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, June 21, 2006

Lock It Up

One of the signs of a good contractor or carpenter is that they are as excited by your house as you are.

One night last week, Kenny and I went through the Queen looking at the windows. Kenny really got a kick out of the old, original window locks. He particularly likes the ones in the front room with the bay window. They are cast iron with a spring-loaded mechanism. You pull a knob on the latch and it will pop itself into the unlocked position.

I just finished a two week long shopping spree on eBay for vintage window locks and pulls. Roughly 50% of our original pulls and locks were stolen before we bought the Queen, and, since we’re hoping to move in soon, we thought it was time to lock the place up.

Here are some pictures of the locks we have left.

Fortunately for us the Boswells liked variety in their window locks. The style differs from room to room, so anything goes. Most of the locks I bought off of ebay are nearly identical to last two.

Here is a picture of a window in my son's room sans the trim exposing the window weight pockets. The thing that Kenny and I can’t figure out is this:

Here is a closer look.
In case you still have no idea what I'm talking about, the window frame is cut at a 45 degree angle and the bottom piece is leaning into the weight-pocket.

Not all the windows in the Queen are like this, but a lot of them in the oldest part of the house are. We can’t figure out what purpose these weird splices and cuts would serve. Kenny’s guess is they wanted the windows larger than the frames originally were, so they cut them, spliced in an extension piece on each side, and put it back together. That could be, but some of the windows don’t have a splice. They just have a single 45 degree scarf joint. I can’t help but wonder if this was their attempt to make a bootleg access panel to the window weight pocket. Instead of prying the whole piece of window trim off, they could knock the panel open and stick their hand into the pocket.

Really, it doesn’t sound practical to me. They would have to have been some seriously malnourished SOBs to get their arms and hands into these tiny holes. Moreover, I don’t think that it would be any easier than just popping the trim off.

I don’t know. Thoughts?


Blogger JLynnette said...

I don't have any answers about your windows, but I love your window locks.

How fortunate that they don't all match. I would imagine replacing them was much easier.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Sean said...

You are exactly right about the sash weight access - You can reach in and retie the sash cord when it breaks - not easy, but possible. ( I have done it on multiple old windows)

10:35 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Normal people don't remove the window molding to access the sash weights. They remove the stops that hold the windows in their channels, pull the windows out and unscrew the the screws that hold those sash access doors in place. You should be able to remove the weights bottom first after lifting them a few inches. The purpose of the access panel is to replace broken sash cords. Now a long forgotten art! When I blogged about my dining room windows a few months ago I posted a diagram of how a sash window looks and works. Let me know if you need info on the easiest way to replace a sash cord. I've done at least 40 now and have it down to a science.

12:01 PM  
Blogger John said...

Gary and Sean, thanks for the comments. I've been obsessing about the windows, so I'd like to go into it further. This means I'll be making another post or two about the windows, hopefully with some better photos.

I've replaced a few sash cords, but I am by no means an expert. I'd love to hear any tips you might have to share Gary.


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