Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning from Visual Clues

There are so many aspects of discovering your historic house that will help with uncovering the details and clues to its history. While it's important to search for historical documents and to analyze the architecture there is something much simpler you can do.

Spend some time conducting a visual survey of your house and property. Looking at your home and the lot that it sits on can be very revealing.  Sometimes we get so caught up looking at the minute details such as paint, nails or cornices that we forget to step back and see what the big picture is trying to tell us.

Look at these two photos. What important information can we theorize based on what we see in the photos? You can click the photos to enlarge. Leave your suggestions in the comments. Tomorrow I will post the answer.

Remember, every house, no matter what age, has a story to tell!

What to do the photos tell you about this house and property?
(click photos to enlarge)

Have I stumped you? It's probably not what you're expecting. But that's good because you need to expect the unexpected especially when it comes to houses!

Read the answer in Part 2.


  1. First, I know next to nothing about house histories or architecture but I’ll bite.

    The thing that jumps out at me is that the lot was possibly original to the shake home but subdivided onto which a new home was built.

  2. My guess is this is a very late Georgian or early Federal Period central hall home with that has been extensively renovated. It now sits on a modern raised foundation, and the original end chimneys have been removed. I also agree with Rorey that the shake home is older and probably original to the site, and the newer home was probably built by the same family of the shake home.

    Am I right? Do I win a prize??? :-D


    1. You don't win this time John but good guesses!

  3. Another guess is that the shake home might've been a barn at one time, and later converted to a small home or detached dependency.

  4. I think it is unusual that the house does not appear to front on a street. Again it is difficult to see in a photo but the exterior seems to have been modernized. I can't tell if the siding was kept as painted wood or if it is synthetic. The garages and garage doors are certainly fairly recent in age. And as John states, no sign of a fireplace. Overall, from the photos, the house does not look very old.