Monday, December 08, 2008

Battling Time and Nature

It is a constant battle in the Adirondacks -- trying to keep up a house against the ravages and relentless pressures of nature and time.  The 100 year old main camp at Penwood is reaching the point where it needs serious professional help: the roof needs replacing (15 year shingles installed 40 years ago are beginning to leak and break and the moss is beginning to settle in); the dock is alive only by the grace of God and two pressure treated posts holding it up; the Chris-Craft is suffering from dry rot; trees are diseased and dying.  The shoreline is eroding and endangering those old friends, the big Hemlocks that seem destined to survive forever, until a wind whips, cracks, crushes and discards them like brittle branches.  Even a new house faces these pressures inevitably -- you begin to wish that you had built the house of stone rather than wood, such is the toll on the lake facing sides of the structure.  Shingles fall off; water leaks in despite the best efforts.  Is this why the Vanderbilts of Sagamore and the J.P. Morgans of Uncas left the Park? It begins to become overwhelming, you choose to be efficient rather than true to the history of the place and little by little you lose something that can never be replaced.

1 comment:

  1. My 1925 4-square is surprisingly the one of the "newer" houses on my block. As in any Old House, it is a constant work-in-progress.

    The biggest hassle I've got is the wooden siding which needs a complete scrape, prime, and paint. Ugh. I will not go plastic like my neighbors.

    History and originality is sort of a nebulous prospect. At one point, I think this was the HQ for the local paper. My very office was some type of reception room. It has hideous pink-flowered wallpaper which has been painted over with a Sanatorium Green.

    I could go on forever rambling about Old Houses.