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A blast from the past

Over the last few weeks we've spent a lot more time at the house during the week (which is more than can be said for our contractor who hasn't done anything at the house for five weeks -  with no explanation of his abandonment of his responsibilities!).  But, lets not dwell on that irritation. 

Earlier in August, Daniel was up at the house to meet with Tony the duct guy.   A car drove up and stopped in the drive and an older gentleman came over to speak to Daniel.  It turned out it was the oldest grandson of one of the previous owners Arthur Jorgensen (as referenced in some of my previous posts).   He was on a driving tour of the area and had made a special trip to visit the house which he called "Arlomead".   Apparently this was the name of the house between 1941 and 1960.  This was a combination of the names of the owners Arthur and Lona combined with the Danish word "mead" which means house.     The gentleman, Reid Jorgensen, was full of wonderful insights into the house between 1941 and 1960.  He described a wonderful childhood, visiting his grandparents in the 40's and 50's.   The one thing that he recalled was the trains passing the house several times a day.  He told us the steam trains going along the rail trail were so loud that they rocked the whole house everytime they passed. 

Today, Reid sent us two photos of the house.  One from the 40's and one from the 50's.

Early 40's  -  Note the screen porch with screens to the floor - exactly how we plan to restore the house

October 1956 - a very small Smoketree. 
Here are some of the recollections that Reid sent us:

I finally had a chance to look at your house really had a mess on your hands! I don't recall Springtown Road over flooding that close to the house. I do remember it washing over the road near the old railroad tracks and perhaps extending 1/2 mile towards the house. 

My Grandfather got to know some of the railroad crews and, when times were tough weather-wise, they would let him get on the caboose to bring him back from town. When they reached the cross-road (it was a narrow dirt road) near Arlomead, they would slow down so he could step off.  The train couldn't come to a full stop as then the brakeman would have to run up the tracks behind the train to warn any oncoming trains. (All this before railroad walkie-talkies, etc.) In this way, he was able to keep the house supplied with basic stuff. How he got back into town to retrieve his car, I don't know. I can suppose tho' that the Springtown Road "help system" was already in place!

A couple of notes here about the railroad tracks...(you may know this of course)...the tracks were other words, when you approached them (from either side) a driver had to go up a slight rise before crossing them. There were no lights or crossing gates...just a wooden diamond shaped sign marked Railroad Crossing...Look Out For The Engine! All this for a 100 car coal train!  There were lights at the bottom of the hill in town, just before crossing the Wallkill Bridge. No gates tho'!

The first time we visited the house, we kept watching for the 'rise' in the road. Well, it wasn't there anymore, so, for a few moments, we lost our bearings!

One final railroad note: as I was driving away, on Springtown Rd., after our visit, just before the old tracks (now rail trail), I noticed a wooden railroad crossing sign in one of the back's on the left as you approach the old tracks. It's not an original, but it may be one that replaced the original.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.. the one on your web-site shot from the front of the house will be a nice companion to the one I've sent you.

Final note: after you cross the Wallkill River bridge, and head towards Springtown Road, the large field on the left was a airfield for Piper Cubs, Stinsons and some Bi-Planes. My Mother & Father both took flying lessons there and used to fly over the house (1945-6) and "buzz" all of us!

It's amazing.  It feels like DeJoux House's history is finding us just as much as we discover it through our investigations.


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