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March 24, 2005

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this is the before picture; touch picture for after partial salvage

This was a heartbreaking salvage. While not pristine (oak and fir floors were covered with wall-to-wall carpet), this was the solidest craftsman home I've been in. I mean, this place was built. Heavy door jambs, thick plaster, leaded glass built-in cabinets, box trim and columns, divided light windows throughout, this 80+ year old house could stand for another century or two. But it won't. It's being knocked down to make way for a multi-unit building. Urban density is good, but given the prevailing new construction standards in Seattle, the new building will probably fall apart or need to be knocked down in thirty years or so. Hey, destroying to build again is profitable. Just look at Iraq. It's on a whole other scale over there, but the business model is basically the same: Smash 'em and cash in.

I asked Connie what could be done to help preserve such irreplaceable houses; the sad answer was not much. Well, heartbreaking though it sometimes is, at least the ReStore's salvage work draws attention to the value of old materials and methods--which might inspire people to think twice before selling out to developers or needlessly remodeling their homes.