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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Joseph's Coat or The Six Hued Beast, Part 2

Well, here is the rest of our six colored shingle story. I hopes it satisfies your curiosity. I've considered a Part 3, but I'm not sure how informative it would be. I mean, if you've wrecked a trailer and chained a contractor to your house until he finished the job, what more is there to say about it? Anyhow, here it is:

We still needed shingles. Buying them new was out of the question. A rough estimate for asphalt, 30-year shingles was around $4,000.00. We looked into tin, and, unless we could scavenge it for free, it wasn't any cheaper. The stuff we really liked, pressed tin shingles or other period roofing cost more than moving the Queen, so it was out of the question.

When we started working on the Devil Queen back in the primordial past of our lives, it never occurred to me to look for building materials at auctions and estate sales. My ever resourceful wife did.

My wife loves auctions and estate sales. Bidding and bargains, how much better can it get? Our house is furnished with lots of furniture from estate sales. Actually, if it wasn't a hand-me-down or heirloom from our parents, it's from an estate sale.

My wife started going to every sale she could find in a five or six county area. One week in the early fall, my wife, her mom, and step-dad went to an auction in Ozone, Arkansas.

Ozone is over an hour away from Atkins under the best of conditions. It is up in the foot hills of the Ozark Mountains in the middle of a national forest. Pretty country, but there isn't too much up that way except for marijuana. Wandering around the woods isn't a good idea, people are very protective of their cash crops.

The ad my wife had seen for the auction advertised "building materials." She figured what the hell, why not go? This auction was on a weekday, so I missed the fun.

According to my wife, it was a weird auction. Actually, the auction itself wasn't weird, it was the people there. My wife was about five to six months pregnant at the time, and she must have had a serious Mother Goddess, Sheela Na Gigs vibe. She had three or four men obsessed with her and her pregnant belly. They followed her around and talked to her the whole time she was there. I guess they needed some of her fertility mojo. I'm glad my in-laws went with her, or my wife may have ended up in some backwoods, pagan temple-grotto.

Besides cultists, my wife found shingles. Not just a few squares either. They had four pallets of shingles for sale. Needless to say, when they went up for sale, she bid on them an won them all for $100. If I recall correctly, I don't think anyone else even bid against her.

My wife and I were trying to remember how many squares (a square equals three bundles for those who don't know) we got. I thought we'd gotten 74 or so. She thought we'd gotten 110 squares. The more I think about it, the more I think she has the right number.

The shingles were in really good condition. They were all three-tab architectural shingles (in threory they have a 40 year lifespan), and almost every bundle was intact. They'd been stored in an old barn, so they were kept out of the sun and rain.

There were, however, two problems. One, they came in a wide variety of colors: dark gray, middle gray, light gray, green-gray, orange brown, brown, and red brown. At first, we thought there might be enough of the grays to do the whole Queen, but I guess you know how that turned out if you've seen the photos. The other problem was we had to move all of the shingles ourselves. The irony of it all was that the shingles had originally been bought in Russellville and hauled up to Ozone. Now, we were hauling them back. Beautiful.

In short, we hauled the shingles back to Atkins, we finally got someone to install them after a thunderstorm tore half the tarpaper off the roof, and I discovered that I could live with any roof if it cost a hundred dollars. Besides, whole Joseph's Coat thing grows on you after a while.

If someone out there is just dying to hear the expanded version of the story, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be moving on . . .


Blogger Kristin said...

What a bargain! I could definitely live with a rainbow roof for 100 bucks. I love estate sales and auctions, too. And eBay.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Tony Maro said...

My only confusion is why a post about shingles has a picture of a copper roof?

12:19 PM  
Blogger GreenDogThree said...

Do tell more!

12:34 PM  
Blogger John said...


Sorry for the confusion. The copper roof was simply an illustration of the kind of roof (high-end metal) that we can't afford.

Admittedly, perhaps a picture of a copper roof wasn't the best choice. The Queen would probably look even stranger with a copper roof than the six colored shingles.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Look at it this way, you have 40 years to find a pallet of shingles that are all the same color. Now that might cost you $200 at an Ozark auction. I wonder if your wife would have got them cheaper if she wasn't pregnant?

7:36 PM  
Blogger Tony Maro said...

Ah, I see now - I must have scanned the post so fast I missed that you were explaining what you COULDNT afford. One day I'll become observant... maybe not.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Sven said...

good Job! :)

12:59 AM  

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