Okay, so here’s the what you’ve been waiting for

23 Apr


Think of a giant tutor style house in the back of a neighborhood that looks unkept and overgrown. It’s the kind of house that a scary old lady would live in. The kind of house that as a child your best friend would dare you to go ring the door bell, but not even the best candy bar would be incentive enough. This is what the house in Park Hill used to be like. This past school year someone has appeared to buy the house, or it was willed to them, and it has been a buzz with restoration activity. The contractors that work on the house had put up a temporary chain-link fence around the entire property, but a few weeks ago they took the fence down and Katherine and I have been drawn by the prospect of exploration ever since. This last Thursday, as we were going on our usual walk, we noticed that there was no one at the house, so I took this an invitation to have a look around. What a treasure we found!
They might be restoring the house, but it appears that no one has attempted to do much with the grounds in the last 40 years. It was like walking back in time. As I stood on the backyard terrace I felt like the next time I turned around I would be in some swinging garden party of the 1920’s. The house is on a bluff looking over the city and the backyard is a series of terraces that go quite a ways down the hill. It was beautiful and I fear almost impossible to explain. The upper terrace runs parallel with the house and has two semi circles jutting out of it that still have patio furniture on them that look as if they are from the late 50’s or 60’s. This terrace has three gates connected to stone staircases that lead you to the next level of the back yard. Theses walk ways wind down the hill, with the center walkway leading to a bridge that goes over a grotto type water feature with a stream leading to a pond further down the way. The best part of the whole backyard though is a the very bottom. There is a swimming pool and the remains of what appear to have been tennis courts. The pool looks original to the house with a double-decker diving board still intact.
It was amazing, but I did not have my camera with me and I decided that I wanted to take pictures to show all of you, so we decided to go back Saturday morning. One thing that we hadn’t counted on was that the fence would be back up. Our hearts were crushed, but we decided not to give up so quickly. On Thursday we had seen a back entrance to the house at the bottom of the hill, probably once used for pool maintenance, and we decided this would be our only chance to get back into the yard without being detected by the residence of Park Hill. So that’s what we did. We walked along the bottom of the hill along the edge of the tree line until we were almost to the zoo and then we saw the old gate through the trees. It took quite a bit of effort, and fence climbing, but we made it back in and I had my camera this time. So enjoy, I wish I could have taken more, but the prospect of being arrested for trespassing was looming over us, so we didn’t stay to long.
garden party back of the house
So here is the top terrace and back of the house from a little further down the hill.
cave bridge
Here is the grotto water feature and the bridge that used to go over the stream, but is no longer there.
pool tile
The pool and a detail of the tile work.
board tennis anyone?
The diving board and what’s left of the tennis courts.
The view from the pool up the hill to the house.

3 Responses to “Okay, so here’s the what you’ve been waiting for”

  1. Mom April 23, 2007 at 1:38 PM #

    Interesting pictures, however, the first one says it all.

  2. Josh April 23, 2007 at 3:45 PM #

    That’s awesome. It kind of reminds me the an old movie from the 50’s staring Vincent Price, House on Haunted Hill. I bet if you were to dig around you’d find some skeletons. I prefer the Hardy Boys, but since you’re a girl you can be our very own Nancy Drew. Keep us updated, and don’t go down any dark hallways without someone with you.

  3. Aunt Jan April 26, 2007 at 1:32 AM #

    Since your Mom has already done the parent part I will say I might have been right behind you going over the fence to see, it would have been very hard to resist. Aunt Jan

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