Abandoned Canal House Reborn

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 24, 2008 at 12:39 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--ALONG ROANOKES TREE-LINED COMMERCIAL STREET, A PIECE OF HISTORY HAS BEEN REBORN.

Marti: Probably a very simple person lived here probably a laborer, someone who worked on the Wabash Eric Canal.

IT'S BEEN CALLED THE BOATHOUSE FOR LONGER THAN ANYONE CAN REMEMBER, BUILT IN 1854 BY SOMEONE WHO WORKED ON THE WABASH ERIE CANAL WHICH RAN LESS THAN A HUNDRED FEET AWAY.

Tom: I think his connection was he was a repairman for the canal boats coming up and going back.

TOM AND MARTI COOK BOUGHT THE HOUSE AT AN ESTATE SALE WHEN IT WAS IN DECREPIT SHAPE. THEIR PLAN WAS TO RESTORE AND REMODEL IT, THEN SELL IT FOR A PROFIT. BUT THE REMODELING UNCOVERED LOTS OF CLUES TO THE HOMES PAST…MARTI SAVED SOME SAMPLES OF THE OLD LINOLEUM AND WALLPAPER, AND WORLD WAR TWO HEADLINES FROM NEWSPAPERS FOUND UNDER THE FLOORS.

Marti: This home has had seven layers, twenty year layers…and each person who owns it adds their own layer of history.

THE COOKS HAVE ADDED THEIR OWN LAYER OF HISTORY IN THE FORM OF NEW KITCHEN, BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS…BUT STILL LEAVING TRACES OF THE PAST…LIKE THESE BURN MARKS ON THE HARDWOOD MAPLE FLOOR, PROBABLY FROM AN OLD POT BELLIED STOVE. THERE IS LOTS OF HISTORY IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD; THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET WAS ONCE AN INN FOR CANAL TRAVELERS, AND THE HOME NEXT DOOR USED TO BE A LITTLE GENERAL STORE. AND NOW THE BOAT HOUSE IS BACK, ALONG WITH ITS STORIED HISTORY.

Marti: It gives us a little slice of history. And to feel that you're just continuing the history of this home is just a nice feeling and gives a continuity to space, and life.

ERIC OLSON REPORTING OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY.




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