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  • Writer's pictureLaura Rodgers


Friends had been asking about what we were doing with renovations to this old house and I really wanted to share that. March 10, 2020 we were to take our plans to the Clarkston Historical Society for approval. As our home has been designated a historical landmark, any outside changes to the house must be approved through the society. A reschedule due to the Democratic primary pushed the date back just one day. A second reschedule had our meeting set for March 17, 2020. That is when the awfulness of COVID-19 hit our little town and the country at large. That same week we got a call that the historical society was going to meet virtually over our plans. We were ready and excited for this new way of meeting. Alas, we were informed that some members of the board were not “computer savvy” enough to decide on our plans and once again the review of our house renovations was put on hold. We hoped that in the days that followed a new way of reviewing our plans will be found. I am happy to say that our plans were approved during a virtual meeting on Thursday of last week. Over the next year I will be letting you in on the week to week developments of renovating an historical home. But first let me tell you about how our adventure in buying a historical home came to be.

In September 2018 my husband and I bought a 163-year-old home. Built in 1857, this beautiful Greek Revival was all ours. We have lived in this little town of Clarkston for 33 years. In fact, 33 years ago, we were buying a home in a neighboring town and drove through Clarkston on the way to the realtor’s office. Jim and I instantly fell in love with the historical homes on Main Street. We pledged to each other that one day we would live in one. And so, all these years later that is exactly what we did. 

Renovations, we knew, would be in our future. We found a wonderful man and architect who became our friend. Jerome Carter painstakingly produced all the blueprints by hand. No virtual walk-throughs, no computer generated anythings for this man. We loved our architect. With encouragement from our neighbors we decided to live in our house for a year before tackling any renovations. This was great advice. As we have lived in the house, parts of the home that we wanted to change initially, have become its sweet charm. The quirky little things that at one time annoyed me, are now some of the parts which are so endearing and the beauty that I want to hold on to. In addition, moving in during the month of September had the holidays upon us in short order. Paint and floor refinishing were all that we tackled. Before we knew it, winter was in full swing and blueprints were being drawn and redrawn as our dream home took shape. Summer came and was slowly slipping away and still our design was not finalized. I never would have believed how much work and reworking was necessary. Late August brought us very sad news; our beloved architect had passed away unexpectedly. Jerry was a great man; we miss him for so many reasons. 

Jerry’s wife was gracious enough to find us a new architect and Chris Morgan took the reins. After working and perfecting Jerry’s plans, they were ready to be reviewed by the historic society. 

As we come out from under the awfulness of the COVID crisis I am hopeful that the writing of this process of renovating our sweet home will provide me a chance to think of good things to come and hopefully it will do the same for you. 

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