Enon Hall


These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.

May 5, 2002

Ran phone wire under the house in order to install an antique wall phone that we found in an antique store last weekend. Also re-installed the outside light by the front door. I took it down a year ago when we painted and it just never made it back up.

The rear discharge toilet upstairs has been leaking for a year. We've been keeping it shut off between uses so it hasn't been a real problem. But now that the downstairs toilet has been overhauled and reinstalled I decided to go ahead and remove this toilet to find and fix the leak...probably coming from the wax seal. Didn't turn out to be so easy when I discovered that the flange on the plastic drain pipe was broken. I think we're gonna need to get a plumber in to fix this one.

Counted a family of six woodchucks in the backyard today. They all live in the graveyard. William and I sat on the brick wall and watched them as they poked their heads out of their burroughs and eyed us with curiosity. They can do a lot of damage...but they sure are cute. William has named them all...Hathaway Hog, Enon Ed, Groundhog Gracie, White Stone Willy, etc. -- Bill

May 7, 2002

Remember back in March when we were supposed to close on the new parcel adjoining Enon Hall? Several folks have E-mailed me for an update. Things are still slowly moving toward closing, but we still don't have a new target date. Hopefully, sometime this month. We'll post any updates here. -- Bill

May 12, 2002

We worked hard this weekend, but don't feel like we made much progress. A lot of what we did was either finishing up the last details of previous projects or maintenance work. We've now reached the point in our restoration where we've entered the cycle of double work...upkeep on what we've already finished plus new projects.

I replaced missing moulding on a rear window and finally got around to scraping paint off the glass. Also repainted the porch floor.

I hope to tear down the doghouse entrance to the cellar over Memorial Day weekend. To get ready we had to move the fig bush that has apparently been there for almost 40 years. Gay loves the old thing. I refer to it as the "damn fig bush" because it's always been in the way and it gets consumed by vines every year. We weren't making any headway digging, so I finally tied it to the van and towed it out of the ground. Turns out it had a 8 foot long tap root!

We dug a huge hole and transplanted it by the smokehouse, along with a trench for the tap root. Ugly, isn't it? :)

With the fig bush out of the way we have clear access to continue working on the back of the house. -- Bill

May 13, 2002

I was just looking at the old rusty bell in the photo above wondering what we'll do with it. For now it's fine, but when we add a brick stoop for the door I think it might be in the way. I have a photo from 1965 that shows the bell (and the damn fig bush). But it doesn't appear in another photo from 1950. I suspect it was installed by the Dameron's in the late 1950's. William rings the bell to announce when dinner is ready...even if we're all already in the house he has to run out and perform this duty. The rusty old thing reminds me of a story told by my grandmother (Catherine Blake Hathaway) in her book titled "When Dabba Was Young" about life growing up in Kilmarnock (just up the road from Enon Hall) where her family ran the only hotel in town.

"Ringing the bell was Wooker's job but I loved to perform this duty. Sometimes she would let me, but under close supervision. First she watched the clock to the precise second and when she said, 'Go,' I started pulling the long rope and pulled until she said, 'Stop.' I have no idea how long the bell had been there, but long enough to be an institution, and also long enough to need some replacements in its mounting. Mama was a person who saw to it that everything was kept in excellent repair, but that old bell had the look of eternity. It had probably stood there since 1910 with neither Mr. Gus, nor Mr. Willie, nor Mama ever giving a thought to the fact that it would not last forever. One day when Wooker was ringing the bell, it tumbled from its mount on the tall pole and hit the ground with a great clank. Family, servants, and guests poured from the hotel, and Papa rushed over from the post office. Looking at the disaster Wooker said, 'Dear Gawd in heaven, this old bell has been standing here since Jesus Christ was a boy.'"

By the way, this charming book is available for sale to benefit the Kilmarnock Museum. The cost is $14.95 plus shipping. If you'd like to help this little museum by purchasing a copy, let me know. (Sorry for being "commercial!") -- Bill

May 19, 2002

Saturday we visited Sherwood Forest, the home of President John Tyler. Interesting house and dependencies. We particularly liked this split rail fence at their smokehouse.

Sunday was one of those days where I spent a lot of time just looking at things trying to figure out the next step. I was up on the roof looking at the flashing. The removal of the asbestos shingles rendered all the flashing ineffective, resulting in a puddle in the kitchen last week.

Also spent time in the cellar mulling over how to approach the removal of the doghouse entrance. Have been trying to locate some plans for building a bulkhead...but nothing yet.

While I stood around staring at things and scratching my head Gay did some painting, so I guess the weekend wasn't a total loss.

Oh, and some sad news...the "damn fig bush" did not survive the trauma of being towed out of the ground and transplanted. Gay's crushed. I feel guilty.-- Bill

May 27, 2002

Memorial Day provided a three day weekend at Enon Hall and the weather was perfect. On Saturday my brother helped me tear down the doghouse cellar entrance. William and his Chapman cousins, Matthew and Tommy, got into the act and helped to pull the final pieces down. It was an impressive tug-of-war match...boys vs. house.

By the end of the day on Sunday I had finished the the majority of the new bulkhead. I just need to pick up some clapboards and lumber to build the doors.

Looks like we'll be able to preserve all of the 18th century clapboards on that half of the Dutch colonial. They are just in need of scraping, priming and painting. They won't match perfectly with the clapboards I installed last summer to the left of the door, but I think it's worth keeping them.

We planted 8 boxwoods around the back porch.

Gay painted the back doors and it made a huge difference. And she didn't let a black snake dangling from the porch ceiling above her head deter her from her work...at least not once the snake had gone away and she had stopped crying.

But that wasn't the end of the wildlife for the weekend. William and his Chafin cousins found a baby chick in the front yard and it was determined to follow them every step they took.

None of us was positive exactly what he is, but the vote ended in favor of him being a baby wild turkey. Whatever he is, he spent dinner nestled inside the neck of Cathy Chafin's sweatshirt...happy as could be. He went home in their care.

And of course it's not Memorial Day at Enon Hall without our own Colonial parade down the farm road with William in his full Colonial attire. Hope yours was good too. -- Bill

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