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Posts Tagged ‘teddy the dog’

EPA: Erogo Pecunia Administratio

July 28th, 2014 Sears Homes No comments

It’s been four years since EPA RRP became law, and yet based on my own admittedly unscientific survey, looks like it’s being largely ignored.

And in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

EPA RRP is an over-reaching, draconian government regulation with severe and long-reaching “unintended consequences,” such as decimating the value of old houses, and making the already onerous burden of old-house ownership ever more severe. If the lawmakers are truly concerned about the health of children (which is the claim), there are 1001 better (and more efficient) ways to invest and utilize taxpayer money.

Driving along in Norfolk neighborhoods, I often see work being performed on “old” houses (pre-1978), such as paint jobs, new window installation or other repairs that disturb “more than six square feet” of the home’s exterior.

According to EPA RRP, if more than six feet of a pre-1978’s home is disturbed, you must engage in all sorts of abatement procedures, including (but not limited to), tyvek suits, respirators, crime-scene tape, yellow warning signs posted at the corners of the property, and great quantities of six-mil plastic spread throughout the yard. (As this author writes, “The EPA just declared war on contractors, remodelers and homeowners…”)

In the last four years, I’ve probably seen three dozen job sites where “more than six square feet” is being disturbed, and yet how many times have I see compliance with the EPA RRP laws?

None.

Four years after this law was passed, many contractors have still not heard of EPA RRP. And those that are aware of it realize that the odds of getting caught are small.

While EPA estimated that RRP would add “about $35 per job” to the cost of repairs, real-world experience is showing that it adds three to five times that amount. Most homeowners already shop contractors by price.

One unintended consequence of this burdensome regulation is that it’s creating a bigger market for “fly-by-night” unlicensed contractors and their ilk.

Last but not least, EPA RRP also adds obscene amounts of six-mil plastic to America’s overburdened landfills.

For exterior work, contractors are required to put six-mil plastic out 10 feet from the work site (for the first floor), plus four feet for every additional story. This means that the guy painting your house will set up his 24′ ladder atop six-mil plastic, which is a violation of OSHA laws, but hey, OSHA’s fines are smaller than EPA’s, so you should probably break OSHA laws (given the choice).

Recently, I got a sneak peak of the 2015 revisions to the EPA Lead Law. Everyone should be aware of this new legislation. It’s quoted below.

Effective July 1, 2012, EPA’s new “Biome Protection Act” adds an additional layer of protection to delicate ecosystems in our communities, including any and all surrounding wildlife potentially impacted by the adverse health effects of lead paint.

Any and all “at-risk” wildlife at the work site (including but not limited to insects that fly, crawl, creep and wiggle), must be humanely captured (in EPA approved containment vessels), tagged, and be outfitted with size-appropriate half-mask respirators with a HEPA filter, TYVEK suits and steel-toed shoes and then released.

Upon completion of construction project[s], impacted wildlife must be recaptured and all articles of protective gear removed. To insure the safety of said animals, blood samples must be obtained and then submitted to the EPA for review.

If elevated lead levels are found in surrounding wildlife, contractors will be held liable, and subject to fines not to exceed $12 billion.

Lowes

EPA: Erogo Pecunia Administratio

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Contractor whos just learned of EPA laws.

Contractor who's just learned of EPA laws.

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To read about happier topics, click here.

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Happy New Years’ Day!

January 1st, 2014 Sears Homes 1 comment

It’s a holiday for everyone, even “Boo” (the cutest dog in the world). Boo, a Christmas present from my eldest daughter, is quite the companion. Today, I found him sitting quietly in a back room, reading one of my favorite books!

Mr. Ringer, Boo and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Boo

Boo pauses from his reading to say, "Happy New Year!"

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To read about old houses, click here.

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A Number of Nice and Natty Niches

December 1st, 2013 Sears Homes 10 comments

It was described as a “Modern convenience in a typically modern setting” (1928 Sears Modern Homes catalog).

The Montgomery Ward catalog said it, “Answers the problem as to where to keep the telephone.”

The telephone was patented in March 1876.  At the turn of the last century (1905), about 5% of U.S. households had a telephone. By 1930, more than 40% of American homes had Alexander Bell’s fancy new invention installed in their homes.

The new technology brought new housekeeping issues: All those wires were a bit of a mess. The phone niche solved that problem and made this wonderful new convenience even more convenient!

Interested in building one for your own home? Check out the photos below, one of which provides detailed specs.

And as always, if you enjoy the blog, please leave a comment!

To read about Hospitality Seats, click here.

To learn more about beautiful staircases, click here.

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The 1929 Sears Building Materials catalog offered this phone niche.

The 1929 Sears Building Materials catalog offered this phone niche for $4.70 (in Fir) or $7.50 (in Oak). Either way, it was a pretty sweet deal. However, that wallpaper looks ghastly.

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The Montgomery Ward Building Materials also

The Montgomery Ward catalog described their phone niche as "A Wardway Refinement" (1929).

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1929

And it's included "without extra cost."

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GVT 1929

Gordon Van Tine also promoted their snazzy extras, but in COLOR!! (1929)

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1929 Niche

There's a reason that this image (from the Gordon Van Tine catalog) bears a stunning resemblance to the phone niche shown in the Wardway catalog. Gordon Van Tine printed the Wardway catalogs for Montgomery Ward and fulfilled their orders, too. At least they had the decency to change the words around a bit.

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Phone niche in 1927 Builders Woodwork Catalog.

The niches above appeared in the 1927 Builders' Woodwork Catalog. Thanks to Bill Inge for sharing this wonderful old book with me. It's full of fun images, just like this!

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phone niche

This image (also from the 1927 Builders' Woodwork catalog) shows some detail on how these niches were built. If you look at the box on the upper right, you'll see the "bell box" in the top. Back in the day, the ringers were not an integral part of the phone. When we lived in Illinois, we had an early 20th Century home that had the two bells high on a kitchen wall. I imagine that it scared the housewife out of 20 years growth whenever those things clanged.

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1927 Niche book

Close-up of the niche in the 1927 Builders' Woodwork catalog.

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Elmhurst

The owner of this Sears Elmhurst (in St. Louis) went to great lengths to restore his phone niche.

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Phone niche also

Often, these niches get turned into tchotchke shelves (as seen in a Sears Lynnhaven in Greenville, IL).

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Niche Ersela

Ersela Jordan found this niche in a Sears House in Beckley, WV. Finding these old niches with their original varnish/shellac is a rare treat. Notice the surrounding wood trim is also unpainted. (Photo is copyright 2009 Ersela Jordan and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. So there.)

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Phone Ersela

Ersela found this niche in a Sears Lexington in Beckley, WV. The colossal egg is a nice touch. (Photo is copyright 2009 Ersela Jordan and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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To learn more about awesome built-ins, click here.

To let Rose know that her life has meaning and purpose and that she should continue perusing old catalogs and old books for vintage images and fun stuff, please leave a comment below. Each day, about 1,000 people visit this site. That’s a bunch of people clicking on through. I’m living on love here, so every comment brightens my day and lightens my step and enlivens my soul. Kinda. And on a side note, I’d like to be part of the worldwide effort to educate the American public on the proper use of the word “peruse.” Surely, it must be one of the most-often misused words in the English language (and don’t call me “Shirley”). Most people use peruse to mean, browse, or scan or read quickly. In fact, it means the opposite.

pe·ruse:  pəˈro͞oz/ 1. to read [something], in a thorough or careful way.

“Rosemary has spent countless hours in libraries perusing old magazines and vintage catalogues.”

The End.

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The Avalon: A Beautiful Bungalow at an Affordable Price

July 26th, 2012 Sears Homes 2 comments

As the “Tiny House” grows in popularity, I’m forever surprised that some of these old Sears designs are not being re-invented and re-created. Some of the designs - such as the Avalon - are just as pretty as they can be, making optimal use of small spaces.

In the 1920s, apparently many other folks thought so, too.

The Avalon was offered from 1920 - 1928, and judging by the number of these found in America’s cities, this was a popular design for Sears.

Looking at the photos below, I’d love to know - how many of these Avalon homeowners knew that they had a kit house?

To learn more about bungalows, click here.

Sears Homes

Sears Avalon (1928)

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house house ouse

Smart floor plan, too!

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Front porch

In the 1928 catalog, they showed this image of a screened-in porch.

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1928 Avalonn

The Avalon - from the 1928 catalog.

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house house house

A picture-perfect Avalon in Perry, Oklahoma. My oh my, what a pretty house. And I love the colors! Photo is copyright 2012 Kendale Benton and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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house ouse Perry

Another view of the world's most perfect Avalon. Photo is copyright 2012 Kendale Benton and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Dekalb

This Avalon is in Dekalb, Illinois. Photo was taken in 2002.

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Raleigh

Another perfect Avalon. This one is in Raleigh, NC.

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Park Ridge Dale

Dale Wolicki found this Avalon in Park Ridge, Illinois. Photo is copyright 2012 Dale Wolicki and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Sears Avalon in Richmond, in beautifully original condition

Even Virginia has an Avalon. I found this one in Richmond, and it's also in beautifully original condition. Note the three vents on the side gable and the detail on the chimney.

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To learn more about Sears Homes in Richmond, Virginia  click here.

To read more about Sears Homes in Oklahoma, click here.

Schadenfreude and Mudita: Two Very Different Ways of Viewing the World

May 5th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Here in Virginia, some call it “The Crab Theory.”

In Germany, it’s known as Schadenfreude. It means, “enjoying the misfortune of others.”

Growing up on an estuary off the Elizabeth River, we often went crabbing. And we learned that if you put a lone crab in a bucket, that crab will do all within its power to climb out of that bucket. The trick is to put two or more crabs into your bucket. When one starts to climb out, the other crabs will snag him and pull him back down.

Sadly, there are times when homo sapiens behave more like crabs than human beings.

Years ago, I really struggled and prayed to overcome envious thoughts and feelings. One day, I saw an article in the Christian Science Sentinel about a woman who’d spent decades truly cultivating the habit of gratitude. According to the article, her mother had taught her - by word and deed - that she should learn how to feel genuinely grateful when good things happen to other people, because each “good thing” was a divine promise that, “If it happened for them, it can happen for me, too.”

Buddhists call this Mudita. It’s the practice (and discipline) of finding joy in other people’s happiness and success.

In the anonymous, faceless world of the internet, I’ve noticed that people sometimes engage in very negative behaviors, saying things that are better left unsaid. In short, they’re behaving more like angry crabs than intelligent human beings!

I’m starting to wonder if the anonymity of the internet is making us a little too callous with our words. There are those who seem to delight in “pulling others down,” rather than lifting them up.

Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) is credited with saying that the “kindest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to His children.”

I don’t think Saint Teresa of Ávila would be a fan of the ugliness that sometimes appears online. 

Imagine how much sweeter the world could be if we practiced the discipline of “mudita” in all of our communications, both online and in person.

Maybe we need to abandon the crabby habit of schadenfreude and work on cultivating the saintly habit of mudita.

Dogs know a lot about love and joy. Even when theyre forced to wear silly hats.

Dogs know a lot about love and joy. Even when they're forced to wear silly hats.

To learn about Sears Homes (a very happy topic), click here.

To see more pictures of my cute dog, click here.

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Schadenfreude and Mudita and Internet Forums

January 4th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Schadenfreude is a German word that means delighting in the misfortune of others. Here in southeastern Virginia, we call this “The Crab Theory.”

Put a lone crab in a five-gallon bucket and Mr. Crab will do everything in his power to scale its smooth wall and crawl out of that bucket. Put two or more crabs in a bucket and when one starts to climb up, the others will grab him and pull him down. Unfortunately, sometimes humans exhibit the same negative tendencies as crabs.

In my own life, I’ve struggled mightily with envy.  And then one day, I read a story in the Christian Science Sentinel about a woman who’d spent a lifetime cultivating the habit of gratitude. She said that her mother had taught her to feel sincerely joyous and grateful for the good things that happened in other people’s lives, and to take it as a personal promise from God that, if it happened for them, it could happen for her, too.

The Buddhist have a word for this: Mudita. It’s the practice of finding joy in other people’s success and happiness.

For years, I enjoyed participating at a handful of internet forums, but recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, as more and more people seem to engage in a myriad of negative behaviors, such as might be exhibited by a pair of angry crabs in a five-gallon bucket. Sometimes, I’ve gotten caught up in a heated debate and posted things that were better left unsaid.

I’m starting to wonder if the anonymity of the internet is making us all a little too callous and way too careless with our words. There are those who seem to delight in “pulling others down,” rather than lifting them up.

And I surely don’t want to be one of them.

Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) is credited with saying that the kindest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to His children.

I don’t think Saint Teresa would be a fan of the “pulling down” that often occurs today on the internet.

Who among us hasn’t lost our temper and said something we deeply regret? Who among us hasn’t wished that we’d waited just a few minutes more (or hours) before hitting that “submit button”?

Maybe we need to abandon the crabby habit of schadenfreude and work on cultivating the saintly habit of  mudita.

Even on the internet.

To read about Aunt Addie, click here.

Theres a

Teddy the Dog knows a lot about love.

To learn about Sears Homes (a very happy topic), click here.

To see more pictures of my cute dog, click here.

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EPA RRP: Government Regulation Gone Mad

December 10th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Many people have still not  heard about the EPA’s “Old House Decimation Act,” also known as EPA RRP. According to this legislation (which went into effect Spring 2010), if you’re disturbing more than six square feet of wall area (inside or out) in a pre-1978 house, you must engage in all sorts of ludicrous, over-reaching abatement procedures, including (but not limited to), tyvek suits, respirators, crime-scene tape and yellow warning signs posted at the corners of the property, warning all your neighbors that your house is now eligible to become a super-fund site. (As this author writes, “The EPA just declared war on contractors, remodelers and homeowners…”)

Failing to abide by these onerous regulations can result in fines up to $37,000.

Recently, I got a sneak peak of the 2012 revisions to the EPA RRP regulations. Everyone should be aware of this new legislation. It’s quoted below.

Effective July 1, 2012, EPA’s new “Biome Protection Act” adds an additional layer of protection to delicate ecosystems in our communities, including any and all surrounding wildlife potentially impacted by the adverse health effects of lead paint.

Any and all “at-risk” wildlife at the work site (including but not limited to insects that fly, crawl, creep and wiggle), must be humanely captured (in EPA approved containment vessels), tagged, and be outfitted with size-appropriate half-mask respirators with a HEPA filter, TYVEK suits and steel-toed shoes and then released.

Upon completion of construction project[s], impacted wildlife must be recaptured and all articles of protective gear removed. To insure the safety of said animals, blood samples must be obtained and then submitted to the EPA for review.

If elevated lead levels are found in surrounding wildlife, contractors will be held liable, and subject to fines not to exceed $12 billion.

Below is a picture of a contractor who just learned of the newest EPA legislation:

And  a new promotional campaign from EPA:

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To write your representative about this business-killing legislation, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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Addie and Her Outfits, Part II

November 19th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

Not only was Addie strikingly beautiful, but she was also a snappy dresser.

And apparently, this proclivity for beautiful outfits started early. Like, at age two.

Young Addie

Addie - at about age two - was apparently a pretty well-dressed little girl.

Addie at about age 10.

Addie at about age 10.

By age 14, she was donning some pretty fine outfits!

By age 14, she was donning some pretty fine outfits!

Close-up of Addie and her flowers.

Close-up of Addie and her white dress (and gloves).

And my favorite photo of Addie, taken in 1894.

And my favorite photo of Addie, taken in 1894. Look at that tiny waist!

Addie - close-up

I do believe that's a little mink atop her hat!

This is from an advertisement that appeared in the 1904 Ladies Home Journal. Looks downright painful!

This is from an advertisement that appeared in the 1904 Ladies' Home Journal. Is this the type of corset that enabled Addie to have that tiny waist? Looks downright painful!

And another advertisement from the same magazine:

Tiny, tiny waists.

Tiny, tiny waists.

First, my favorite. I assume this was a traveling outfit for Addie, judging by the little bag at her side.

I assume this was a traveling outfit for Addie, judging by the little bag at her side. I read a story years and years ago about a Victorian woman who left behind a suicide note that said simply, "All this buttoning and unbuttoning." Looking at Addie's dress, one can understand how much buttoning one must have endured back then!

And its even got a little tie at the neck.

And it's even got a little scarf at the neck.

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And what a hat!

And what a hat!

Addie

Same hat. Different dress. Awesome parasol!

Addie

This is an interesting outfit, but it looks so incredibly heavy. And look at the fabric on the arms. Perhaps it's layered?

Another favorite is the riding outfit with a crop. Notice the kitty at her feet.

Another favorite is the riding outfit with a crop. Notice the kitty at her feet.

Addie

Apparently, Addie had a "favorite side" and this was it. She must have had a separate closet for parasols and hats, because she had a lot of both.

Apparently Addie had an outfit for cycling, too. However, this looks somewhat staged, as I can not imagine riding a bike in this complicated, flowing dress.

Apparently Addie had an outfit for cycling, too. However, this looks somewhat staged, as I can not imagine riding a bike in this complicated, flowing dress. Look at the detail on the cuffs, and lapels and buttons!

Another stunningly beautiful dress.

Another stunningly beautiful dress.

Hard to imagine playing tennis like this.

Hard to imagine playing tennis like this. However, I love the cap, and also the scarf around the neck. Look at the wasp waist!

Addies wedding dress (I surmise). This photo was dated 1896, the year that she and Enoch Fargo were married.

Addie's wedding dress (I surmise). This photo was dated 1896, the year that she and Enoch Fargo were married. She was 24 years old; he was 46.

Addie sitting on the steps of the Fargo Mansion. I love this outfit for its practicality and simple beauty.

Addie sitting on the steps of the Fargo Mansion. I love this outfit for its practicality and simple beauty.

I love this photo.

I love this picture of Addie in a white dress.

Its the only photo in the whole album where shes smiling.

It's the only photo in the whole album where she's got a big smile.

Cat

Addie and Katty. And another dandy hat.

Addie at the piano in the Fargo Mansion.

Addie in yet another gorgeous dress, as she sits at the piano in the Fargo Mansion.

And apparently, theres even appropriate attire for boating.

And apparently, there's even appropriate attire for boating.

Last but not least, this is a photo taken of Addie in 1889, when she was 17 years old. Even as a kid, she knew how to dress. Id love to know more about the history of this photo, which was found in the vertical files at the Fargo Library.

Last but not least, this is a photo taken of Addie in 1889, when she was 17 years old. Even as a kid, she knew how to dress. I'd love to know more about the history of this photo, which was found in the vertical files at the Fargo Library.

To learn more about the Fargo Mansion, click here.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

If you’ve any information to add about Addie’s beautiful clothes and/or styles of the day, please leave a comment!

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Pine Knot: Teddy’s Rustic Retreat (in Virginia)

October 3rd, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

When I originally posted this blog, I misidentified the retreat as Pine Knob.

The indefatigable researcher (and old house aficionado) Mark Hardin sent me an email and said, “The name is not Pine Knob, but Pine Knot,” and he also sent me a link that contains much contemporary information about the place, including an address!

This early 20th Century version of Camp David is located at 711 Coles Rolling Road, Keene, Virginia.  According to that website, the 15-acre farm was purchased by Edith Roosevelt (Teddy’s wife) from the estate of William Wilmer, and included a fairly new “worker’s cottage,” which would become their first couple’s little love nest.

It was Edith that named the property, “Pine Knot,” and it was Edith that hired workers to do a little upgrading to the property (although it’s hard to imagine what these “upgrades” could have been).

Total cost of renovations and property: $280.

The website states, “After their first visit there together in June 1905, Teddy Roosevelt wrote to one of his sons, ‘Mother is a great deal more pleased with it than any child with any toy I ever saw.’”

Edith and Teddy’s retreat is (and was) extremely  primitive, lacking indoor plumbing and electricity.

The amazing story of this “new” retreat first appeared in the Spring 1906 issue of American Carpenter and Builder. The article included photos about the new presidential retreat, built for president Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909).

This amazing piece in American Carpenter and Builder also included photos of the staff, and they were a pretty rugged looking group.

To learn more about life in the early 1900s, click here.

To read about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To read part II of this piece (and see more photos), click here.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat. I don't think this would have ever made the cover of "Homes Beautiful."

Interior of the retreat. Note the wood-burning stove.

Interior of the "retreat." Note the wood-burning stove and very primitive furnishings.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

Close-up of the crew at Pine Knob

Close-up of the staff at Pine Knob

Another close-up

Another close-up

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

part 2 of the original article

part 2 of the original article

And part 3

And part 3

part 4

part 4

And I found this in the December 1905 New York Times.

Whos Kermit?

And I always thought Kermit was a made-up name for a frog!

Part II of this story is here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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Our President’s Retreat at Pine Knob (105 years ago)

September 29th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

By today’s standards, Teddy Roosevelt’s presidential retreat would be described as extremely primitive. Situated on a 15-acre parcel in the Piedmont area of Virginia it was known as “Pine Knob,” and lacked indoor plumbing and electricity.

The amazing story of this “new” retreat first appeared in the Spring 1906 issue of American Carpenter and Builder. The article included photos about the new presidential retreat, built for president Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909).

Apparently, Pine Knob was close to the Virginia/West Virginia border, near Harrisonburg, Virginia. I’ve also included photos of the staff, and they were a pretty rugged looking group, and no one had matching uniforms. And where’s the Secret Service?

Actually, I think the security staff is comprised of the quadrupeds, otherwise known and described as bloodhounds.

I’ll bet the cell service out there was miserable. Oh wait, they didn’t have cell towers. In fact, the article below says they didn’t even have PHONE LINES.

Update! Mark Hardin found a contemporary website dedicated to preserving the history of this rustic retreat and found that the proper name as not Pine Knob, but Pine KNOT (which makes a lot more sense). Thanks, Mark!!

To learn more about life in the early 1900s, click here.

To read about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To read part II of this piece (and see more photos), click here.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat.

Exterior of the Presidential Retreat. I don't think this would have ever made the cover of "Homes Beautiful."

Interior of the retreat. Note the wood-burning stove.

Interior of the "retreat." Note the wood-burning stove and very primitive furnishings.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

The staff is fairly rustic, too.

Close-up of the crew at Pine Knob

Close-up of the staff at Pine Knob

Another close-up

Another close-up

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Last of three slices of the original photo.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

Original article as it appeared in the 1906 American Carpenter and Builder magazine.

part 2 of the original article

part 2 of the original article

And part 3

And part 3

part 4

part 4

And I found this in the December 1905 New York Times.

Whos Kermit?

And I always thought Kermit was a made-up name for a frog!

Part II of this story is here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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