|Insulation and siding restoration are beginning on this long forgotten Second Empire Cottage in Knox Hill|
Three years ago on a typical weekend in Knox Hill one might be greeted by the sounds of barking pitbulls, boomboxes and occasional gunfire. Large parts of the neighborhood had gone into serious decline as homes that had been in families for years were sold off and replaced by uncaring, unfeeling, slumlords who didn't live here and frankly cared less about what went on here. An influx of Section 8 after the riots in OTR had filled this once quiet neighborhood with crime, meth addicts and prostitutes. There were very few old time neighbors left and at that time just existing in the neighborhood was the best one could hope for and their seemed little hope. It was against that background that we bought our home and started the Knox Hill Neighborhood Association.
Mark Elstun and his wife have lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years and he and his wife had carved out a slice of the neighborhood for themselves on McBrayer . A house overlooking the valley built by an artist in the 1940's that has some unusual stone work and fountains, and another house, a 1880's Cottage surrounded by a native plant garden. In early 2008 they bought another house a two story on Knox that was one of the major "problem property" in the neighborhood that had been "infested" by meth addicts,and was a structural disaster. Mark assembled some friends, called in some favors and, largely by hand, demoed the house. On the site that was left, his wife Diane, an expert in native plants, created an urban rain and a native plant garden. She would often take flowers over to one of the long time elderly residents who had lived on the block since the 1950's to "Brighten her day". When trying to decide where to buy, Mark and Diane were one of the reasons we decided to buy in the neighborhood as clearly they were an anchor in the community.
|The house had clearly seen better days. Siding added in the 1920's and a porch added about 1900 obscured the historic character of the home. The 1950's awnings didn't help either!|
|You can see just see the house in the center of the background of this photo,taken from our front yard years ago|
And so, there are "Signs of Life" in Knox Hill!