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If this house could talk

Willard Hollopeter
Wood Lake, Neb.

My house in Wood Lake is 100 years old this year, and holding up good. They built them to last in 1910.

After we remodeled the house I went to the courthouse to find out who built it. The tax records listed the site in country sections and quarter sections. A 1904 picture of Wood Lake, taken from the south, shows a trail road going into town. The first house, in the picture, was a house that used to be on the corner of the block north of my house.

Mary and I worked on the house for over a year. I also hired professional carpenters, electricians and plumbers. When we got it to where we wanted it I had probably put enough money into it to buy a good modular, top of the line factory-built house, but this house has something that a newer one wouldn’t have, it has character. It takes a lot of years for a house to develop character.

Mary really liked the house, I am thankful for that. She got seven years in it and her touch is everywhere. I just hope that some astute future resident will say, “This house has known love.”

I had plans. I figured on having a 100th year birthday celebration for the house. We would invite a bunch of folks and have a cookout. I had planned, at that time, to gather up all my paid off bank notes, starting a little bonfire and ceremoniously burning them. Unfortunately I am still in debt and Mary is gone, so I reckon there won’t be a party.

As far as dwellings go. In other parts of the world, where buildings can be many hundred years old, this house isn’t all that old, and there are older houses in Wood Lake. But it has stood here on the corner of First and Main for a long time.

I think back on historical events that took place during the lifetime of the house. It was standing here when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with considerable loss of life. It was likely still settling in when the First World War erupted. It has stood here and watched history evolve. It has seen many residents come and go and it has weathered many storms.

Like many older houses it has had additions built on through the years and ended up being a fairly large house, much more house than I need.

I think, “Wouldn’t it be great if this old house could talk.” Think of the stories it could tell, stories of happiness, of laughter and of sorrow and pain, of good times and lean times.

Oh! What stories it could tell.


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