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, February 20, 2007

Rim Job

I'm probably getting way ahead of myself, but I'm obsessing about door hardware. Sure, the Queen isn't painted, I really need to be doing some serious prep work, finishing bathrooms, and what not, but what I really like to do is strip and shellac my doors and fit them with rim locks.

I never really thought about it until I read this post over at the Emery Restoration, but some of you, particularly bungalow dwellers and all that came after, might not be familiar with these buggers.

From the little reading I've done, rim locks were very popular (if not the only real option) at the end of the 1700's through roughly 1900. Prior to 1830, most if not all rim locks were imported from Great Britain since there were no manufactures in the states at that time.

The Devil Queen was built in 1890, and, judging from ghostly voids like the one shown below, all of the Devil Queen's doors were equipped with rim locks.

So, where did the locks go? During those long years that she sat vacant waiting for some dumbass like me, someone stripped her of all her hardware. Lucky me. The prices for replacements, whether antique or reproduction are sky high, particularly when you are looking to buy eight to ten of these things (go here and here to look at some of the beauties out there). That could easily add up to $400-$500 at the minimum. You can't even get a good deal on most of the ones on eBay either.

These two reproduction locks are fairly modest and probably what the Devil Queen had. The first set is about $60 and the second around $90.

So, I'm just a poor bastard left selling his ass on a street corner to finance his addiction to old house hardware, right? Mercifully, no.
For once, I am a bit of a lucky bastard. When we torn down the old farm house in Atkins, we stripped all of the doors and hardware. Also, when we bought the Devil Queen, my mother-in-law bequeathed her antique doorknob & hardware collection to us. And, the good folks at Nightmare on Elm Street sent us some more. So, at no cost to ourselves, we have quite a collection from which to chose.

Now, the real question is, will all or any of these locks fit our doors?
And the answer to that will be another post.

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Blogger Chelsea said...

Huh, I never knew the name of those locks. We have one, but its all busted up. I had no idea they could get that expensive! Reproduction companies must be making a fortune off of all of us renovators.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Angus said...

I expected to find lots of old rim locks here in Joymany, and went looking on eBay to see if I could find you some.... Problem is that the germish word for lock (Schloss) just happens to be also the german word for castle... I did find some nice auctions, but considering I know how much time you've put into the Queen, I'm guessing the Schloss-es which I found might be just a bit too much to take on.

2:03 AM  
Blogger John said...


Yeah, stealing hardware from an old house is like stealing gold teeth from a corpse. Even busted, you could probably sell your lock for $15-$25.


Funny, I never noticed that before. Makes sense though. I don't know, I've always wanted a castle. I wonder how much a small one would cost . . .

Yeah, I need that like I need a hole in my head.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Lenise said...

If you've got extras left over, let me know- I'm missing one!

Our house is actually supposed to have been built in 1920... I wonder if it's older than that?

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

We had this weird lock on one of the pocket doors in the kitchen. It must have been installed sometime after the house was built because the darn thing stuck and caused much difficulty in trying to get the door to slide as it should.

My husband took the lock off thinking it was some contraption like your rim locks and instead it was a something that required hacking out ALL the wood and replacing it with the entire facade (we thought) of metal for the lock.

So now our pocket door has this huge 5x5 (at least) hole in it just above the pocket hardware for pulling the door out of the wall (the hole joins the edge of the door). Erg.

Hubby says we have to get a whole new door because of the geniuses that raped the door. I keep thinking there must be a way to fix it but probably not.

12:34 PM  
Blogger John said...


I'll keep you in mind, we'll probably have some left over. Is there a particular size you are looking for? We have two (maybe three) different sizes.


It's hard to say without seeing a picture, but it is possible to repair stuff like that.

I'm guessing you'll be going for a stain grade look? A piece of wood may be spliced into the whole. The real trick is making it blend with the rest of the door. Faux wood graining, staining, and shellac might do it. Then again, depending on what you have, it might not.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous kingstreetfarm said...

Hey! We have them too and like you, I had NO idea what they were worth. Thanks for the heads up, that's pretty interesting.

SO glad to hear that you guys will probably have enough of them to suit your needs--if not, let me know, as I think we're going to have to bite the bullet and replace one door that has a rim lock on it. Since the rim lock is actually not really secure enough to be used on an exterior door in this day and age, we are not planning to reuse it. At least, not there.

1:33 PM  
Blogger John said...

Yeah, rim locks are not the most secure locks available. We're replacing all of our exterior hardware with modern, period-esque ones.

And, thanks for the offer too. I'll keep you in mind if we run short.

6:28 AM  
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