Monday, March 19, 2012


You know how I like to visit open houses around here, to see what's what. You never know what you will find. On a recent Sunday I visited two historic properties in the city and one brand new house in the burbs.

After church, I drove a few blocks south of Market Square and checked out a little building I have always wondered about. It's stone with a slate roof and looks sort of old. It was all moldy inside and pretty unkempt. It sits in a triangle created by the intersection of South Market and Paxton streets. It was last used by the Greater Harrisburg Council on the Arts and before that was a tourist promotion office.

I found out later, when I stopped at the county historical society nearby, that it was built by the city in the 1960s for the tourist agency but is pretty much abandoned now. It would make a neat little addition to my back yard! I could keep my redware pottery collection there and charge people to look at it. I'd be rich in no time!

I went around the block and headed into Shipoke, the oldest part of the city. After the flood of 1972, many people moved out, and the houses were bought and "gentrified" to a great extent. It's a lovely little section of town, isolated somewhat by the I-83 ramp in its backyard. Its saving grace is the charm of its buildings and the fabulous view of the Susquehanna. Only when the river decides to come up and visit is Shipoke not the place to be.

The house I looked at had just been re-habbed after the flood of 2011. Then the poor owner got a job transfer. There is a lot of space inside and a new kitchen, but as in all town houses, a whole lot of steps!

Here's part of the new kitchen.

This is the house next door. Pretty charming, except for the color!

My next stop was further north in what is call the "Capitol Area." We have friends who live on Briggs Street and are very happy there among some very nice old houses. 

Here's the one that was open for visitors. It's the one with the ridiculous black shutters!

Here's the entrance/exit from the basement. I think this place was made for Munchkins.

There was a nice open area on the first floor, but again with all the steps!

These were not only steep but narrow.

Next stop was out in the burbs on the way home. I can't even remember the name of the development in Lower Paxton Township, north of Linglestown Road off of Patton Road.  As I drove along, I wondered if the house could be on the location of "Patton's Fort," one of the French and Indian War forts memorialized on a state historical marker at the corner.

These houses were duplexes and had a first floor bedroom. I think that would be nice every time I drag myself up the steps at bedtime! Prices are high, of course, but lawn mowing and snow removal are included in the homeowners association dues.

Here's the living room/dining room/kitchen.

Not much space if you want to get away from it all! Here's the bedroom just next to the living room.

One thing that caught my eye was this perfect little window! We'd like to put one on either side of our fireplace to allow more light and air into our current living room.

On the way home, I noticed that I could see the rear end of the box in the helmet of the motorcyclist behind me. Can you see it, too? I took this picture in the rear-view mirror.

Soon I arrived home and said, as Susanne and I always do, "Oh, this is a nice little house! I hope they'll accept our bid on it!" And they always do.

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