Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Castle House


People around here call my home the castle house. 
I think it's funny, because it's only around 1800 square feet and hardly castle size, but I've been told that it's because of the turret.

Who am I to argue?

I get a lot of questions about my little cottage, from friends and strangers. I even catch people stopping to take pictures of it and sometimes, if I'm in the yard gardening, they'll stop and tell me how much they love it.

I always tell them I love it too, because I really do.

About four years ago, I was sitting in Ohio knowing that I was moving to Arizona and decided to look for an old house to love and not expecting much. 

There was nothing down in Phoenix and besides, it was too hot for me there, so I decided to look into the Northern part where they have actual seasons and plant life.

You know... flowers and trees, instead of cactuses and sand.

And then one day, I came across this picture:


(Sorry for the blurriness, but it's the original off the listing)

It was love at first sight.

Of course, you've seen what she looks like today:


It took a lot of work to get rid of all those weeds and to make it so the grass wasn't spotty. I planted in the flowers beds too, but it's winter, so you can't really tell. Spring will be here pretty soon though ;)

So, as soon as I got unpacked and settled, I started to look things up about the house.

All I had to go on was the original deed, but I managed to find out quite a lot with just that.

It turns out that around 1929, a single woman named Margaret, a lawyer here in town, decided to build a house when she was in her early 40s (the same age as me when I bought the house!).

She had gone to college originally in California, but when school was out she stayed with her sister and brother in-law here in this town.

I was able to find a picture of her online.


She looks determined, doesn't she?

Well, I guess she was, since she used to go downtown to where the bars are and drag men out by the ear to get them to go to court.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that!

Anyway, she never married, but her sister's husband died and eventually her and her sister both lived in this house. At some point she decided to sell and move, but I can't seem to figure out why.

I know she loved the house, because I can still feel her here and I know it sounds odd, but I get the feeling she likes me living here and she feels protective over me. In fact, I don't know if any of you believe in this sort of thing, but one day when my honey was in the house alone, sitting in the breakfast nook, he felt someone tug hard on his ear and try to get him to leave. When I told him about the story of her dragging people out by the ear, it gave him the chills. I just told her to leave him be and she hasn't done it since.

Maybe it's our imagination and maybe it's not, but it makes me happy to believe she's my guardian :)

So, after that I started to try and find the original plans to the house and I couldn't find anything until about a year and a half ago. I was looking at Pinterest and saw this picture:


I couldn't believe my eyes! 

Well, that got me started on another search to find out the builder and eventually I found out that the Searle house was designed by Arthur J Matot  via Antique Home Style.

Now that I had that information, I began to search the internets to find his book of plans and six months later I found it on eBay. YAY!


I waited with baited breath for it to arrive and see if my house was in there and sure enough it was!






The only odd thing was that it was originally meant to be a duplex. 


I guess she liked the front of the house so much, that she wanted it for a single home and I don't blame her. To me, it was the most charming house in the book.

I know it was never a duplex, because of the difference in the house design.

Here's my very rough plan drawn out of this house, upstairs:


and downstairs:


The only plan I could find similar in the same book was this one:


She just added the room in front of the dining room, another bedroom between the kitchen and the bathroom and of course the downstairs.

I think she did a great job :)



So, that's the story of my house.

Maybe one day I'll find more about it, but right now, I'm just happy living in this beautiful home, knowing that it was built by such a great woman.

xo
rue





76 comments:

  1. That is an amazing story! Love that you were able to find out the history of your very unique home.

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    1. I was thrilled to find all of that information :)

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  2. I love this story soooo much, WOW -- how cool that you were able to find a picture of the original owner, too. What a beautiful tale about a beautiful cottage castle :)

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  3. I love the story of your home! I do believe that she watches over you and I love that she tugged on your honey's ear!! That would give me the chills, too!

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    1. At least she's a friendly sprit :)

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  4. Your historical research is amazing! Obviously this house was there waiting just for you to find!

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  5. What a wonderful story! Your home has such character and charm, and fascinating history to boot!

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. You know how to weave history and storytelling into a fine art, Rue. So glad you're blogging again!

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    1. Awww.... thank you, Michael! I am too :)

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  7. This is the most amazing post! And your home is absolutely darling! Oh how I would love to live in such a charming place, oh my goodness yes.

    So Rue, what part of Ohio did you live? Forgive me if you've answered that before- I have a horrible memory.

    I am in North Columbus now, but grew up on Catawba on Lake Erie.

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    1. I lived in Delaware (right around you!) and then Xenia.

      Thank you! :)

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  8. A truly amazing story. Great detective work on your part. Good job and congrats.

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    1. Thank you! The time spent was well worth it :)

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  9. Absolutely fascinating!
    And the fact that you were able to find her picture, this book, etc...what a fun read this post was. :)

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  10. What a wonderful story and I just adore your new home and what you have done with it.

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  11. It's a storybook house! I love the roof, is it cedar? I live by the water, so many of the houses have cedar shakes, not mine though. And we share house numbers, I'm also 520 :)

    I'd be interested in knowing where you got your info? Was if free, or did you have to pay for it?

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    1. I believe it is cedar, but don't quote me on that.

      Quite a bit of the information was free, but I had a membership for Family Tree, so I looked a few things up on there. The reason I know that she drug men out of the bars, was because there was a newspaper article about it. Newspapers contain a great deal of information, because they used to tell you everything that people did back then.... going out of town, who they were visiting, where they were headed to school, etc. Really neat stuff :)

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  12. It sounds like it was meant to be, and I loved the research you did. The roof is so unique, and I it's wonderful that it has been maintained with its unique design.

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    1. Thank you :) I love that roof, although, I'm not sure what I'll do when it comes to replacing it. No one around here does that kind of work, so I'll have to bring someone in. Not something I'm looking forward to.

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  13. What a fascinating post and how cleaver of you to have found so much information about your house. I particular like the fact that you found an actual picture of the lady that had it built!
    Thanks for sharing
    Jeannette

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    1. I was amazed that there was a picture of her online, myself!

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  14. What a great story! I believe Margaret is very happy to see her home filled with love and so well cared for.

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  15. I love that you were able to learn the history of your home, and especially information about the woman who had it built. The pictures really round it out.

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  16. Strong women need to stick together. And it sounds like her spirit has stuck around to take care of you. Listen to her. I love the house. It is unique and so very quaint!
    Brenda

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    1. I really do listen to her. If I get a feeling that I shouldn't do something to the house or in general, I don't and so far everything has been great :)

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  17. What a wonderful story ! I love the look of your house, it´s so charming <3. Thanks for sharing.Have a wonderful week.
    Hugs
    Caroline

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    1. Thank you!

      I wish you a wonderful week, as well :)

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  18. I love the story about your house! And I do believe the original owner is there watching over you.

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    1. Thank you, Penny :) I'm glad she is.

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  19. This is amazing! I love that your research paid off in helping you find out about Margaret. Surely she was an early supporter of the vote for women! And of course she approves of you being there in her house.

    I have a big collection of vintage women's magazines and I always pore over the house plans in them, always noting that often there was only one bathroom, and that one sometimes on the 2nd story. (We are so spoiled today.) But to find your own house in a book of original house plans would be a real gift.

    From the post I read recently when I first "met" you, I thought your roof had to be thatched, but in Arizona? So curious--is it a wood shake roof? Inquiring minds want to know! Whatever it is, it appears to be original and well-maintained.

    When we walked into the 1920 farmhouse we bought in 1990, there was an overwhelming sense of quiet and peace. I didn't even care that it only had one bathroom and a long narrow kitchen made out of the old back porch. I knew it was mine. When we returned after signing a contract and having it accepted, we found out that it belonged to a man who was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and an author, his wife a neonatal nurse. After 15 minutes with them I knew that the house had been used to a gentle family.

    And a few years ago two men in their mid 80s knocked on our door, grandsons of the family who built the house. We gave them a tour of everything and they told us so much about how it was when they would spend 2 weeks every summer here as little boys with their grandparents. They said their bedroom was a tiny room built on top of the root cellar. That room is no longer there but we still dig up shards of dishes and bottles that were thrown out by the concrete block building is where sausage was made and cured.

    I bet you find old odds and ends in the ground around your Castle there! Lovely story; I adore house stories!

    Dewena

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    1. I'm sure you're right about her being apart of the suffrage movement. I can't imagine she wouldn't have been, since she was one of the first women lawyers in Arizona.

      This home actually has two bathrooms and both of them are original to the house! The one upstairs has been slightly remuddled, but I know it's original, because the plumbers could tell when I had some work done in there. The one downstairs has the original 1930s tile and sink. It's REALLY tiny, but I'll share it sometime :)

      No, you're right, the roof isn't thatched, it's actually wood shake. I was told that it had been redone about 10 years ago, but they kept it the same as the original roof. I'm not sure if that's true or not though. I can't seem to find out who did it.

      What a wonderful story about your house! I would love it if a family member of hers stopped by, but sadly she never married and didn't have any children, so I doubt it will ever happen. I can hope though ;)

      I've found a few things.... a 1930s ink jar, a really old rusty spoon, and an old sign. Nothing really spectacular, but at least it's something.

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  20. I left a comment last night, but don't see it today? Maybe your house guest doesn't like me? I loved learning about your home and it's history. We were lucky to find the history of our home too. About 8 years ago I was out front in my garden when a van stopped, rolled down the window and asked me I lived there. Well she told me her father built our home when he was working at Sears. They asked if they could set up a date to come over and see the inside again. I invited them for dinner and they brought pictures and stories. It was an exciting day. So I know how you feel about finding out about yours!

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    1. I'm sure that's not the case LOL She doesn't seem to mind me chatting about her on here, at least that I can tell ;)

      How wonderful, about your guests! I would be over the moon happy, if that happened to me :)

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  21. Your beautiful house reminds me of on that I am sure I have seen in a Thomas Kinkade picture! xx

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  22. What a neat story about your house! Your home is just lovely and so unique. I enjoy my visits here...:) Have a blessed and beautiful week!

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    1. Thank you so much, Vicky :)

      I hope you have a lovely week too!

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  23. What great detective work! I love your house with it's turret and the way the roof is shingled is so interesting.

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  24. your home is beautiful and i love how much history you were able to dig up!!!

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  25. I understand why you fell in love with your house. It has charm and a days-gone-by feeling to it. The roof is so unusual and the turret, well, they make the house! The yard fits the house. I like your kitchen, especially the built-in-table and benches. I love all the history you came upon about your house. About a gazillion years ago, probably 1996, I lived in Arizona, halfway between Sierra Vista and Tombstone. The house was actually on the land that was once owned by the Clantons. It was a wonderful piece of land and at night it was so quiet and the skies were so clear, filled with stars. I loved it there. Sorry for rambling. Hope you have a good week.!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. LOL You can ramble anytime, Deb :) I've been down there and that was a lovely description.

      Thank you!

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  26. I'm in LOVE!

    With your house ... with the story behind the house ... with the woman who still lives there with you (yes I believe) ... with you for dropping by my blog so I found you.

    I'll be back!

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    1. I love your house too! Thank you so much :)

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  27. Hi Rue, what a charmer and I think you were meant to live here and take over. What a strong women indeed who built this house and your story is a great one. I just love it and the history makes it extra special. Thank you for sharing this fascinating information. Blessings to you always in your lovely home.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you, Celestina and you're welcome :)

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  28. That is so utterly cool that you know the history of your charming house. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  29. How wonderful to have all this rich history! You were just meant to be here! I think it was destined to be!

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  30. Hi Rue! What a marvelous house story! How fortunate for you to find the picture and then the book! She was a very independent gal for her day! :) I'm so glad ou came back to blogland!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. Yes, she was!

      Thank you, Shelia. Me too :)

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  31. I love your house!! It's the type of house i would love to live in, and i love the story. I am glad you came to my blog
    because now i found yours!!

    Kathy

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    1. Thank you, Kathy!

      I'm glad I found your blog too :)

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  32. Rue, I think that story is amazing! I can't believe that you found it on Pinterest and you were able to find a photo of her online. We live in a 1920's cottage, too. We know a lot about the owners, from neighbors and since we are only the third owners, there was a lot of documentation in the house, but I think your story is cool!!

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    1. I was completely shocked when I found it on Pinterest! I called everyone and told them lol

      You're so lucky that your neighbors know so much. Sadly, mine don't know anything at all.

      You have a great house :)

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  33. How very cool to have all that information and history about the house. It's such a pretty home; so quaint and inviting.

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  34. So cool that you have so much info on your house! Our last house was a mystery house. Part of it had been built there as an office, then not long before we moved we found out that part of it had been moved in and added to. Remodeling it you never knew what you were going to find - we were going to move a wall once and found water pipes in it. Have no idea what they went to! Our house now is only 9 years old and I miss the squeaks in the hard wood floors from the old house. I've tried to make it seem somewhat more like me. The previous owner had not changed one thing from the builder grade. It was a beige box. Walls, ceiling and floors all beige. Not a curtain to be found and very few nail holes so I assume she never put much on the walls either. I don't know how many gallons of paint we have gone through but it was worth it. Still have lots of plans but some of them have to stay on hold a bit.

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    1. A lot of my plans were put on hold here too. I wanted to live in it for awhile before I made any choices. In fact, it took me 3 years to finally paint my bedroom lol Look for that post soon :)

      Like your house, everything was painted beige/brown, outside and inside. And they wondered why it took 5 years to sell it lol

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  35. There are so many things about this post I find fascinating. The fact that you actually found a picture of the original owner, that she was an attorney back when few women were, that you saw the house on Pinterest. Well, I could go on and on, but what is most fascinating to me is the ear pulling! We were in Savannah last month and did a 'ghost tour'. Now, I have to say I neither believed nor disbelieved in ghosts. But all that has changed. As I was about to take a picture, I saw the orb of light fly past my camera. Apparently they aren't seen by the naked eye, just the camera picks them up. So yes, I can easily believe she is watching over you Rue. :)

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  36. Trust me... I'm just as amazed as you are!

    I've never been on a ghost tour before, but I always thought they sounded like fun. I hope that orb didn't follow you home ;)

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    1. YES, I believe in that sort of thing and YES, this is amazing, fascinating, awesome and so many more fascinating words that I can't type! How awesome that you have that photo of the original owner, the house plans, the builder's plans...all of it!!! PHENOMINAL!!!

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  37. I love this story - and this house was clearly meant for you to love it!! Interesting how she's still protecting you - your own personal guardian angel!!

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