Friday, August 23, 2013

What Year was the Delaney House Built?

We know more about the Thomas family, from who we bought the house, than we do about the Delaney family.  Up until yesterday, we'd been able to trace the Delaney family living in the house on 62nd Street as far back as 1894.

Then yesterday, when doing some more online research, I found references to William Delaney in the Oakland Directory.   As far as we can tell, 62nd Street (or, as it was then known, "Todd Street") was part of Oakland until about 1902.  This seems appropriate to me: since both houses on the lot have moved at least once, it seems right that the street itself changed cities.

William Delaney is listed in the 1884 Oakland Directory as living on Todd at the corner of Paradise, in 1884.  This makes sense: although the house on 62nd is not on the corner, prior to 1901 the Delaney lot went all the way to the corner of King (which was then called Paradise).   The listing says "Delaney, Wm, miner, res cor Todd and Paradise, Temescal"

The 1884 Oakland Directory with Wm Delaney listed at the corner of Todd and Paradise

In later books, William is listed sometimes as a miner and sometimes as a capitalist.  The 1884 book is the only one that refers to the house as being part of the Temescal neighborhood.

We know that William was married to Bridgett, and William died in 1899.  In the 1900 book, Bridgett is listed as his widow, and she keeps showing up in the listings until about 1922.  Bridgett must have been somewhat of a capitalist herself: she subdivided the lot and built two more houses in the first decade of the twentieth century (1636 and 1638).  Two other Delaneys also appear, living at 1640 62nd (the third of the houses that was built on the Delaney's lot):  John T Delaney, who was first listed as a clerk, then a bookkeeper.  By 1924, he was listed as Deputy County Clerk.

Miss Annie Delaney also appears, starting in 1898 in the Delaney House (1634), and then later at 1640.  Annie appears to have been the last surviving relative: John died in 1941 or '42, and Annie sold the original Delaney house to George Thomas in 1948.

We recently met someone who grew up in the house next to our house (1636), who remembered the day John Delaney died.  Evidently, no one had heard from him for several days, and this man's father put a ladder up to the window of the house and climbed through to find John's body.

So now we have history of the house as far back as 1884.  We checked out the 1880 Directory and did not find the Delaneys listed.  So the question is: was the house built sometime between 1880 and 1884 for the Delaney family?  Or was there another owner who had it built?  Because of the style of the house, we've always felt it was an 1870s house.  But maybe it's from the early 1880s.

More research to come.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Getting Plastered

The plaster work has begun upstairs in the Delaney House.   This is what the wall in what is now a bedroom (what used to be the kitchen) looked like before we started this phase of the work:

This is what that same wall looks like now:

The back bedroom in the Delaney House

Armando and his crew are artists.  In the back of the house, just outside the bathroom, what used to be the outside wall of the house is exposed.  When the house was built in the 1870s there was no bath and no plumbing.  When plumbing was added in the 1880s or 1890s, a shed was built onto the back of the house, and the old back door became a door that lead to the bathroom.

We wanted to keep the old siding, but we wanted to re-plaster the rest of the walls.  Armando and his crew have done an amazing job - look at how the new plaster follows the contours of the siding

The old living room, which will now be a bedroom, has also been re-plastered:

Having the walls done makes an incredible difference - and lifts our spirits.   This is real progress!
The back bedroom

We are hoping to finish the insulation downstairs tomorrow.  Once we get our inspection of that, the sheetrock can go up downstairs, and all the walls in the house will be in!  Then we can put the new floors in downstairs, refinish the floors upstairs, and start installing kitchen cabinets.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Before and After

Several people have asked for an update of the shot on the top of the blog.  So here is our best effort, thanks to Tom - a side-by-side comparison of the Delaney House, then and now:

The Delaney House

Next up - plaster walls and ceiling upstairs, and drywall downstairs.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Big Reveal

 I know, this is what you've been waiting for: a glance at the Delaney House.  We have been working like dogs on it, and making progress.   And now we're ready to show it off.

But first, let's step back a couple years, and remember where we came from.  This is what the Delaney House looked like when we first bought it:

The Delaney House, as it appeared in 2009

Now, with 99% of the exterior painting completed, this is what the Delaney House looks like reborn:

The Delaney House, painted

It has been an amazing process, but we are finally turning a corner on the Delaney House.  We have passed our plumbing, wiring and mechanical inspections.  The heating system is in and working, we have hot and cold running water in the house.  It's feeling more and more like a house.

There is still a lot to do: drywall downstairs and plaster upstairs; new floors downstairs and refinished floors upstairs; missing trim upstairs and new trim downstairs; installing kitchen cabinets and counters.  And obviously, we need to do some landscaping.  But it all feels achievable.  And the house looks like a place people might someday live.

And there will be people living there, very soon.  Just you watch.