Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pictures Every Where

I love digital cameras, but sometimes it can be a pain to decided which pictures to keep and which ones to get rid of. Its nice to be able to shoot 10 frames of something and then be able to pick the best one. The problem is, I never seem to get rid of the ones I don’t want. I mean, you just never know.

This may be one of the most photographically documented restorations of all time, but do I really need 84 pictures of my first plaster wall repair job done in the kitchen. I mean, I am absolutely swimming in photos. If this had been old time film photography there would be one or two, at best.

I use Picasa to manage my photos. It is a great utility except that it is a bit of a resource hog. I’ve been going through old photos trying to decided which ones I want to send along with the application to have The Petch House listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Naturally, I will be sending photos of my house. I will want at least one shot of every exterior elevation, along with shots that highlight some of the more important exterior elements. There will also be some interior shots of the stairs, fireplaces, burl dado, and a few other things. I need to show its High Artistic Qualities {Said in a snooty voice}.

I also want to include pictures of houses I reference in the write-up. Because I’m claiming Mr. Mowery, the builder, is a “regionally prominent master builder”, I want to be able to prove that. So below are a few shots I’m considering. I also need to find an old shot of The Grand Hotel. Mr. Mowery is credited with building it. It was a pretty spectacular 1880s Eastlake Hotel in Old Town Eureka that was torn down in the 40s. I’ve seen several photos, so it’s just a matter of getting one.

The is a house on Hillsdale built by Mr. Mowery just 2 years before mine. I showed a few shots of this one last week, but this shot really shows off the detail. You’ll notice this has my front window. My window is actually a little more detailed than that one. Mine has 41 pieces of stained glass, while this one has a paltry 25 pieces of glass. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for them. I mean, come on, 25 pieces of glass. Who are they trying to kid?

This is a house I suspect is a Mowery house, but I’ll need to confirm it. It is only 3 blocks from me. It has been horribly butchered, but it has a lot of very similar characteristics to my house. The floor-plan is just like my house, only reversed and stretched a bit. It has the sunburst over all of the windows, but again, these are less prominent than mine. These sunbursts have 9 rays each, while mine have 15. The frieze is identical to mine. The window over the porch is identical. The porch is nearly identical, with the exception of the brackets. On the inside, it has my exact stair case, only going the other way.

On the left side, you’ll notice it has the large bump-out with the window that faces the front of the house. On my house this bump-out is on the other side, because the floor-plans are flipped, but the bump-out on my house only goes out a foot. The stained glass window in the front is much simpler than mine. The bay brackets are almost identical, but again, a slightly less complex design. My house is missing the gable decorations – stripped off when the asbestos siding was put on – but the witness marks tell me they were very similar to those. The shingles on the second story are staggered squares instead of the octagons, like on my house. Again, it is very similar, but everything is just kind of dialed down a notch. The only thing that is dialed up a notch is that paint job. I’m not a fan of it.

The only reason this one makes the list is because this is where Thomas Petch ended up after the divorce in 1905. The poor bastard was really slumming it. I’ve never been in the house, but just from looking at that hideous plate glass window on the front, I’m willing to bet the inside has not faired well. No doubt there was once a pair of narrow windows, or maybe even a large stained glass window where that modern monstrosity now sits.

This is the Vance house, which is on the same street as my house. It is about 6 blocks down. Of course, this house is in another league than my house, but it does have a nearly identical frieze as mine, and this house is already on The National Register of Historic Places. I’m not sure who the builder was, although I’m sure it is well documented. I don’t think it is a Mowery House, but I need to check.

The 2 commercial buildings in the above photos may or may not make the list. The only connection they have is that these were where the eldest son had is offices at the turn of the century. Thomas Petch sent all 3 sons to Stanford University and the eldest became a doctor and had a long and successful practice in town.

I’ve been questioning how much I want to get in to Dr. Petch’s life. I’m concerned that the write-up will loose focus. The house is the primary focus, with Mr. Mowery being the Regionally Prominent Master Builder. The life and times of Thomas Petch Sr. should add to the provenance of the house. I don’t think the son really needs to be in there with little more than a passing comment about his success as a doctor.

I think I’m nearly finished with the write-up. I have a list of 4 or 5 things I need to double-check on at the library, but other than that I think I’m done. I’ll probably re-read it dozens of more times and tweak it over the next few weeks. Now I need to pick the photos, and I think I’m pretty much ready to go. The way things happen, it probably will be close to the end of this month before I’m really finished with the whole package of information. It is quite a process. Fortunately I started all of this 3 or 4 years ago, so most of the writing was already done.


kathy said...

Imho, one can never have too many pictures, especially of a house under renovation.

Snap away.

Sandy said...

I love that house on Hillsdale. Takes your breath away1

Omar said...

Great pics. I particularly love the Vance house.. Someday I gotta make a trip out to eureka.

Norah said...

How many of your fellow applicants have been up close and personal with every inch of their buildings, enough to notice the gable trim witness marks? You're a shoo-in. Good call about Dr. Petch though: he may have spent his early life in the house, but since he wasn't George Washington he's peripheral to it as a historic structure.

That plate glass window has made me sad for years, but at least the house is still standing. Maybe one day it will fall into better hands.

Greg said...


In that case, I'm in very good shape.


It really is nice. In a recent article in the paper they said some of they heavy detail on the second story is cast plaster.


Oh, yea, The Vance house is one of my favorites. I sometimes get mail addressed to it and I always make a point to walk it down instead of just tossing it back in the mail.


I sure hope your right. I can say that they won't be able to complain about the write-up being too short.

And, yes, at least the house is still standing and still has the little brackets. There are a pair just like it on 9th between J and H some where that have been stripped of the brackets and covered in asbestos siding. They also have the plate glass window. The 40s and 50s were a bad time for Victorians in this country.

Ron said...


This is indeed a better photo of the Hillsdale house, and a rainy day is great for shooting at a north-facing house. But by the time you shrink this down to 72 dpi a lot of the detail your digital camera captured is lost. I don't know if blogs limit image size, but if you were publishing these photos on a regular web site this could be made a very high resolution photograph. We need to get to work on one for all those great Eureka homes where we can show off what a wonderful stock of beautiful homes this town has. This is one of many.

Al said...

let me know if you need an editor!
~writing instructor who loves your blog

Greg said...


I size them down so they fit on the page and load faster. I have all of these photos in much, much higher resolution. I forgot I had that shot of the Hillsdale House. I just stumbled on to it the other day.


A generous offer. Another pair of eyes never hurts, and a professional pair of eyes can only be good for the write-up. I may take you up on this.

Al said...

Please feel free. i'm all ...eyes. I think you can email me via my login?

Greg said...

Thanks again. I probably will take you up on the offer.