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!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Miniature Disasters - Part II

It was a long night. Two very nice gentlemen from the Pope County Sheriff's Office came out to the Devil Queen. They toured the house, took photos and dusted for prints. Unfortunately, except for the foot print on the front door, there were no prints of any sort. According to the deputies, wood (in general and painted in particular) and door knobs don't hold finger prints very well. After they'd finished their work and left, I jury rigged the door and cleaned up enough to have some place to sleep. It was 2 AM at that point. The bedroom was still a mess, so I passed out on the couch.

Fortunately, I had Tuesday off since it was Veterans' Day. I spent most of the day cleaning up the wreckage.

While cleaning, I found the following items were missing from the Devil Queen:

1) A compound miter saw
2) An electric drill
3) A Skilsaw
3) Two guns (one a very expensive Dan Wesson revolver)
4) A DVD player
5) My digital camera
6) One pair of sterling silver, Edwardian cufflinks
7) A 14 carat gold tie tack with small rubies and emeralds.
8) Around 200 CDs.

Totaled with the damage to the door and the cost to replace it, we were left with a $4,000 insurance claim. Our insurance company, Traveler Insurance, was very pleasant. I'd never filed any sort of insurance claim in my life, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Like most, I'd heard horror stories. Fortunately, I have none to share. The only thing that sucked about the whole insurance experience was the $1,000 deductible. So, even though we got a new door and decent chunk of money, a lot of what was taken has not been replaced. The man-jewelry was all antique and one-of-a-kind so replacing it isn't really possible.

I spent Wednesday faxing and emailing descriptions of all of our stuff to every pawn shop and antique store I could find in our area. Nothing that was taken has shown up to date.

I heard from my in-laws a month or two ago two guys, one 18 and the other 21 or 22, were arrested for burglary in Pope County. If they were in fact the ones who broke into the Devil Queen, they certainly haven't volunteered any information. I can't help but wonder though.

In any case, the whole experienced sucked. Shocking, I know. Scarlet and I both find it ironic that we've been robbed twice at the Devil Queen. In our years together, we've lived in Washington, D.C., Rockville, Maryland, and a slummy area of Savannah, Georgia. I spent most of my life in Little Rock while it was over run with gangs. We've lived other places too. Everyone was so worried when we moved to the big city, but we never had much of a problem anywhere. We move back Scarlet's ancestrial home, and we get robbed twice in two years. It makes you wonder about all that horse shit about how small communities are safer and more family friendly places.

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Blogger StuccoHouse said...

Wow, thats a whole lot better service than you'd get in Minneapolis. A friend of mine had her house broken into & the cops laughed at her when she asked them if they were going to take prints. They told her to file an insurance claim & thats where it would end. When I had my purse/identity stolen by delivery men, the cops wanted to handle it over the phone. Didn't even question the guys who stole it.

Bummer about the stolen stuff and the deductible. Hopefully those numbskulls try to sell it at one of your pawn shops.

9:45 AM  
Blogger John said...

Wow, that is terrible. I haven't dealt with the police here all that much, but I'd say that they relish any opertunity to hunt down a bad guy.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous sarah said...

several years ago I lived in van buren and was robbed. the sheriff deputy came out and took our report. I don't think that law enforcement make any attempt at solving home robberies. You will never forget the sight of that opened door as you approach the house. It still haunts me some 6 years later.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

Terrible. I hope you kept checking back with the pawn shops and antique stores. Sometimes this stuff turns up there months later. Having worked for the Sheriff's Dept. at a small county (pop. 30,000 for the entire county) I can say that burglaries are all too common in rural areas, and unfortunately, there's not a lot that can be done to catch the thieves. Usually there are no witnesses to provide a suspect description and fingerprints are almost impossible to get from a doorknob or door frame. Sometimes ours get solved when the bad guys get caught with a carload of stuff that obviously doesn't belong to them, or when law enforcement gets a confession out of them during another interview. Hopefully that's what will happen in your situation.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Lenise said...

I'm glad they left the matchbox cars. Some lowlife stole my kids' Cars shoes out of our van. Thankfully, they were being replaced anyway and were not going to make it to Daniel.

Sometimes I get concerned about what our neighbors are up to. That might have something to do with the multiple law enforcement vehicles I've seen next door...

5:06 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

I share your horror/amazement at living crimeless in big cities, only to move to a small town and having the house broken into. After 30 years in NYC, I moved to a small historic town that is actually organized around a church. This house got broken into--while I was upstairs sleeping! In retrospect, though, the break-in wasn't as bad as dealing with the police afterwards. Really made me want to get back to a city. Good luck to you.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

FYI- I had a 1974 Honda 750 four motorcyle stolen off the front porch when I lived in London (Pope County). It had two flat tires and was stuck in gear - it must have taken 3 guys to load it. I concur, big cities = safer.

3:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Sarah, you're so right about thinking about the door every time I come.

Jayne, thanks, I plan to keep looking. Like you said, you never know when or where it might turn up.

Lenise, only bastards steal kid's shoes. You never know about your neighbors. My Dad lives in a "good" neighborhood one of his neighbors was taken away by the police, bare footed and handcuffed. Know one knows why.

Kathy, thanks!

Ray, damn man, you have some rotten luck. Sadly, I'd believe it though.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Brenda from Flatbush said...

Major bummer, so sorry! We haven't been broken into since the crack epidemic peaked in the late 80s, they used to steal any old crap back then. We were so traumatized we still use an alarm system every night.

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