Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 2/365 The Bright House on Court Street

Today's photo is of our house - we've lived here 11+ years and this is the first picture I've taken of the front of it. The trees have gotten out of hand, so it's starting to look like Boo Radley lives here.

This is our third historic house (the first one was an 1875 Victorian gable that started out as a log house with a loft, then was built around that, the second was a 1900 Arts and Crafts that was hands-down our favorite house). This one - well, it's an experience.

It was built in 1858, by a man named Samuel Bright, on land that was originally an apple orchard in the 1700s. Samuel was the village tanner/saddler, and built our house for his daughter and her new husband. The couple lived here for two years before the Civil War exploded, and the husband went off to war, while his bride moved back in with her parents next door. Poor Samuel had just that year (1860) started another house (across the street from us) for his other daughter, and her new husband. He was a doctor, and left immediately with the local company to serve as medic in the war. He and his wife were still living with Samuel while their house was being built, so that daughter remained with her parents, and the house, with its one wall, just waited four years till the war was over. So Samuel ended up with one empty house (ours), a one-wall house (across the street) and both of his daughters back home with him and his wife and remaining 7 children.

One hundred and forty three years later, there are no more Bright's in town, and the three houses have gone through several owners, but otherwise they look pretty much as they did at the end of 1865. Our house still has the original window panes (and the original drafty windows), the five fireplaces, the American chesnut tree trunks that were used to built the main supports and walls, the solid worn plank oak flooring, and the wide woodwork and 8 foot tall pocket doors. Samuel's daughter would have no trouble recognizing her bedrooms, or her sitting parlor, but would miss the outdoor separate kitchen that stood where our garage stands now, as well as the barn that took up most of the backyard, and the lane that ran along the back to allow access for the horses. The last cherry tree from their orchard died 10 years ago, the apple trees are long gone, but the walnut tree is still there, and bearing bumper crops every year.

Samuel's house still stands next door (built in 1798), and the second house he built stands across the street, listed in the historic registry for being the home of Dr. Thomas Greer, the son-in-law medic who came home from the Civil War, to his one-wall house and his patient father-in-law.


  1. Wonderful narration -- made it crystal clear in my head. So wonderful to have that much history --- my mobile dates back to 1973:)

    And your house is just beautiful. Looks large -- glad I don't have to clean it!

  2. Ohhhh, LOVE the house. And the history to go with it. I just finished reading a book about Mary Curtis Lee - so much unfinished during the Civil War.

    Your house is gorgeous!

  3. Can Maverick and I move in with you and Chewy?

    Gosh your house is my dream house! I've always loved the high ceilings, tall windows and pocket doors.

    And, no, there is no way I'm posting a picture of my home. It's just sad.

  4. What a beautiful home! I love historical houses!

  5. Welcome to bloggy world! About time, too! You have such an interesting way of writing and you know so much, its about time you shared it with the rest of the world!

    I didn't know all of this stuff about your house! Very cool! Gives me a whole new appreciation for it:) We are in Michigan City, and heading back to Bloomington later today. My email will work again once I get back there. I tried calling you Thursday night, but you were out...I wanted to let you know I was laying on the beach next to Lake Michigan and how lovely it was:) As always, there are pics on my blog!