It seems that Riverton's Little House That Could has a fan base. I have received several emails and texts requesting updates on our favorite renovation project and I can report that the initial progress had been slowed by paperwork and permits. But now, FINALLY, this weather and age beaten house is starting to get a major overhaul!
Fascinating information came forth after our first Facebook posting of this house. There were questions about age and ownership and it became so interesting when people who were familiar with the house started chiming in! We learned from neighboring Cinnaminson resident Matt Gideon that "It might have been Louis Corners house where fire was stopped. He was a plumber and a member of Independence Hook and Ladder Co of Riverton and Palmyra. I have no idea how far down the block the fire got before being controlled. The home should be about 125 years old as you say. About 2/3 of the block was destroyed by fire late at night January 11, 1890."
Matt continued, "The fire was started by an arsonist who set fire to the stables in the rear of Robert's General Store located at Main and Howard Streets. The fire destroyed the General Store and stables then headed down Main Street. It destroyed the dwelling and barbershop of William Wolfschmidt and then the home of Rebecca Faunce. The fire was finally stopped at Louis Corners home but not before the home was heavily damaged."
Blackened rafters in the attic may support some of what Matt was explaining. As stated before, a major roof collapse from a heavy snow load in the past few years, definitely added to the damaged condition of the roof supports. Then, it became very exciting to hear from John and Mary Hartnett who had some real residential connection to the home.
"We are beyond happy to see that our old home will soon be restored!! My husband moved there in 1957 when he was two. We sold the house in 1989 after our second child was born. We still live in town, so it was hard to see the house in such disrepair." John added, "I have set of plans for a second floor addition. They're for a new master bedroom and bath and to make it a true 3 bedroom house. They were drawn up in 1988". Now, 27 years later, new plans for a master bedroom with an en suite are in the design plans of the current owners!
So...where do things stand now? Apparently, just kicking into gear!
Kitchen walls have been removed to reveal some of the design plans for that open concept that is so popular! Older homes are divided by so many walls, that it seems builders believed the more rooms they could fit into a house, the better. Not so anymore. We are drawn to the freedom of unrestricted sight! This house will reflect that!
Owner, Tom Kilroy looks on as the back of the house has been removed in preparation to install new support for that master suite and bath.
More tarp! With the top of the house removed, Heavy blue plastic sheeting protects the exposed support rafters!
So far...so good! Still waiting for PSE&G to connect electric to the house has meant that recharging tool batteries for owner/contractor Mike Vogal has been a little bit of a challenge. But that should change soon! Sawing, drilling, hammering, and full blown renovation will soon take course once there is electricity, so stay along for the ride! Updates will be posted when changes are made. And this little house, in the little town of Riverton, will become a home...a decent size home at that, very soon!
Photos by Denise Kilroy