Here’s the second round of photographs from the excellent tour of Parkridge homes. I’ve had as much fun editing them as I had taking the tour, although it was a bit painful trimming the 115 photos down to around fifty. I hope you find some more you like in this special neighborhood. I’ll continue them in the order that I found them.
1619 Jefferson, built in 1905, rises regally from the street and, unlike many of the others, its size is clear from the outset. This is no small home, but it is a very beautiful home and it has been completely restored inside. In this case, that was a bit easier than in some other cases, because the home has had only three owners in its history. This may explain why, for example, the original wallpaper survives.
This home, more than the others embraced the prohibition theme of the tour and had a small jazz band playing in the entrance, as well as an unfinished poker game left mid-raid on the dining room table. Book cases stuffed with books and stacks of books with no case to hold them indicated the owner of this home has a voracious appetite for the written word.
The house rambles upward via a beautiful staircase and then a very steep staircase which leads to a crows-nest type room which offers a great view of the neighborhood. An inviting sitting space at the top of the landing seems a likely scene for reading some of the thousands of books found throughout the house. I’m a sucker for dark, rich wood and this house has it in every direction.
1805 Jefferson sits up a slight hill from the street and seems to have a somewhat murky past. Built sometime between 1905 and 1917, by 1920 a family headed by Wilbur Blair, a salesman in a local department store, lived at the residence. The current owner purchased it recently and enjoyed moving in to a home which has already undergone its transformation into a beautiful, modern space. I loved the hardwood floors, mantel and large windows.
In 1982 Kristopher Kendrick was a busy man. He not only brought Kendrick Place (next to Chesapeake’s downtown) back to life, he also purchased the former Park Junior High School and converted the seventeen classrooms and other spaces into 42 condos. He purchased the property for $75,000 and each of those forty-two condos sells for several times that price. That’s a nice improvement to the tax rolls by simply taking an older, unused building and re-purposing it.
The Colonial Revival style building retains its charm and it also retains a lovely courtyard, a full-sized gymnasium and a pool. The school yard remains, giving ample greenspace to residents, which is especially appealing to the children. As if those amenities aren’t enough, a park sits across from the gated school.
Three units were opened for viewing. The first included the former principal’s office and has a very open floor plan with only a bedroom on one end walled off and the kitchen on the other end is separated by a wall. The kitchen, according to former students, used to be the detention area. Just behind the kitchen is a pantry with a fire-proof door. It used to hold student records. The lovely Tamera Easterday served as the guide for that unit. She lives upstairs in two units combined and has lived in the building for many years.
The second unit also features an open floor plan, but has an entirely different feel. Huge windows overlook the the courtyard and fountain from the central living area. A bedroom is raised on one end and the kitchen on the other. Much smaller than the first condo, it is a very cozy space and very functionally arranged. I loved the repetition of arches throughout and especially the large one in the center room. The French doors allow light into every room giving the space a very light and airy feel.
The final unit open in the former school is available for purchase. It’s two bedrooms with a central living space and a beautiful kitchen which I failed to photograph because I fell into conversation with the lovely couple living there. With two active boys and the possibility of a larger family, they need additional bedrooms. Their unit overlooks the greenspace outside and includes 1544 square feet of living space. It is listed at $169,900, which for the amenities and the proximity to downtown will make someone very happy (contact Clint Waddell at 556-6743).
2509 E. Fifth Avenue finished my tour. It’s the home of Chad and Tracie Hellwinckle. It’s another lesson in what can be done with a home that appears to have fallen to the point of no return. A homeless man was living in it when they purchased it several years ago. He vacated to the abandoned home next door. Once that home started being renovated he moved to another structure in the area before moving away.
The home was filled with all manner of filth (they showed me the pictures) which would discourage all but the hardiest of souls. Chad saw through the filth to what the home could be and Tracie eventually came around to share the vision. Now they’ve made a warm and inviting space which features rich wood hardwood floors, an interesting and unique brick mantel and wood-grain French doors.
A table held some of the more interesting artifacts found inside the walls. The newspaper was likely the insulation at one point. Looking around the home now, it’s hard to imagine it in the previous condition. A lovely couple have made a lovely home for themselves. It’s their second home to bring back to life in the neighborhood and it may not be their last.
So, if you like these photographs, get out to Parkridge and take a look around. There are plenty of homes waiting for a loving touch and nice places to live just a few minutes’ bike ride out of downtown. It would be hard to find so many interesting houses in such a small area anywhere else in the city. Parkridge really may be the sleeping giant of the downtown resurgence.