My wife and I bought a house in Salem that has had many owners and renovations in its 100 years and we hope to restore it to its original glory. What general remodeling can we do to find out how the house looked when it was first built?
Charles D. ~ Salem,Oregon
Hi Charles, I think it is great what you are planning to do, and wish more people would restore old homes rather than tear them down. My suggestion would be to spend some time at the Salem, Oregon city archives, and also the Salem library. I follow blog sites and Internet sites that many people have established to chronicle the restorations of their old houses, and it is amazing how many have been able to find old photos of their houses, and to locate families, or relatives of families who lived in the house at some point. I think that would be the best way to get an accurate idea of how the house was when it was first built. Some of these homeowners have even been able to get copies of the original building permits for their homes. 1910 is a long time ago, but I would think you could find some records pertaining to your house somewhere in Salem's archives.
Another avenue to try is to talk to some contractors in the Salem area who specialize in historical restoration. During the early 1900's, just like today, there were popular trends in homebuilding, and local contractors might be aware of some of the trends that were popular in the northwest when your home was built. They may be able to look at your house, and give you a pretty good idea of how the home was when first constructed, based on their experience, and may be able to give you some assistance during the restoration project.