Making Wright Right

Land Mark Documents

History Start Point for This Site

Jacob's II was purchased by the Taylor family in 1962, when the house was about 14 years old. There were 2 larger bedrooms upstairs at either end. Three small dormitory like rooms were in between. These rooms were about 9x7 and irregular in shape. With 5 children ages 10 to 19, this was a bit tight. When one of the larger rooms became an office, it became crowded. I was 10.

The first major task was to convert Catherine Jacob's art studio/barn into a remote bedroom for my two older brothers. It was given plumbing, heat, and real windows and doors. Once this had been completed, this gave everyone else in the house a room of their own. It also gave my older brothers more freedom from us kids.....

That really ended any changes to the house required by our family. The family had problems starting in 1968, and starting in about 1969 the house was rented out during the school year. During the summers my mother and those of us in town would live in the house. As a result of the graduate students who rented the house and the numbers of parties which were held, it is quite likely that you know someone who has been in the house.

In about 1976, some friends and my mother shared the house and it was again under more friendly hands. By this time the windows were very hard to open and close. Too many doses of caulk had been applied by those who thought it might make a difference to the escalating heat bills. $3,500 was the usual heat bill at this point. The cost of the heat bills was a major reason for the house being for rent. That cost could be split over a number of tenants.

By about 1978, I was the member of the family sharing the house with these folks. One was a computer professor I was studying with. Some of his friends were working in the area of energy conservation. They did measurements of wood thickness, stone thickness, insulation amounts, and just about everything that could be quantified. The conclusion was that approximate 20% losses were due to the lack of roof insulation, lack of insulation under the radiant floor, air infiltration, single thickness glass in most places, and no insulation in the berm down to frost depth( about 4' ).

This led to the investment by the renters of a high efficiency ( 80%) boiler for the house in December 1979. The hope was that savings would easily pay for the cost. Unfortunately the various sets of tenants had decided to chop wood on the limestone hearth. There was no concrete there and the usual rain which came in the chimney in time got under the floor in this area through the cracked up hearth. When they replaced the boiler the day after Christmas, they failed to repressurize the radiant floor. When it was determined that the pipes were leaking, they wished us luck and left!

This was December in Wisconsin! Gads.... So I did the only thing that made sense. We dug out the hearth to see how extensive the damage was. It was restricted to two small areas on one main pipe. I visited a garage I cleaned and brought home radiator hoses and clamps. We cut open the hoses and applied enough of a patch to get some heat for the night.

It was at this point that I discovered the joys of Epoxy Plumbers Putty. I made a bandage of the stuff after draining the floor, and we were back in business. Unfortunately, it was heat intolerant and this had to be redone every 2 weeks. It was a very sad day when we packed up and moved out on Valentines day. The good part was that it was in the 40's and none of the plants died. The mud made a mess and one of our household had a heart attach. The last thing I did was to turn off the floor ( heat ), drain it, and close up the house till who knew when..............

The above pictures were taken after the restoration started in 1983 and completed over the next two years.

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Last modified: 3/8/2009