Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Endangered Beechwood Bungalow Then and Now

 Some people count sheep to help them fall asleep.  I restore houses.  I first noticed the small charming bungalow at 5831 Beechwood Avenue five years ago as I took my regular evening walks. Each night as I closed my eyes, I put a new roof on the dwelling and restored the porch.  Then I replaced some of the rot along the eaves.  As fatigue usually began to wash over me, I painted the exterior clapboards and trim in earthy shades of green.  Some nights I worked on the interior.

I often wondered who lived in the late-1920s era home and what it might have looked like when it was much loved.  Thankfully, I have been fortunate in that many members of the community have reached out to me since starting this blog dedicated to documenting the stories of Irvington.  One such person is Larry Muncie, who has been extraordinarily generous with both his photos and his memories.  Mr. Muncie, who himself, has spent years chronicling the neighborhood, grew up in the little house on Beechwood. You can imagine my delight upon receiving historic photos of the very house I had been restoring each night.

Taken in 1940, the first image shows 5831 Beechwood as well as two houses west of the home.  You will note that the bungalow had lovely landscaping and was kept in mint shape.  In the second photo, taken in 1942, a very young Larry Muncie, chooses ice cream from the peddler's wagon on a warm summer day in front of his childhood abode. Mr. Muncie fondly recalled many of his neighbors, including Charles Wray, a veteran of the Spanish-American War!

Tidy bungalows of 5831, 5825, and 5823 Beechwood Avenue c.1940

Little Larry Muncie chooses ice cream in front of his home at 5831 Beechwood in 1942

Today, 5831 Beechwood Avenue is dark and decaying. My nightly visits have done little good to turn back the ravages brought upon by Mother Nature.  Irvington is now protected so my fervent hope is that someone five or even one hundred years from now will post a photo of the bungalow completely restored.  There will be life in the house and perhaps if we are lucky, a child will be buying ice cream along the street once again.

The same view of the Beechwood bungalows in 2012

No life at the moment, but 5831 Beechwood Avenue awaits rejuvenation!  

No comments:

Post a Comment