How one man saved a bit of history
on a hill in Globe, Arizona
older than the State of Arizona, the house that Bob rejuvenated in Globe is
on a city lot platted in the Territory of Arizona in 1909. “The exact year
of construction is a mystery but the house was definitely in county records
by 1915, three years after statehood,” Bob said. “That is before
electricity came to this part of the hill.” The house is a sturdily
constructed cedar and stucco Craftsman with a hip roof, plaster walls,
hardwood floors, and a wrap-around verandah. Although it was maintained to a
high standard for many decades, maintenance waned with the fading fortunes
of this mining town in the Pinal Mountains. The house was uninhabited for
long periods in the late 20th Century. Some essential repairs
were neglected, others were shoddy. “I actually found two leaky pipes
connected by a garden hose,” Bob exclaimed.
“I refurbished this as a second home. Dilapidated as it was, the
property has what I was looking for: location, high ceilings, hardwood
floors, and a verandah. Its size and location are perfect. I need low
maintenance—no gardeners or housekeepers for periods when I’m away—but I
also need modest contemporary conveniences, such as electricity in every
room and indoor plumbing.”
Bob rebuilt the verandah, repaired plaster-lath walls,
refinished oak floors, salvaged a claw-foot bathtub, and rescued many
original windows. When he leveled uneven floors, doorways popped back into
square, accentuating doors that had been planed to fit lopsided doorways.
Ninety years ago, wood-fired stoves heated this hillside home. At some
point, a gas space-heater was installed. Lighting was also by gas at one
point: each room had a gas line to it. The cooling system was state of the
art...for 1915: screened doors and windows were opened to catch cool evening
breezes that wafted over the Pinal Mountains.
Concerned about health risks in the crawl space under the house,
Bob wore a twin-cartridge respirator to guard against lead-based paint chips
and possible vintage hazards. There, he discovered rot and rusty pipes, but
no dead pioneers. He also discovered that the original cedar sub floor was
in good condition, as were many of the floor trusses and support beams. In
times past, plumbing was added and moved about; when sections of beams were
removed to make way for pipes, the beams weren’t replaced or supported. That
negligence caused major sagging in the floors. The kitchen floor became a
roller-coaster of high and low joists.
Under the house, Bob replaced all water pipes,
all wastewater pipes, and all electric wiring. He removed old gaslight lines
and put in new lines for gas appliances. He installed ducting for central
heating and air-conditioning. He jacked up girders to level floors and he sistered joists with treated wood to correct slipshod repairs. “I used
numerous hydraulic jacks to shore up sagging foundation posts and repaired
with treated wood to thwart termites,” he explained.
In the attic, Bob replaced original post-and-tube two-wire
electric circuits that clearly were introduced to the house before building
codes were introduced to the Territory. He put in soffits to ventilate the
attic. Between rafters, he rolled out a new-fangled invention: insulation.
In the house, Bob installed electric outlets, wall switches, and light
fixtures, preserving two antique chandeliers from the parlor and dining
room. He rewired these and mounted them on the ceilings of the office and
the master bedroom.
The most decrepit room in the house was the master bathroom. It
was modernized in the ’60s by enclosing a claw-foot tub with blue ceramic
tile. Mold flourished. Moisture ruined plaster-lath walls. Floorboards
rotted under linoleum. After rebuilding the floor and walls, Bob laid marble
tile and put in an antique marble vanity and the revamped claw-foot bathtub.
against constructing a state-of-the-art kitchen; instead he remodeled a
period kitchen that saves space and maintains the character of the house. An
antique gas stove, modern refrigerator, and dishwasher were installed.
A big hurdle was to fashion a guest bedroom and bathroom out of
170 square feet of laundry room while retaining space for laundry and a
route to the back door. He solved this problem by first putting a stacked
washer-dryer in the kitchen. Then he carved a half-bath out of a corner of
the former laundry room, created a lobby for the back door, and fitted a
bathtub and a closet in the remaining space to make a very functional guest
bedroom. The bathroom door is an original refurbished door which Bob mounted
in a pocket in the wall.
Landscaping was a no-brainer,
according to Bob. He resuscitated existing vintage plants—tamarisk tree,
lilac, pińon trees, pyracantha,
oleander—and replanted barren flower beds with seasonal color. Xeriscape was
the rule: he augmented mature vegetation with low water-use cacti and put it
all on a timed watering system.
Bob crafted a banister for the wrap-around verandah by hand-tooling raw wood
into balusters and railings, painting each piece, and assembling it on the
verandah. He did the same to create newel posts for the front entry.
The single most expensive upgrade was a gas pack
air-conditioning/heating unit. Central heating and refrigeration are not
common in these historic Globe homes. According to Bob, many of them are
cooled with an evaporative “swamp” cooler mounted in a window and they are
heated by a single gas floor space-heater.
Bob is quick to point out that the cost of this remodel project
was primarily labor, lots of labor.
That’s a bargain, he says, to reclaim a piece of history.
©2003-2012 by Kathy Noltze
All rights reserved.