More on John Allen's House

James Powell <jpowell@...>

Well, just a day after I posted the photos of what I thought was a house that replaced John's house, I find out the house on the site is the ORIGINAL! Seems it was renovated after the fire, and then sold. The following comments are from the Model Railroader/ Forum in reference to a post I made about John's house back in May....

"I was at John's house the night of the last operation of the railroad. All was well when we left for the night. John's brother left the main heater burning to keep moisture out of the house. He did not know that John did not use this heater ever. John made the mistake of wrapping tarpaper around the flew behind the Cold Shoulder area. This tarpaper was what caused the fire. John always used the wall heater in the railroad room and let the heat rise to the rest of the house. The house that now stands on the lot is the original house. The fire only destroyed the railroad room. The living room floor saged and the house had alot of smoke damage. To restore the house, all timbers and studs in the basement had to be replaced. This meant removing the remains of the railroad. None of which was salvageable. The house was restored and sold to a neighbor. Or restored after purchase, I don't remember. It was rented out last I knew. It may have changed hands again, who knowes. But the railroad is history for sure. There are a few surviving pieces of rolling stock and blackened structures. They are scattered across the country with various owners.
Cheers to an old friend! - Keith"

Well now, that makes the photos even more interesting! That is John's old house! Wonderful!

-James Powell


Interesting photographs. Just what I imagined having read Linn
Westcott's book. Out of curiosity, I got the satelite photo off of
Mapquest, but you can't see much for all of the trees. I was also
curious to see what 140 Irving street looked like. That was John's
previous home where the first G&D was constructed. This was
described by Linn as a long narrow structure. The satelite image
shows what appears to be a strip mall and parking lot in the general
area, so the house must be gone now.

Regarding the sagging floor in the living room, there was a humerous
anecdote published in Model Railroader several years ago by John
Paige, I believe. Apparently John had no use for the obstructions in
the train room which happened to hold up the rest of the house.
Three of these were eventually disguised as described in Linn's book,
but appaently John removed one of the offending posts, only to have
the resulting sag and weakness in the living room. A cartoon
rendering in MR shows John and his guest cautiously groping their way
along the living room wall on their way to the basement.