The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

August 24, 2013

Jim Bailey: Buildings come and go, but home sweet home remains

No, not all of Anderson’s landmarks have succumbed to the wrecking ball.

The Paramount Theatre has been rescued. St. Mary’s, Central Christian and First Presbyterian churches stand unscathed. They’re attempting to bring back the Tower Building.

Then there are the private homes in the central city that have lasted well over a century. Just travel down Historic West Eighth Street and see how many have been beautifully refurbished, and on nearby streets as well.

Then there is the 113-year-old home we live in.

We bought the two-story corner property in 1968. Our papers said it was built in 1900. Instead of getting into the upward mobility thing, we’ve stayed put and made the house a home.

There’s a bit of history connected with the place. A former Madison County sheriff grew up there. And a nationally known gospel singer called it home for several years.

We’ve made some changes, of course. First thing we did was get rid of an excess of foliage around the perimeter, felling a couple of trees and bushes and seeing one big tree come down in a windstorm. The ice storm a decade ago did most of the job of topping our giant Chinese elm for us.

The home was large enough to house my mom during a recuperative period after her first heart attack, then give plenty of room to rear four daughters to adulthood. We did all that with one bathroom (we’ve since added a half bath).

Next month makes our 45th year of residence. We’ve gone through two furnaces, had roofing done a few times, added some insulation, rewired, replumbed and repainted the place. We’ve dealt with invading pests, added new windows and doors and had concrete work done.

But the basic house seems to be as solid as the day it was built. The framework is so sturdy you can barely drive a nail in it.

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