The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Joseph's Coat or The Six Hued Beast, Part 1

When we moved the Queen, we had to tear down the original roof. Even if we hadn't moved the Queen, most of it would have had to come down. The original roof was wood shingle. This was covered with three layers of asphalt shingles. By the time we acquired the Queen, the roof was collapsing under its own weight (photo below).
The labor cost for dismantling and rebuilding the roof was around $7,000. Then, there was also the cost of the giant dumpster (which we had to empty 3 times before we were finished), the huge mountain of plywood, the tarpaper, and God knows what else. Oh, there was also the new foundation to pay for too. I think I've permanently blocked everything else from my memory at this point.

We were just starting out on this project, and the aforementioned items completely wiped out our savings. Everything. We literally had nothing left. The bank had reluctantly loaned us just enough money to move the house. The only thing we didn't have money for were shingles.

Since we only had three months to move the house, we couldn't wait until we had enough money to finish the roof. If we missed our contractual deadline, we would basically be at the mercy of the company that sold us the Queen for a $1.00. In short, we'd already crossed the line of departure and were chained to our doom.

The whole move was complicated by the weather. Even though it hadn't rained in months, the exact moment we paid James Wyche Construction for tearing off the roof it started pouring. It rained on and off until the Queen was moved. There is nothing like mopping rainwater out of a roofless house to make you feel utterly hopeless. At this early date, we were already wondering what the fuck we'd gotten ourselves into.

Somehow, we managed it. The Queen was moved. She was not ruined by the countless thunderstorms and showers. James Wyche Construction rebuilt the roof to its original specifications, it was decked, and dried-in with tarpaper. We’d survived phase one of our project in the same way as a shipwreck survivor. Clinging to the shattered mast, we were alive and afloat but our ultimate survival was by no means assured.


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