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Old houses abound

May 8, 2015
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

When I was a lot younger there was and even older song which was first herd in 1913 it was called "This Old House". It was written and sung by Bickhardt, Craig/Schuyler, and Thom.

The lyrics went like this: "This old house once knew my children This old house once knew my wife This old house was home and comfort As we fought the storms of life This old house once rang with laughter This old house knew many shouts Now it trembles in the darkness When the lightning walks about."

I was thinking of this old song as I looked out my bedroom window at a small abandoned house that sat just across the way from me. The old house looks like a small farm house or a cabin. There is a front porch and what looks like an old screen door that still flaps back and forth in the wind. From some of the boarding of the house, it looked as if the little house had one been painted white.

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It was then that the old song came back to me and I wondered who did live in that house. I wondered what they were like. Did they have children? The lot that the house sits on is full of weeds and every now and then I see a cat go in and come out of the house liked it lived there and was just coming home for food and was going out again to snoop around.

There are a lot of old houses around the city of Charles Town as well as in Jefferson County. I wonder sometimes rather than building new housing why can't we be like a big city that sells their old housing for a dollar and give the new home owner a grant to fix the house up. The city governments usual give the new owners a year or two to refurbish the home.

On Flowing Springs Road, there is another stately old house that is about to fall. The house is a two story that looks big enough to have been an old farm house or a large home. The building has many windows and looks out toward the Duffield Train stop. There again I wonder who lived there and what kind of life they lived.

Across the train tracks going toward Shepherdstown is another old building that looks like it had been cared for. The structure looks like an old country store. It sits on the corner at a crossroad. I often wanted and hoped that someone would open an old fashion type general store. If you look around the intersection you will see a couple more old houses that look like they are about to fall into disrepair. The houses are painted blue and looked at one time to have had wonderful back yards.

Through these old houses there is a since of history. I keep saying that Jefferson County is blessed with history.

Several years ago, I was part of a group that Carol Gallant had started. We fought to save an old building in Charles Town. It took seven long years but we won our fight. In recent times an old log cabin which was built in the late 1700s was torn down in the name of progress. Now a new fight is brewing over the Old Hill Top Hotel. The owners have let it sit until it has almost collapsed. Will the old hotel be torn down and another part of Jefferson County disappear or will it be somehow be saved. Only time will tell, my friends.

 
 
 

 

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