15 August, 2014 (All day)
“Goodbye, happy home,” sighed Nellie Nelson as she and her husband left their home on Dalton Creek in 1911. Walter and Nellie Nelson had traded their happy, cozy home on Dalton Creek for a farm in Milton (1585 N. Morgan Valley Drive) so their four young children could be within walking distance of the school.
For the first three years they lived in a structure built of logs with a lean-to on the back. When the wind blew it would come through the cracks. They heated the home with a little heater known as Little Red Oak No. 11. The sixth of 11 children was born in this make-shift house.
In the summer of 1914 a brick home was built by the Harbetson Brothers for $1,700. The basement was dug using horses and scrapers and squared by hand. It is not known how the materials were obtained but some of the brick came from an old house down the road.
There were no modern conveniences like plumbing, electricity or heating, but to the children it was like a palace. Five more children were born and raised in the home.
Through the years many changes were made. In about 1964, their youngest son Kenneth and his wife Neeta were asked by the family to move into the home and take care of Walter, who was now 85 years old and a widower.
Many updates and repairs to water sewer and lights were needed. As money was available they slowly updated the home over the years as they raised their own family there.
A garage was built in 1977. The front room was remodeled and made larger by adding part of the front porch to it. A family room and bathroom was built onto the back of the house. A new well was drilled and a septic tank and a drain field were installed.
A furnace was added and many years later replaced. The old pipes were replaced with copper pipes and new valves. A patio was added on the back of the house and later it was enclosed to become the laundry room.
Two bedrooms were merged to become one master bedroom and an inside stairway was built. Bedrooms were created in the basement.
The rest of the front porch was closed in and became part of the house in 1994 and a new entrance was built. The kitchen was remodeled in 1998 and the bathrooms have both been redone in the past eight years.
Over the last 20 years all the windows have been replaced, the shingles (three layers, including the original shake shingles) have been removed and replaced, the house has been painted twice (on top of several previous layers), siding has been added, a wood deck replaced with a cement patio, and new insulation has been pumped into the attic.
Much physical change happens to a house over the course of 100 years. But the physical appearance or quality of a structure is not what endears it to those who inhabit it. The memories and the love shared over several generations in this house is what makes it a home.
It has been a place of safety from all the storms of life. It is a symbol of those we love most and represents the place we want to be because we know that is where we will find the people who are so precious to us.
The Nelson family will celebrate this 100-year milestone on Sunday, Aug. 24. Friends are welcome to join them for an open house from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at the home.