|Fire escape stairs gone ... |
Presumably a later addition for the safety of the tenants, not that
the stairs themselves looked particularly safe ...
When the spouse started removing cedar shakes from the veranda, it was obvious somebody was living underneath. Along with a camp cot and bedding, there were plastic boxes with dishes, a hotplate, an alarm clock and books, with carpeting on the ceiling and walls. A note was left for the occupant advising them the veranda was coming down, and shortly thereafter the items disappeared.
|Second floor veranda being dismantled ...|
|Both levels removed, with the only the brick columns remaining ...|
Family and friends volunteered their efforts on weekends, the spouse doing the majority of the demolition work himself. After finishing his night shift, he would put in four or five hours at the house before eventually heading home to bed. Because the power and water had been shut off in January, it was too dark inside the house after the insomniac's work day ended at 4:00 p.m., and she was only able to help on weekends. Her job was to carefully remove the wood trim from around the windows and doors, pull out the nails, then label it and take it offsite for storage. She hauled bricks from the dismantled chimneys down from the attic and second floors, stacking them against the exterior walls on the main floor to provide ballast during the move. The wooden columns, sandstone lintels and extra bricks not required for ballast were also taken offsite (offsite being a fancy way of saying the Sainted Parent's garage). Not to mention, her considerable cleaning skills were also put to good use ...
Immediately after possession of the house, the vandalism started. Windows were smashed and the house broken into on a nightly basis. One morning there was evidence someone had tried to start a fire in the front hall - at that point we hired a security company to patrol four times a night. We also tried to get insurance for the house ... our regular insurance company who we'd been with for years dropped us as clients, saying it was too controversial.
The police would often stop by while the spouse was working, especially if they happened to notice the front door open or, in one instance, the plywood in the parlour window being kicked out so the spouse could toss out a load of plaster. They kept a close watch on the house, and we were very grateful.
Despite the best efforts of the police and the security company, vandalism remained a constant problem right up until the day of the move, and we lost much of the original glass in the windows.
Since the plumbing, heating and electrical all needed replacing to meet code, we thought it best to remove all the lath and plaster from the interior while the house was still sitting at the old site - to avoid having a mess at the new site and annoying the neighbours even further. Seven dumpsters later, all the abandoned appliances, lath and plaster had been hauled away. The veranda was a popular spot for storing broken fridges, stoves and washing machines - approximately seventeen of them, if we remember correctly.
|Originally, we called this room The Library.|
As it never ended up housing more than a
single bookcase, it eventually became known
as simply The Fireplace Room.
|Second floor hallway ...|
|Old wallpaper discovered underneath|
the wood trim in the front entry ...
|Looking up the main stairwell to the second floor ...|
|Looking down the stairwell to the main floor ...|
|Stairs to the third-floor attic, |
and wallpaper inside the youngest's bedroom closet ...
|The Attic, after dismantling the chimney ...|
|Our one and only bathroom ... |
After relocation, the tub was moved into the youngest's
bedroom and the water damaged floor replaced.
|Chimney bricks stacked against the kitchen|
wall for ballast ...
On March 24th, the spouse was working at the house when a Building Inspector came by and ordered him to stop all work. Having been in almost daily contact with the Land Department, it came as a complete surprise not only to us but the Land Department as well, when the inspector said the offer of the house had been frozen a week after Council had approved it and we had no right to be doing anything to it. He said he hoped we hadn't removed anything. Just one more in a series of roadblocks that were constantly thrown in our path, presumably in an attempt to discourage us from carrying on. The issue was resolved the next day and work resumed.
During the demolition, a number of items were discovered in the walls and ceilings - a thermos cup, computer punch cards, receipts, a box of tiles, plus an Edwardian black silk blouse that was donated to the Glenbow Museum. The spouse also found a lock of hair, but he said it made him uncomfortable and he got rid of it. He and a friend who often helped with the demolition said they regularly felt a presence when working inside; always prefaced by a quick movement at the corner of the eye, followed by the smell of perfume and when they turned around, a small, dark-haired woman would be standing there. Both agreed she seemed friendly.
|Old photos and negatives, embossed wallpaper trim, |
engraved metal A.M.D. Gypsum Bandage medallion,
Red Canal de Vieux Button, an old electrical certificate ...
We finished our portion of the work on April 12th - the following day, York Shaw started their far more complicated preparations ...