Vintage Crimson

Adventures in Restoring Antebellum Houses in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Category: Crimson Tide

“No Work Is Insignificant”

“No work is insignificant.  All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Martin Luther King  Jr.

IMG_1282

This quote expresses perfectly how I feel about historic preservation.  I know that it has importance to the community and the people who live in it.  The connections that we share with our past and with each other bond us together and define local identity.  Saving my old house has had a positive effects on my block, neighborhood and town.

I have had the privilege to become acquainted with some neighbors in Tuscaloosa who share my beliefs about historic preservation.  They are a diverse group, united by a desire to preserve the culture of a lovely southern town. They are proof that ordinary people can work together in ways that make life more pleasant and fulfilling for everyone.  Certainly their work is of great significance, because it uplifts us all.

I like to believe that I am one of the ordinary people helping to preserve our past in a way that uplifts us all.    I am a mother of four boys (two in college) who is trying to invest my family’s savings in a way that is important to me, my family and the community.   I am striving always to undertake this work with “painstaking excellence.”

Today I received some good news in the mail that validates my efforts.  The letter came from the National Park Service announcing that my application for the Historic Preservation Tax Credit has been approved.  I can scarcely express the feelings of relief, pride and satisfaction that flooded my heart when I opened that envelope!

IMG_2060

Now, what work should I undertake next?

First Game Day!

College football is a dominant cultural force in my state.  People are identified not so much by race, religion,or even gender, but whether they are for Auburn University or The University of Alabama come football season.  It’s more than a sport, it’s a  an obsession.

IMG_1931

The University of Alabama first fielded a team in 1892 and the Crimson Tide has played every fall since except for 1918 , when the season was cancelled for World War I.  For the most part, those have been good seasons for Alabama fans, yielding 15 National Championships.

The first home football game of the fall is a special time for fans of The University of Alabama Crimson Tide.  The weather is cooler, there are parties in every house and parking lot in Tuscaloosa, and the mood is festive.  It’s a time to see old friends and meet new ones.  Everyone comes together for the tradition of spending Saturday in the South tailgating and then heading to the game in storied Bryant-Denny Stadium.

IMG_1929

Denny Stadium was first opened in 1929 and , at that time, it seated 12,000 fans,  It was named for University President George Denny.  The stadium was renamed Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1975 to honor Alabama’s legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.  The stadium has undergone many additions in it’s history.  Now, it is the fifth largest stadium in the United States and seats 101,821.   Trust me, that’s a lot of people yelling “Roll Tide!”

IMG_1933

Last Saturday the Crimson Tide defeated the Rams of Colorado State University 31-6.  It was a good night in Tuscaloosa.  And, it was made even more special for me because, after the game, I walked home to my old house.  It was such a pleasure to turn the corner and see the house with lights ablaze.   There was music pouring out onto the sidewalk and the laughter of happy young people enjoying the mld weather, each others company, and a special Saturday night.

IMG_1930

“The Crimson White” – Thanks!

IMG_1494

 

“The Crimson White” is the student-run newspaper of the University of Alabama. It has been published since 1894.  Today’s edition includes a wonderful story about my old house.   You can read the article at:

http://cw.ua.edu/2013/08/21/plantation-home-to-175-years-of-history/

Thank you to everyone at the paper for their kind words!!

I

A Student’s Prayer

IMG_1572

As the student residents of my old house prepare to resume their studies at the University of Alabama, I would like to offer a prayer on their behalf.  Many things have changed in our world since Thomas Aquinas wrote this prayer in the 13th century, but our desire to learn and understand ourselves and our world has remained constant.

A Students Prayer

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being,

graciously let a ray of your light penetrate

the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born,

an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me keen understanding, a retentive memory, and

the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and

the ability to express myself with thoroughness

and charm.

Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and

help in the completion

I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

IMG_1570

Binding Our Futures Together

Buying a house is akin to getting married.

There is a solemn gathering with a presiding official and everyone wearing nice clothes.  There is a lot of arcane ceremony and formal language.  Papers are signed, payment is rendered.  Everyone shakes hands and congratulates the new owner.

I was very nervous before the closing.  I didn’t sleep much the night before.  It’s such a big step.  All the inspections were good, but how much can you really know about what lies behind walls or under floors?  What if this is all a mistake?  I couldn’t eat breakfast and had too much coffee.  Nevertheless, I found the resolve to sign my name to a check while managing to smile. A ring full of keys was my reward.

Afterwards, it was just us, the house and I, enjoying the spring sunshine.  Ready for the challenges ahead.

Image

Discovering a Treasure

My son found the old house first.  

To be rather large, it seems to have often gone unremarked.  I have met so many people there who exclaim; “I can’t believe I have gone down this street a million times and never noticed this house.”  I like to think the house was waiting for the right person, because my son noticed while walking home from class one night last fall.  He paused long enough to send me a quick photo and this text: “It must be ours!”  Maybe he was intoxicated by the moonlight and magnolias (surely nothing else).  He is such a romantic.  But, then agin, so am I.Image

DSC_0032

Do you believe in love at first sight? The first time I saw the old house, something it it called to me. It wasn’t exactly saying “make me pretty again.” Maybe at a certain age houses are like women of a certain age, we have outgrown being ‘pretty’ in favor of being gorgeous, experienced, powerful […]

%d bloggers like this: