran said...

This would make a great bed & breakfast. And I can't wait to see what's inside either!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh she is a beauty!! What stories she could tell:)

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