August Meeting Recap: Victorian Cottage

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Back in August we took a tour of Rick Vanderhoef’s cute little Victorian cottage in River Bend. We had a great time meeting some new people, taking in all the beautiful details of this little house, and talking about the social history of Victorian cottages.

1328 7th St. Front

Rick’s house was likely built for the bookkeeper of a real estate investor.

1893 City Directory
1893 City Directory

It’s a smaller version of the classic Victorian. While it does not include space for a live-in servant, it does feature the common Victorian floorplan of a kitchen at the back, a dining room near the kitchen, and both a sitting room and a parlor with a pocket door in between.

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In older Victorian neighborhoods like River Bend and Sherman Hill you often find these modest homes interspersed among the grand showpiece homes that were built for the wealthy. Often these smaller homes were built on the final lots that a developer needed to sell to complete the plat and maximize their investment. These smaller homes were occupied by servants and tradesmen who catered to the needs of their wealthy neighbors or commuted downtown to their jobs as clerks, shopkeepers, etc.

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A common practice in those early days was to complete all the finish in the formal downstairs area and leave the upstairs area  either unfinished or finished very simply for bedrooms. This seems to have been the case in Rick’s house where much of the woodwork in the first floor seems to be from the late 1800s while the trim and plaster upstairs seems to be from the first half of the twentieth century.

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Like many houses in River Bend, this house was split into several apartments at one time. It was brought back to being a single family home in the early 2000s and fell on hard times after a foreclosure. Rick bought it in an unlivable condition and did all the work necessary to make it habitable. He did as much of the cosmetic work as he could, but there remains a lot left to do. A lot of the interior woodwork is ready for refinishing and promises to look really beautiful once it’s cleaned and polished up.

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Rick is working on his next house already and has listed this house for sale. He really hopes that the right owner will pick up where he left off and restore the beauty of the original features he’s uncovered and preserved. With a loving restoration of the woodwork and some repairs to the outside, this house could be a darling little home for someone to cherish. You can view the listing here: 1328 7th St.