|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 30 May 2007|
Graham House, c. 1780
This impressive example of a two-story log house is beautifully situated on a hillside above the Turtle Creek valley. Early records from the 1780s list the property owner as Henry Small who warranted the land to John Frederick in 1787. Later the property passed to the Brinton family (after whom the one-room schoolhouse near Pitcairn was named). From the Brintons the land passed to the Grahams, whose family farm was located in the north-east portion of Patton Township during the much of the 19th century. Christopher Graham died in 1890, and in 1903 his estate sold the land to William Wilson. It remained in the Wilson family for almost 50 years, and in 1942 the Wilson estate sold the house to Milan and Catherine Drakulic.
At that time the house had fallen into sad disrepair. The tin roof had two large gaping holes; the well had no cover, and the pump was gone. The Drakulics immediately began work to update the old house. By 1946 they had installed electrical and telephone service, phone, indoor plumbing and an oil furnace. Although the external log façade was left intact, the interior walls were modernized with paneling; the floors covered in sheet tile.
From the Drakulics, the house passed briefly to a developer, Bernie Dicken, who in turn, sold it to the Richard and Mary Salnick in 1975. By then the house needed extensive work. Mary Salnick remembered:
The tar paper roof was leaking, the foundation had holes that were big enough for snakes and cats to live in. All the outside walls had to be chinked the first summer we were there. The windows were rotten. My friends said to us “When are you going to tear the house down and build a new one?"
The Salnicks began an extensive renovation effort. They replaced all the windows and doors, repaired the foundation, dug out the basement, had a new roof put on, and removed the inside paneling. They then discovered that, at some point, the interior surfaces of the logs had all been painted (either pink or green) which meant that each beam had to wire-brushed, before the inside walls could be re-chinked. The deteriorated downstairs floors were then covered with hard wood flooring recycled from the soon-to-be-demolished D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Children in Pittsburgh.
The result of their restoration effort is a beautifully restored 19th century log home.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 September 2007 )|