When Bad Things Happen to Good Houses

I don’t know what is going on with this old home, but it looks like a travesty is happening to the front porch. Not to mention the fact the new windows just don’t look right. Trying to turn it into a Tudor? I couldn’t find any original photos of the home, which is in Winona, so I am really curious of what this home looked like, as it was built somewhere around the 1890’s.

But this is a prime example of renovation gone a muck. Too many times I see people with the best intentions, try and tackle a historic home, only to destroy everything historic about it. Some people even go inside the home and rip out all the original woodwork, trim, doors, etc, just to make the home “brand new”.

Case in point, a home on Dupont Avenue in Minneapolis fell to such a fate last year, when a young “investor” went into a Minneapolis Tudor style bungalow and ripped out everything. And by everything, I mean the original built in buffet, handcrafted pillars and bookcases, all the trim and doors….he took the home down to the studs and threw the rest into a dumpster. Neighbors told me they were shocked to see all the historic elements laying in the trash…some even went into the dumpster to salvage out what they could. The investor added a second story and completely changed the exterior facade of the home (so now it looks silly in a neighborhood of one story bungalows). I guess fate is not without a sense of irony, as the payback for the sacrilege was the “flipper” going into foreclosure. Sadly, now a new investor must finish the home and make it as good as he can.

The fact is, bad things do happen to good houses. The only thing we can do to stop it is to watch what is going on and make our objections known. It is our responsibility as neighbors and historic preservationists to stop the destruction our historic treasures here in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and save what we can. Contact the Historic Preservation Committees and Groups if you have questions at some of the links I have provided on this website.

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