Anyway, we just found out that The Box House had suffered a lightning strike sometime in the past.
Last week, UPS delivered a package to the house that wasn't for any of us, and we didn't recognize the name as belonging to anyone who lived in the house before us. We tucked it to the side, planning to follow up on it (or keep it, I'm not sure), but ended up getting sidetracked by a billion other things.
Turns out the package was for the son-in-law of the previous owner. We should have recognized his name from the closing papers, as there were four siblings who had inherited the house and they each received a check at close. Their agent represented them, so they weren't there in person and we'd never seen any of them face to face before.
So the son-in-law shows up at the door, and we talked for a few minutes. He told us how happy they were that this building that had been in the family for forty years now belonged to another family. So I asked him if he had any photos of what The Box House might have looked like before. (I didn't expect much of a difference--I was mostly curious about landscaping, etc.) The son-in-law didn't think he had any photos to share, but he did indicate that our parapet was now nearly two feet shorter than it was originally.
What? Really? That thing is already pretty high, and kinda looks like some fake facade as it is. I posted about it a while back. We were all a bit flabbergasted to hear it was actually higher at one point.
So why the change?
Well, the southeast corner, right above the kitchen (currently obscured by the lurching cedar), was hit by lightning sometime in the last forty years--son-in-law couldn't remember exactly when, but it was a long time ago. The lightning did quite a bit of damage, and knocked out a bunch of brick. (Although it's tall, The Box House is not the tallest house on the block, and there are elms on our street that are even taller.)
When they rebuilt the parapet, they lowered it all the way around. We're not entirely sure why, and the son-in-law wasn't really clear. It's possible that rather than buy new brick, they had dismantled the parapet, salvaged the brick they could, and rebuilt the section. (This might explain why I'm finding brick all over the yard; wherever I dig to reclaim garden space, I'm finding bricks and brick fragments that might have been used as edging at one time.)
But this does explain some oddities:
- It does look like there should be more space between the top two decorative squares of limestone and the limestone caps at the top--like a couple of rows of brick are missing, maybe.
- This limestone square on the front is not proportionally centered (making it the only unboxlike thing on The Box House). A few more layers of brick between this and the capstones would correct this perspective.
- Okay, this bullet has nothing to do with the facade; I'm just so psyched this overgrown bush found a new home.
All but one of those bushes along the front have moved to different homes (I'm taking out the last one myself), but we'd still like to remove the two-story tall cedar. It's planted about 18 inches from the foundation, and is leaning at a 22-degree (or so) angle. Aesthetically, it does not please any of us. Morally, we feel terrible about taking out such a large tree. So what do y'all think. Should it stay or should it go?