Friday, October 10, 2008

Empty nest

Now that it's cool enough to walk Sophie in daylight again, I am discovering neighborhood changes that happened in the last few months.

It took me a minute to realize that this empty lot used to hold a house I knew well. Do you recognize it?
Of course you don't. But maybe this picture will jog your memory (if you've been following my blog for a while):
I posted in March about the old man who lived there, whose death I only knew of when the house was being cleared. Cleared of everything that made it special. Or horrible, if you feel that way. I didn't, but I don't live next door.

Another empty lot, another promise of something to come. But what?

It won't be nearly as interesting, I'll hazard.


  1. It was a cute little house. It reminds me of the gingerbread style houses in Oak Bluffs in Martha's Vineyard.

    Why are so many house being torn down in your neighborhood? I'd be afraid to go out and buy groceries for fear that my house would be gone when I returned.

  2. I also feel so sad about the loss of older houses. I've read all the rationales for doing so: the newer house can be more energy efficient, possibly safer (asbestos, better wiring, plumbing, etc), and more suitable to today's lifestyle (huge closets instead of those tiny little closets from the days when people didn't own enough clothes to rotate through something new every 2 months). The argument goes that the cost to renovate an older house is much greater than the cost to build new. But I don't buy it. (Literally and figuratively.) There's something intangible that's lost when the bulldozers arrive. I'm going to post a picture tonight on my blog of the hideous castle down the street from me.

    Also, thanks for reminding me about hanging green tomatoes in the garage. No threat of frost in MD yet but it won't be long. Keep us posted on what you decided to do with your tangle of tomato vines.

  3. Is that gingerbread trim on the front? My kids were asking me recently why don't they build small capes and ranches anymore. They really don't, nothing charming. It's sad.

  4. Betts, my neighborhood is well-established and full of interesting architecture and mature landscaping, with a trendy little business district. It's also just 10 minutes from downtown.

    So people want to live here, and builders saw an opportunity to turn little bungalows into hulking duplexes they could sell for lots of money. Things have slowed down because financing is no longer easy to get, but there are still plenty of projects that were already in the pipeline.

    An old house like that one would be a bear to fix up, and the lot is likely zoned R2, so buh-bye.

    Kitt, most likely that's what it will be.

    Pam, my house is more than 100 years old, and yes, there are things that would be better in a new place, but the houses built on spec just can't compare.

    I'm not entirely anti-new, but I wish the builders would pay more attention to the character of the neighborhood and try to match it instead of using off-the-shelf Home Despot plans to make a quick buck.

    On the tomatoes, I suspect I'll just cut off the green ones. The vines will be a bitch to rip out as it is.

    Joanne, yes, it was kind of a gingerbready house (though if you look at the previous post about it, you'll see that the gingerbread was the least of its features).

    I do have neighbors who built a small, modern house that's very attractive. I've linked to them before: It's quite different from the surrounding homes, but it has character that doesn't overwhelm.

  5. I get sad at progress sometimes. Tearing down the house is like tearing the existence of the old man apart. I hope the do the plot justice with something fitting.

  6. Sad to see such cute houses getting torn down :O(

  7. mob and julie, I agree. I may be tempted to show the occupants of the new house what was there before.