Thursday, May 30, 2013

Restoring the House on 30th & 4th

Update: The owner has given me permission to share the exact address of the house.

As I shared in my previous post,  I'm blogging from 27th Street in Kearney, NE and documenting the restoration of this lovely home on 30th Street and 4th Avenue.

The fire that nearly completely destroyed the interior of this home and subsequently took the life of one of the residents is still an unsolved mystery.  Since local police are actively investigating this tragedy, I will not be discussing any of those details on this blog. What I will be discussing is the near miraculous restoration of the home and surrounding gardens being done my contractor Lanny Johnson, a host of subcontractors and the owners.

The house was originally built in  a colonial style during the 1880s but has had several additions and remodels over the past 130 +/- years.  The task of restoring this property began this past January.  The goal is to have the owners back in their home by the end of the summer.  Some people think that this is mission impossible but the contractor believes it’s very doable. 

One of the first lessons that I’ve learned while working on this project is the importance of choosing the right wood. Lanny chose poplar wood for the window casings, baseboards, arches and all wood surfaces except the floors and stairs because it is the best choice for wood that will not be stained.   For the restoration, the window casings and baseboards will only be sanded to a smooth finish, primed and then painted.  The floors and stairs will be stained with a amber colored finish.

Here are photos of the new floors, which are in the process of being put in this week.

A little more background about Kearney, NE.

Kearney is situated between the cities of Grand Island and Lexington, NE.  According to the city's website the community was originally named Kearney Junction due to the fact that the town was located where the Burlington and Missouri made its junction with the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad.  The “Kearney” was taken from Fort Kearny, which was established in 1848 to offer protection to pioneers, Pony Express riders, and prospectors traveling west on the Oregon Trail.  According to the city's official website,  "Fort Kearny was the first U.S. Army Post on the Oregon Trail and was never attacked by Indians."   The site also notes: “ Observant readers are quick to point out the spelling differences between the fort and the town. The extra “e” in Kearney is not difficult to explain. Someone in the post office simply made a spelling error and by the time it was realized, no one felt a change was necessary."

In addition, to Interstate another major thoroughfare is U.S.Route 30, "an east–west main route of the system of United States Numbered Highways, with the highway traveling across the northern tier of the country. It is the third longest U.S. route, after U.S. Route 20 and U.S. Route 6. The western end of the highway is at Astoria, Oregon; the eastern end is in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Despite long stretches of parallel and concurrent Interstate Highways, it has managed to avoid the decommissioning that has happened to other long haul routes such as U.S. Route 66." -- courtesy of Wikipedia.

Shortly after my arrival, I had the opportunity to travel Route 30 from Kearney to Lexington.  One of my bags did not arrive with me and since, Kearney does not have an actual bus station, I needed to retrieve it in Lexington.  My first impression of Route 30 was, "Even I can drive this.  It's completely flat, has very few intersections and none of the curves that I'm used to trying to negotiate.”

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