Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tiffany's Steakhouse

Just a little to the east of Skate World is this building at 4876 West Erie. I vaguely remembered a restaurant being in there decades ago.

It was the home to Tiffany's Steakhouse from around 1973 until 1982 or so. The restaurant was one of two locations, the other being in Elyria.

Here's an early ad (below) for the pair of restaurants that ran in the 1973 Lorain Telephone Book. The identical ad ran in the Elyria phone book.

Although the Lorain restaurant disappeared from the phone book and directory in the early 1980s, the Elyria location apparently thrived, lasting into the 1990s. It too was absent from the phone book by 1996.

I never had the chance to eat at either Tiffany's location, which is too bad.

I think the place was ahead of its time. It looks like its steakhouse theme would really be a winner now, with manly meat fare and old school cocktails regaining popularity.

I think this same building – with a 4900 West Erie Avenue address – was one of the homes of Ed Blahay Transportation Company, and later, Benny's Restaurant. I'm going to have to do some more research and confirm it, and then prepare a proper post in the future if that's the case.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Green Lantern Camp – Part 2

As I mentioned before, none of the regular city directories before or after 1939 had a listing for Green Lantern Camp – making it virtually impossible to research.

However, the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory did include a listing (below) for W. F. Brenner, the man associated with Green Lantern Camp fourteen years earlier. The camp was no longer listed.

The 1962 Dickman Criss-Cross Directory for Lorain County also included a listing for W. F. Brenner. In this directory, he finally had an address: 5004 West Erie Avenue.

The Lorain County Auditor website parcel result for 5004 West Erie includes both a duplex as well as a small cottage. (Both structures have a "year built" date of 1900 – meaning that they were built before 1900.)

Here's my shot from last weekend (below). The yellow cottage on the left (referred to on the Auditor website as a "rebuilt cottage") has its own address: 5014. The other buildings are all part of 5004.

I have no idea if any of the buildings in the "now" photo match up with those in the vintage photo of Green Lantern Camp. I think the location is correct due to the fact that the Brenners lived there. I also think that the location of the telephone poles and the railroad tracks support this theory. But it's impossible to know for sure.
Here's a few aerial views of the property (below).

I'm guessing that the very small shack behind the cottages – seen as a brown building with tan roof – may be one of the original cabins. 
But I could be wrong.

And I was wrong! Click here for an update showing how wrong I was.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Green Lantern Camp – Part 1

I received the above postcard – with the caption "GREEN LANTERN CAMP, ROUTES 2 & 6, LORAIN, OHIO" – in an email from Paula Shorf. "Have you ever heard of it before?" she wrote.

Indeed I had – just recently too. It had appeared in a listing of tourist camps in the 1939-40 National Directory Service Lorain Directory along with Hialeah Cabins.

1939 Lorain City Directory Listing
The directory listed its location as Stop 110 1/2. According to the interurban stop information on the Lake Shore Rail Maps website, that would roughly put its location a little west of the undercut, somewhere between Franke Drive and the old Garwells store.

Of course, these types of mysteries bug me to no end, and I had to find out where this camp had been located. But how?

There are a lot of mobile home parks in that area today, and I suspected that one of them most likely started out as Green Lantern Camp. Unfortunately, the name 'Green Lantern Camp' did not appear again in any of the regular Polk city directories – it was only in the National Directory Service book, and just that once.

Stumped, I went back to that 1939-40 directory and began to cross reference the camp's listing. Could there be a name associated with the camp?

There certainly was (below).

1939 Lorain City Directory Listing
W. F. Brenner was the name listed as being associated with the camp. His personal listing (in the Bs) also included the name of his wife: Ramona.
Interestingly, Green Lantern Service Station was located at the same stop at the camp. Apparently it was part of the camp property. Was it the building in the foreground of the vintage postcard?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Drive-in Article – August 9, 1984

Ah, my preoccupation with Dog 'n Suds isn't quite over yet.

Here's a nice article about both area drive-ins – Ilene's Dog 'n Suds and Dinner Bell. Originally appearing in the Chronicle-Telegram on August 9, 1984, it's a relatively newer article compared to what I usually transcribe and post. But it's pretty informative.

It's written by C-T Staff Writer Geoffrey Barnard and includes a nice history of both drive-ins.

Fading drive-ins embrace old times
C-T Staff Writer

ELYRIA – In the old days before McDonald's and other sit-down, fast-food restaurants, drive-ins were THE place to get fast food or a quick snack. They were also THE place to hang out.

Teen-agers, waited on by carhops, munched hamburgers and milk shakes behind the wheel of daddy's '57 DeSoto, Studebaker or old Nash. In the '50's, they packed drive-ins from the Sunset Strip to Martha's Vineyard.

Drive-in chains flourished, much like the fast food chains of today. In 1964, there were more than 600 Dog & Suds drive-ins, one of the prospering national groups.

Although many of the drive-in chains have since folded, leaving boarded-up restaurants littering the roadside like concrete dinosaurs, 102 Dog & Suds are still operating – two owned by Ilene Hampton, a resident of Elyria and Naples, Fla.

SHE IS NOW in her 20th year of ownership of the Dog & Suds at 2050 North Ridge Road, Sheffield Township. She is one of only three 20-year owners in the history of the chain.

Although many areas no longer have a single drive-in, the Elyria area has two. The Dinner Bell drive-in, an independent restaurant, has also been operating at 6340 Lake Avenue since 1964.

William Reynolds, of Elyria, says he has been working hard to make the drive-in profitable since buying it three years ago. Reynolds, a worker at The Pfaudler Company, bought the Dinner Bell because his family background is in the restaurant business.

"It's not bad work if you want to work 12 hours a day," he says, adding that the business is "getting by."

Mrs. Hampton has not only gotten by in the drive-in business, she has prospered.

"I stay in the drive-in restaurant business because it has been good to me," she says. "I like (the Sheffield Township) restaurant the best. I took it over when it was in bankruptcy and built it up. That would make anyone proud."

Her successful Dog & Suds restaurant has enabled her to buy several Elyria real estate properties, enter into partnership in a North Ridgeville beauty parlor and open The Naples Drive-in and Restaurant in Naples, which she oversees in the months that her Elyria restaurant is closed.

REYNOLDS SAYS he hasn't had time to "build up" a steady clientele like the one that keeps Mrs. Hampton comfortably in the black, but his business is "steadily getting better."

"The thing about Ilene's business," Reynolds says, "is her root beer. It's her drawing card. Also, this highway (newly opened Route 204 [sic]) has helped me out."

The trick to Mrs. Hampton's root beer is that it is homemade. The Dog & Suds chain sends its owners to school to learn how to make the special brew, and provides the restaurants with the equipment and ingredients for making it.

Mrs. Hampton, however, attributes her success to her steady customers and the quality of service.

"This has been a repeat business for years," she says. "They keep coming back because of the service and the quality of the food. But you have to have the girls (carhops)  to sell the product."

Reynolds agrees that service is the strong suit of his drive-in.

"You try to have the girls get across to the people that you care about them," he said. "Our service is definitely slower than fast food restaurants, but what you lose in speed, you gain in individual service."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Budmar Farm

The view this past weekend
I've admired Budmar Farm (above) on North Ridge Road for a long time. Every time I go to Polansky's on Dewey Road nearby, I pass the stately estate, and wonder what the story is behind it.

That's why I was happy to find the article below on microfilm. It was written by Hermaine Speigle and ran in the Journal on August 29, 1971. It tells the story of the interesting couple that bought the rundown old farmhouse around 1948 and transformed it into a handsome showplace.


Home Tour Includes Amherst Hilltop Farmhouse
Staff Writer

BUDMAR FARM, the country home of Burton (Bud) and Marilyn Jenne, sets so high above North Ridge Road, Amherst, that the driveway almost parallels the frontage to make the grade manageable.

The knoll on which the 100 year old farmhouse sets drops again, to give visitors a breathtaking view of sloping pasture and rolling fences to Rock Creek Run, hidden by groves of brush and trees.

The home and farm are on this year's American Association of University Women's Home Tour, Oct. 2. Visitors will find it a unique example of country living with all the advantages of city living, too.

Bud Jenne was an Amherst shopkeeper, owner of H. and J. Cleaners, when he and Marilyn bought the 11 acre farm and run-down homestead 23 years ago. There was no electricity. All water was carried from an outside pump, and the hillside privy was a very necessary fixture.

Excellent sewers, water and electric power lines which serviced the sanatorium on the south side of Ridge Road were tapped.

"We can't imagine why the former owners never did this," said Bud. "All utilities were easily accessible, having been installed on the north, our side of the road."

The Jennes closed off the upstairs, and installed the bathroom on the ground level. They also built two large barns.

Bud finds the farm ideal for his hobby-occupation of raising standard-bred Tennessee Walking horses. He "showed" champion horses for many years, but no longer does this since he is employed as a harness racing starter.

His most famous horse, champion "Sun's Knight," now 18 years old, grazes peacefully in the pastures. There is also a mare, a suckling colt and a yearling.

The Jennes planned major remodeling of the house six years ago, to bring their view indoors as much as possible. A spacious kitchen-dining-family room occupies the rear of the house, and large picture windows frame the beauty of the seasons.

Bud was artist-designer of the remodeling, says Marilyn, while she refereed utilitarian ideas in the kitchen.

Focal point is a huge brick fireplace wall in the family room. An oil portrait of "Sun's Knight" shares a place of honor with the rifle which Marilyn's great-great grandfather, Lewis Hanchet, carried in the Civil Ear.

Natural-finish wormy chestnut boards panel the walls, and random plank flooring covers the family-dining area. Circular rugs in bright blue add a dash of color.

The old farm kitchen now has new cupboards and up-to-the-minute appliances. Interesting is the brick backing of the counter which extends into the room, giving Marilyn ample L-shaped working space.

"We didn't have any problems with bearing beams," says Bud.

Working with Mrs. Hamilton Carlson, a friend and decorator, Marilyn chose off-white carpeting for the living room and master bedroom beside it.

Unusual is the medallion-type, baskets-of-fruit print used on the sofa, a love seat and chair with ottoman. The pear print, in orange, yellow and soft green, is used again in matching pictures above the  sofa.

Although she says she never plays it any more, Marilyn enjoys dusting the Esti [sic] pump organ, more than 70 years old, on which her mother took her first piano lesson.

Most of the antique treasures in her home, she said, are art glass and china from her mother's collections.

There are rare and unique examples of cranberry glass, Tiffany vases,  a Bisque doll and figurine, Mary Gregory syrup pitchers with pewter handles and hinged tops.

A pair of Aurene bud vases, signed, are delicate and exquisite, but so simple in design that a casual glance might lead you to think they were of no special interest, whereas they are truly priceless and irreplaceable.

There are also blue milk glass and the more usual white milk glass, but in unique covered dishes with a swan, hen and kitten tops. Each has inset eyes of a different color.

Marilyn has also given her grandmother's Delft china plates, coffee mugs and lusterware prominent display.

In her bedroom, antique dolls sit in a century old rocker.

Marilyn had one antique find which is native to the homestead. When dismantling an old barn, they uncovered, hidden in the beams, a pharmacist's bottle labled "Epizotic, for horses and adults. A cure for gleet, strangles and influenza.

Surrounding the house is a four-acre plot of fenced land, hillside and rolling contours, that Marilyn and Bud keep nicely mowed.

Tour visitors will find relaxing here so restful that they'll really hate to leave. They may even get a glimpse of "Sun's Knight" and the new colt.

For tour tickets, contact Mrs. F. H. Smith, 1358 Hawthorne Ave., or Mrs. Andrew Keep, 1086 Hawthorne Ave., Lorain. They are handling reservations for the luncheon at the Lorain Country Club, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Proceeds for the tour of six homes, three in Amherst, two in Lorain and the sixth in Sheffield Lake, will go to the club's scholarship fund.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Al Doane Remembers: The Tourist Home at 1219 West Erie

Partial 1931 City Directory Listing of West Erie Ave. 
I received an interesting email from well-known Lorain historian and author Albert Doane concerning my post about the tourist home at 1219 West Erie Avenue. Mr. Doane has a unique perspective about the tourist home – because it was right across the street from where he grew up at 1224 West Erie Avenue.

"I knew the family very well," wrote Mr. Doane. "This home was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Smith H. Stone. The Stones had three sons and one daughter. Son John started work for my father's electrical business that was conducted at 1224 West Erie in the rear garage."

John Stone also figures in a cute story Mr. Doane relates about when he was born.
"John always remembered when he and my older brother Bob came home from school, John beat Bob into my house to claim that he got to see the new baby – me – first."

The former tourist home at 1219 W. Erie
(now demolished)
Smith Stone's tourist home was a busy place that was host to both celebrities and working men. 
As Mr. Doane noted, "I remember John Stone, son of Smith Stone, telling me that one time Al Jolson came to Lorain to do a show at the Palace, and he roomed at the tourist home at 1219 West Erie. John also remarked that in the summer, the Army Corps of Engineers would come to Lorain to do repair to the harbor breakwaters with a crew of men and their tugs, crane, and barges. There would be some men renting rooms at 1219 West Erie for the duration of their time in Lorain."
Mr. Doane noted that Smith Stone had other business endeavors besides the tourist home.
"Mr. Smith Stone had a cigar store Confection store in the basement of the Verbeck Theater at the time of its fire (December 1905). The Stone family made popcorn balls in the barn for sale on Broadway."
1905 ad from the Lorain City Directory
Thinking about the tourist home reminded Mr. Doane of other pleasant memories of growing up in that neighborhood.
The former Doane home
at 1224 West Erie Avenue
"I remember the constant running of the street cars on West Erie all the time, and the steady stream of trailer trucks traveling on the street," he noted. "Our dog never got hit by the trucks nor the street cars. West Erie was a nice street to live. It was a short block from the lake, where we kids grew up living at the lake most every day."

Although the tourist home at 1219 West Erie is gone, the barn behind it remains – and Mr. Doane has a memory connected to it too. 

"My brother Bob and Bob Stilgenbauer each built an 18-foot sailboat in the barn in the rear of 1219 West Erie, and, with the help of their buddies, lowered both boats by rope and sweat from the second floor of the barn to the ground."

Special thanks to Albert Doane for his reminisces.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Name Blondie's Baby Daughter – April 1941

April 22, 1941 ad which ran in the Lorain Journal

Blondie has been entertaining us on the comic pages since 1930.

In the early days of the comic strip, Blondie was a beautiful and carefree "flapper" with a lot of boyfriends, including rich Dagwood Bumstead. When the two fell in love and got married, Dagwood was disinherited by his parents for marrying beneath his station. This forced him to go to work, and thus the premise of the strip – namely the day-to-day life and problems of a middle-class family – was born.

Along the way, Blondie and Dagwood had two children: a boy and a girl. The boy – originally nicknamed Baby Dumpling – eventually became known as Alexander.

When the baby girl was born, however, a mail-in contest was held to name her. The ad above announcing the contest ran in the Lorain Journal on April 22, 1941 – 73 years ago today.

Hundreds of thousands of the comic strip's fans sent in suggestions before a name was chosen. Do you remember her name? (If you don't, I'll reveal it shortly.)

Anyway, Blondie is one of my favorite strips and the best of the classics that have been around for decades. It's still well-drawn and well-written, incorporating modern technology and fads to keep it fresh and topical. And the situations are universal enough that everyone can identify with the beloved characters.

Channel 61 in Cleveland used to show the old Blondie movie series featuring Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton. I remember watching them on Saturday afternoons in the late 1960s. There's several where Dagwood is working for someone other than Mr. Dithers and I remember being confused.

Here's the well-remembered opening that was created for the movie series for when it was syndicated on TV.

(I was such a Blondie fan that I even watched the little-remembered 1968 TV series featuring Will Hutchins as Dagwood and Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers.)
Anyway, in case you forgot – the Bumstead daughter is named Cookie!

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Dog 'n Suds' 54th Year – or is it?

Although I'm a little late announcing it here on the blog, I'm really happy to note that Dog 'n Suds has been open for a few weeks. I've already eaten there once (after a stint last week on Jury Duty in Elyria), and I enjoyed my usual light, healthy lunch of a footlong coney dog and large root beer.

Despite the fact that Dog 'n Suds has been a favorite topic on my blog since 2009, I'm still not exactly sure how long the drive-in has been there out on North Ridge Road.

Various ads for the restaurant in the Chronicle over the years have been doggone inconsistent.

A Grand Opening ad ran in the Journal on July 1, 1966. A 1973 ad states "8 years at same location," putting the opening in 1965. A 1979 ad mentioned "15 wonderful years," which would make the opening about 1964. A 1981 ad invites customers to "Celebrate with us our 17th anniversary" so it seems to favor the 1964 date. A 2008 Chronicle article mentioned that the restaurant opened in 1957 and was purchased by Ilene Hampton in 1961. And lastly, a sign at the restaurant right now reads, "CELEBRATING OUR 54TH YEAR."

It doesn't really matter when it actually opened. I'm just glad it's still there – it's the last Dog 'n Suds in Ohio. Along with the Dinner Bell over on Lake Avenue, the drive-in helps keep Lorain County a magical place to live, where time stands still and things don't change much from year to year.

So be sure to head out to Dog 'n Suds and help Ilene and the drive-in celebrate their anniversary – whichever one it is!

A July 1, 1966 ad from the Journal
An April 17, 1969 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A March 29, 1973 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A Feb. 21, 1974 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A March 21, 1975 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A May 23, 1981 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A May 17, 1982 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter in Lorain – 1954

What was Easter like in Lorain in 1954?

This short article – which ran on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Saturday, April 17, 1954 describes it very nicely. It's actually quite quaint in its description of overflowing church attendance and the "usual Easter Parade" which my mother has mentioned to me many times, to my disbelief.

Also of interest in the article is the reference to the opening of the 1954 season at some of the resort dance halls east and west of Lorain.

That sure is a cute photo. I wonder if the Frederick family still has that four foot Easter bunny?

Anyway, here's hoping you enjoy a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

David Shukait Article – April 1957

Here's a vintage article (above) about David Shukait, the man who created Lorain's iconic Easter Baskets that grace Lakeview and Oakwood Parks. (Click on it for a readable version.)

I'd posted a similar 1966 article that ran in the Journal back here; the article above is a little bit older. It's from April 17, 1957 and ran in the Chronicle-Telegram. It's a slightly different take – written by Dan J. Warner – on the same subject matter, namely how Mr. Shukait came to create his baskets.

In the article, Mr. Shukait has just received the patent for his basket design, right on the verge of his impending retirement.

As usual, there are incorrect dates, the kind that have plagued the story of Lorain's Easter Basket for many years. The basket was not installed in Lakeview Park until 1941 (as noted back here). Interestingly, the article makes reference to Lorain having five baskets in Lakeview and Oakwood Parks.

It's supposed to be a beautiful Easter Sunday, so I'm sure Lakeview Park will be packed with families making their annual pilgrimage for a photo opportunity. On one of these Easters, I'll have to swing by Oakwood Park and see what it's like over there, crowd-wise.

The best article about Lorain's Easter Basket is still the one written by Rona Proudfoot back in 2009 with extensive input from the Shukait family. Rona's byline has been unceremoniously scrubbed from the online version, but nevertheless you can still read it here on the Chronicle-Telegram website.

And in case you're wondering, Rona still has her flickr collection of Lorain Easter Basket photos (which you can visit here). Be sure to take a look – I'm sure you'll recognize a friend or neighbor.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trotter's Easter Ad – 1964

Here's a cute Easter-themed ad for Trotter's Office Supply, which was located at 515 Broadway in Lorain. The ad ran in the Journal on March 17, 1964 (and is the last of my 1964 Easter ads).

Roy Trotter was formerly a foreman at Thew Shovel before becoming a vice-president at Eldred's in the early 1950s. Eldred's was an outfitter of books, stationery and office supplies that was located at 375 Broadway.

Around 1957 or so the firm became Trotter's; by 1960 the firm had moved to the 515 Broadway location. It remained there until the mid-1960s, when the address became vacant.

Today the 515 Broadway address is part of the sprawling Lorain National Bank complex.

After the office supply company closed, Roy Trotter operated the Colonial and Blue Bird Bargain Store at 1644 E. 28th Street.

You don't hear too much about Gibson greeting cards these days. American Greetings acquired the firm in March 2000.

That's a good looking cartoon rabbit in the ad. It looks like the artist actually looked at a real one before trying to draw a cartoon one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lorain Creamery Easter Ad – 1964

Here's another top-hatted Easter bunny ad from 1964 – this time for the well-remembered Lorain Creamery (one of the favorite topics on this blog over the years). The ad ran in the Journal on March 17, 1964.

This bunny is a little less menacing than the giant that towered over the kids in the Pic-Way ad.

Courtesy Ebay
It's kind of a good deal in the ad: buy 2 dozen eggs (you're going to color a dozen of them anyway) and get an Easter bucket and a coloring kit for two dimes.

Although we weren't customers of Lorain Creamery's milk delivery service, we did have milk delivered by Home Dairy. Memories of the milk man coming to our house on Skyline Drive are still very clear.

We didn't have a little milk door at our house on Skyline (we did on W. 30th Street) so our milkman – Bill – used to open up the garage door and leave the milk carrier alongside the steps leading into the house.

Milk men are a funny memory, one that will surely die with the Baby Boomers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pic-Way Self-Serve Shoe Marts Easter Ad – 1964

Here's another Easter ad from 1964 – this time for Pic-Way Self-Serve Shoe Marts. The ad ran in the Journal on March 26, 1964.

I don't know about you, but this giant top-hatted bunny gives me the creeps. There's something oddly sinister about him. Maybe it's his razor-sharp incisors, and the way he seems to be hungrily eyeing the little boy. (The bunny is dressed for dinner, after all.) Or it could be his height, which would give the 6-foot tall Harvey a run for his money.

Anyway, Pic-Way Shoes first showed up in the Lorain City Directory at 3105 Grove in the 1959 edition. It continued to appear in the book all the way until the 1980 edition, when the address went vacant.

The address was later home to Frederick Heating and Air Conditioning in the late 1980s. Recent tenants include Ice Cream Heaven and Our Place Restaurant.

I'm sure most of the Lorainites who read this blog paid a visit to Pic-Way at some point of another. We did, although with all of the options available to us at O'Neil's and at Midway Mall (such as Nobil Shoes, Faflik Shoes, Thom McAn, etc., I'm not sure how often we went to Pic-Way as part of our regular shopping trips to South Lorain.

Here's what the 3105 Grove location looks like today (below).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Steve Polansky Easter Ad – 1964

Here's a nice, uncluttered Easter-themed ad for a place I shop at every Saturday – Polansky's Market on Dewey Road in Amherst. It ran in the Journal on March 23, 1964 – 50 years ago.

I like the design of that cartoon rabbit chef giving the OK sign about the easter ham, which is also a great illustration. I also like those 1964 prices.

I was at Polansky's on Saturday as usual, picking up a (if you'll pardon the expression) pork butt for a nice, easy Sunday dinner of pulled-pork sandwiches. It was excellent.

Don't know if you out-of-towners missed it, but Sophia Polansky passed away this past January. Sophia and her husband Steve founded the business in 1940 at 14th and Long Avenue in Lorain. The Dewey Road operation has been around since 1945 and is still operated by the family and owned by son John (one of the smiling faces hard at work in the back whenever I stop in).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Capt. Aaron Root House: the Guerrilla Archaelogy Visit

On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to see the Captain Aaron Root house up close one last time before it gets demolished.

I was a member of Director Dr. Charles Herdendorf's "guerrilla archeology" team that visited the house.  Dr. Herndendorf had permission from the owner of the house for us to go through it and "take whatever we wanted." So on Wednesday morning, we paid a visit to the house to see what – if anything – could be salvaged.

The house had a lot of stories to tell, if you looked closely, such as the various layers of material on the outside of the house leading down to the original wood siding, or the windows with their square nails.

Inside, we found a wall with some ancient wallpaper that had several layers of paint and plaster partially covering it.
Part of the adventure was just getting up enough nerve to climb those rickety stairs – especially because if the steps collapsed, you'd drop like a rock directly into the basement!
Once at the top of the stairs (below), you really couldn't go anywhere, since the second floor was lying on the first floor.
The basement was probably the most interesting part of the house, because of the huge beams. Some of the logs still had bark on them.
I did my best to look for stuff throughout the house that might be salvage-worthy and bring it outside to scrutinize in the sunlight. The pile soon grew to include pieces of trim, bricks from the fireplace, door frames, and other odds and ends.
My best find of the day? This rare 20th-Century artifact (below) created in the shape of a costumed waterfowl that apparently was some sort of pipe. It was down in the basement under a pile of rubbish.
So although I didn't find any dusty envelopes stuffed with wads of yellowed greenbacks hidden in the walls, I thoroughly enjoyed myself during my house visit. It was a fascinating way to spend a few hours.

Col. Matt Nahorn and his team from the New Indian Ridge Museum also participated in this salvage effort. Be sure to visit his interesting website (here) for some historical background about the house, as well as an informative documented account of what he observed, and what he was able to salvage.