This story starts with a phone call on a Friday morning that involved an old house, architectural salvage, and a scheduled burn. It took me a while to follow along with what was going on, but let me share the basics…a friend of a property owner had intended to pick the architectural salvage out of a mansion of a farmhouse in northeast North Dakota, but that friend was on vacation several states away. There was a bit of panic because just 48 hours after this phone call the local fire department was training in the home and it would be burned to the ground. The scheduled time couldn’t be changed.
“Can you get there? Please?!” the caller said.
The stars aligned with schedules and all of a sudden we had a crew of five would would meet the next morning at 10:30 to start salvaging what we could.
Just miles away from our destination after a 2 hour trip, we ran into these clouds (please excuse the bugs – this is a windshield shot!) The mid-90s temperatures and blazing sun fell out of our immediate forecast as the temperature plummeted.
With an eye on the clouds, we followed the directions to the house, but we had no idea what to expect.
What we found was a six bedroom beauty on a beautiful farm yard, it had a fireplace, parlor, pocket doors and amazing woodwork. Someone else had already taken the mantel, the banister and railing (with permission) and many of the door knobs and hardware.
After walking through the house to make sure no one was staying there (it appeared someone had been there) we started in the attic. While we stumbled around in the dark, rain pelted the house, and lightning flashed in every window.
To say it was creepy in that moment would be an understatement.
Just as quickly as the storm appeared, it moved on and the sun came out.
We came prepared with every tool and supply imaginable: hammers, drills, saws, gloves, safety glasses, dust masks, and a First-Aid kit. We also brought Ziploc bags in various sizes for loose hardware and random items.
Our crew of five spent about five hours picking and salvaging using crowbars, drills, and screwdrivers. We saved almost every door from that house, a good pile of woodwork, and some fascinating odds and ends. Angela from ‘Tiques and Uniques joined us – check out the fab photo of her with a crowbar!
Less than 24 hours later, fire leveled the house leaving behind a pile of rubble. It was sad to hear that the house we got to know so quickly was gone. But we were so happy we were able to save what we could.
Thanks for the tip, Lori!