History Lesson

The year - 1910.
Herbert Allen along with his wife purchase a peice of land directly next to his father Frank's house in Bourndale, MA. There, they build a small, two story house that looked a lot like a barn.

Now Frank Allen was quite an interesting character. He, like most of the other residents of Bourndale, worked at the foundry, which was right down the street. However, he wasn't the most devoted employeer, preferring to hit the bottle a couple days a week instead of going to work. When drunk, Frank was quite the fighter and could have become a professional boxer save for his inability to take even a few hits. On one occassion, some of his friends tested his intoxicated deterity and challenged him to jump in and out of a barrel, thinking they'd get a laugh when he flipped on his face or sent the barrel barrelling down the road. But Frank had the last laugh when he effortlessly jumped up and into that barrel and out again without the use of his hands - pretty good for a drunk guy, huh?

Little Herb couldn't stand his father in this state. He preferred to hang out down the street at a neighbors house. (This house became the Bourndale General Store and then, within the last year, changed owners and became Picola's Pizzaria.) It's rather ironic that Herbert ended up building his own home right next to his father's after making such an effort to get away from him when he was younger.

Herbert was a thrifty sort of man and he and his wife argued frequently when she decided that it would be nice to have a car to drive into the adjacent towns of Wareham and Sandwich. There, they could make more money than they could at Bourndale's little foundry and ax factory. You have to remember of course, at this period in time, they were probably looking at Ford's Model T - the car you could have in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.

Though Herb put up quite a fight against getting the car, his wife's Scottish temper won the war. However, even after purchasing the vehicle, Herb did not like to drive or ride in it. Finally, on one 4th of July, his wife convinced him to drive with her to the parade in Wareham. He grungingly agreed, though when they got there, he continued to sulk in the car while she watched the parade. After a time, Herb decided that maybe he should just relax and enjoy himself as well, so he got out of the car. At just that moment, however, a crazed parade goer flailing his arms about, hitting Herb straight in the head. Herbert Allen later died from head injuries sustained from that hit.

His wife moved out of the house shortly after and rented it to several people before selling it in 1945. It was sold again in 1947 and then, again in 1953 to Robert Thompson. The house was badly in need of updating and repairs at this point, as you can imagine. Robert and his wife Myrtle made many improvments and additions to the house. Robert was quite a handy person and worked a lot with wood. He even made toys for the Palmer brothers who lived next door and still live there to this day. He also loved cats and was known to leave the doors to the house open so his cats could come and go as they pleased. The author of "Bourndale: The Forgotten Village" called the house under Robert Thompson's capable hands, "...an asset to the community..."

However, after they overhauled the house in the mid-fifties, the Thompsons made no further improvements. Being a depression era couple, they squarely believed if it aint broke, don't fix it. They lived in the house until their deaths in the late 90's, early 2000's.

Then, in May of 2004, the engaged couple Mike Banis and Jessica Ferguson bought the house, again in desparate need of updating and repair. This is where our story begins.


SmilingJudy said...

Great story! Welcome to the houseblogs neighborhood.