The Paint Me House: Out of it’s Misery

photo 3 This eye-sore was chock full of eye-soreyness since the day we moved in across the street in 2006. It didn’t have any graffiti on it yet, but it was in horrendous shape. My neighbors who have lived around this neighborhood longer than I could tell me more I’m sure, and I’ve heard bits and pieces as to why the house at 705 was in the shape it was in, but frankly such recent history is none of my business. Whatever the reason it can’t be a happy one.

We begged the city to tear it down in 2011 and 2012 – we had our house on the market and though values on all houses were down, this pile of wood and blocks was not helping. Scrawled on it in white spray paint for the last 7 years was “Paint Me” and “Mom” and “I ❤ Ashley”. And so we all called it “The Paint Me House”. Sounded better than the Mom House or the I Heart Ashley House, I thought.

The family next door to it shared with me last fall it would be torn down in November. I guess things needed more time. And then last week flags started going up. Water line. Gas. Phone line. I was hopeful.

Yesterday the big excavating equipment was brought in. (Need an excavator? Call my sister’s boyfriend!) The kids loved seeing the show. They started away at the porch, then took a dinner break. We left for the evening and when we came back- gone! We missed it. I know I have a good picture of it from a few years ago, but I have to find it.

This morning we got a better look:photo 1 (1)

I’ve done a few posts about the history of my house, and as intriguing as that is for you readers (hardy har har) I decided to do a quick search about the beginning years of the heap of bones of a house across the street. In a way, it’s kind of bittersweet. It lost it’s dignity years ago and if I had grown up in that house and seen it meet it’s end like that, it would make me sad.

 A Brief History of 705 Eastern Avenue. Or affectionately known as The Paint Me House.

My 3 year old house on Banning watched as it was being built in 1923. Soon the Patrick McKay family bought and moved in from their house on Edgehill. Patrick immigrated to the US from Ireland at the turn of the century and made his way from New York to Akron to Ashland. He worked as a pump assembler at the FE Meyers Pump Factory. They lived right next to his wife Rosene Marie’s mother, Rosa Yeagle. They and their young family grew to have four (that I know of) children, Mary, Cecilia, Theresa and Patrick Jr.

I could find 3 of their graduation pictures from the page.

Image Cecilia graduated in 1939 from Ashland High School.

 ImageTheresa graduated in 1945 from AHS.

ImageAnd Patrick Jr. in 1949.

The McKay’s made a home in that house for more than 3 decades, and watched as their son and youngest child went off to serve as a Corporal in the Korean War. Then in 1959, his father (now in his mid 70’s) died at Samaritan Hospital. Right up the street.  I can’t find much in City Directories online or info after that to see how long Marie stayed in the house.


That was a chapter in someone’s life. It held memories of new babies, school days, war times and losses. No house will stand forever. Miles was worried that would happen to our house, but I assured him we’d never let it go that far down hill while we owned it.

Miles also consoled me when I shared my disappointment with not getting to see the actual demolition of the whole house. “Mommy, don’t worry- they can just build a new house, let it get old and then they’ll do it again! You’ll get to see that one!”

I hope not:) It would actually just be great to have green space there for a while.

See the video:

 (Sources from Census records from 1930, 1940, Ashland City Directories from 1919-1959, the Ashland County Auditors website, and the Ashland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society’s webpage.)



Walking and Lavender

Some may find it morbid that our normal place to walk (aside from our neighborhood loop we do) is the cemetery. A lot of people walk there. Plus, our love of history, names, and quiet stretches of paved roads without a lot of traffic makes it a perfect place to walk. It can be a good workout with those hills- they can be a killer. No pun intended.

That’s a lie. It was intended, I am just a slap stick nerd.

Miles did his regular fall down and get a skinned knee, but other than that we just enjoyed the temperate weather and got some exercise in after dinner. Clem was wrapped to my chest, head a-bobbin’ as I wandered around trying to find a few shots of cool textures to take. The Mykrantz mausoleum everyone has seen, and forever I hadn’t really thought about how the name was really pronounced. In my head I always thought “myrkatz”. But no, it’s not like the animal, I was wrong. And dyslexic. I learned online that the vault was established on April 8, 1898 and holds 9 family members. I snapped a few pictures of the ornate door, looks very Art Nouveau to me.


A few cemetery walks ago, we stumbled upon grave sites of the Sharr family. (Click on the name to read what I’ve already learned about the Sharr Family- the second family to reside in my house.) There was Carl and his wife Velda, who were both newlyweds and starting their family in my house by the 1930 census. Their 3 year old, Richard, grew up in Ashland and is living (now in his 80’s) so I wrote him last year and he wrote back! The sad part is that a stone next to his parents was for Robert Sharr 1932-1932. They suffered a loss of their little boy in my house. I can’t imagine the pain they must have gone through, and then to think dealing with it in many of the rooms I move in and out of every day. Then I looked back at Carl and Velda’s stone. I had to move a plant out of the way to see the dates on Carl’s side and realized I was touching lavender.

It was small, so I’m sure it wasn’t planted at the time of either of their deaths, but I suddenly realized some thing we had in common besides sharing a home: Three years ago I had decided to buy two lavender starts and plant them in the front flower bed of our house in between the small shrubs.

It was a meaningful moment.