From the November, 2005 issue of Touchstone
Storied Houses by Emily Stimpson

Storied Houses

Emily Stimpson on the Neglected Tales Old Homes Can Tell About the World

I grew up along the Mississippi in an old Illinois river town. Remnants of the city’s more prosperous days lined the riverbank: gracious old homes with turrets and gingerbread trim, all in varying states of decay. Most stood empty, save for the vagrants who set up camp inside.

I don’t know how old I was when I first dreamed of rescuing those abandoned homes from their sorry fate. Not very, I suppose, since I can’t remember a time before the dream. It was an impractical child’s dream, with no understanding of the cost. I just knew that the homes were once lovely and once loved and that they could be again.

. . .

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