Tuesday, April 24, 2012

South Brooksville Historic District: Part II

A couple of days ago I posted about the historic street in Brooksville, Florida that I grew up on. I focused on the big homes because those are the ones that usually impress most people. Did I have you fooled into thinking that I spent hours on my veranda with a glass of the finest wine, smoking a cigarette with a cigarette holder while going on and on and on about how young Johnny really is the cat's meow?

Probably not. The only cats meowing in Brooksville were the ones I brought home to my parents, or the scary drunks leaving Miss Kitty's Hilltop Lounge.

Some of my favorite homes on my street are the small cottages and bungalows. They have huge personalities and the people behind their doors have always welcomed me in with the attitude of "what's mine is yours."

Mi Casa es Su Casa (1925)
This Spanish style home is one of my absolute favorites because it housed one of my best friends growing up. I still remember the day she asked me to play. We spent the entire first day talking about how much we had in common, like we were on a first date or something. "You were born on the 29th? So was I!" "You have a brother?" "So do I!" "You got your shoes from K-Mart? Oh my gosh, me too!" It was true love. We spent a lot of time climbing trees, rollerskating, and burying time capsules that the rain washed away later that day.

Anything For You Bungalow (1925)
Have you ever owned a really nice pet that your friends and families absolutely envied? A cat or a dog that they would almost beg for or offer to watch anytime you went on vacation? Well, once I learned how to walk, I marched over to this house and told the nice lady what I thought about her tuxedo cat. I told her that I loved Kasey and I wanted him to be my own cat. And just like that, I brought my first cat home to my parents.

It almost happened again when I went back to take this picture. I have been in love with their cat Nora, and  the lady's son tried to convince me to take the cat home. He said he's sick and tired of hearing the cat meow all the time and he wouldn't tell his mom if I left with her. Don't worry, I can't take another one of her cats, but look at how cute she is!

Craftsman Bungalow (1925)
When I was 12 years old, I was hired for my first job. I started babysitting two young boys at this house who always kept me thoroughly entertained. The youngest one loved to play basketball in the backyard or ride his bike, while the older one would explain to me his theories of evolution or how he completed The Lord of the Rings trilogy the night before. The oldest one was probably just 6 or 7 years old at the time.

Eggs and Sugar Neighbors

Like I said before, these little houses were full of friendly and welcoming people. My parents would send me to this house if we ever ran out of butter, sugar, or eggs. I'd knock on the door in embarrassment, but all they would have to say is "Sure, how much do you need?" The guy also built our kitchen cabinets and the armoire in our living room. For a while, the lady in the home would provide tours of historic Brooksville in a classy tour van. I always loved to see it drive by because it told me that someone else was interested in this tiny little town that I love.

Our House (1920)
And here is my home. Surrounded by oak trees. Pretty front porch. White picket fence. I was pretty lucky to grow up in a house like this, even if it only has one bathroom and no insulation. What it does have going for it is 12' ceilings, cold wooden floors, tall windows, and an infinite amount of space to house all of my childhood memories. I really do love my childhood home and I wish I was there right now watching HGTV with my mom or reading a book in the tree house my brother built.

The Oldest House in Brooksville (1840?)
This might ruin my street cred, but I have to admit to you that I am only claiming this to be the oldest house in Brooksville based on small town rumors. I attended a session at the Historic Home Workshop about researching your home's history, and the presenter said that you can never go off of the information you find on the property appraiser's site alone. The years the houses were built aren't always accurate. It's recommended that you should consult several different resources, one which would be "the locals." I haven't researched this home very far (possibly a project for the future), but my dad said that he has heard many people refer to it as the oldest home in Brooksville - claiming that it was built in 1840 (the property appraiser site says 1920). It definitely looks like it's been through its share of good times and bad. Plants are growing out of the roof. Vines are covering the facade, windows are broken. I don't even think the front door has a door knob to keep anyone from walking inside. I wish I had endless money so I could rescue this little guy from falling to the ground.

And there you have it! I wouldn't be the crazy repurposer and restorer if it wasn't for this old brick road and the friendly people who live behind each door. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for my childhood street.