Boyle Landmark Trust displays house's transformation on Wilderness Road

October 27, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

When the Boyle Landmark Trust board first went into the house at 227 Wilderness Road, they had to wear masks. There was petrified food, trash, discarded furniture and food containers littered about, and from the outside it appeared dilapidated.

It is a far stretch from that now.

On Saturday a ribbon cutting was held at the house. It was the group's first preservation project on the road.

The house, built in the late 19th century, still has much of its original woodwork, floors and windows. They have added many modern conveniences such as central heat and air, and washer and dryer hookups.

They plan to sell the house for $70,000 and use the money to buy another house.

Board President Julie Rodes is excited about the neighborhood's prospects. She believes that the area can return to its original splendor.

"There's all this talk about revitalizing downtown, but how are you going to do that when no one's living there," she said.


Rodes said the board believes that it is not just the role of the government to revitalize the area, but that the private residents, taxpayers should get involved.

When the group first bought the house at 227 Wilderness Road, Rodes said they didn't know if their dream would become a reality.

Inside the house they found puppies that were being trained to fight. Rodes said that the abandoned house made it a perfect training ground.

The day after the puppies were brought to the animal shelter, the architect returned and there were two adult fighting dogs inside, stalking. But, after the dogs were taken away work finished without anymore incident.

As construction began workers found more of the house's secrets: a saw left in the wall, a bottle of whiskey, a Christmas bowl, birthday cards and scraps of original wallpaper.

The items were out for display Saturday.

Rodes said she hopes that the house is just the first step in a wide sweeping preservation movement that will spread throughout the neighborhood.

The board began work on the house in 2002.

Its members are Rodes, Mike Perros, J.T. Goggans, Marthetta Clark, Pat Botwright, Wendy Lewis, Julie Nelson, Marc VanSteenlandt and Bill Erwin.

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