Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Clue from the Past

The bathroom is now a shell of its former self. Cheryl helped me remove the sink and toilet yesterday, though the toilet did not want to go--one of its bolts refused to let go, so I had to cut it off.

While removing the sink I accidentally bumped a porcelain towel rack fixture and broke it, revealing a wad of crumpled newspaper, put there to keep mortar from entering the fixture. A clue, possibly, to the age of the tile job.

Because to be honest I've had mixed feelings about the demolition phase of the project. If this really is the original bathroom, one that's lasted almost 100 years, then how can I take my sledge hammer to it with any real pleasure? It's like slapping your grandmother a few times before taking her off to the old folks home.

So we pulled out the newspaper and found a piece of the upper right corner, which reads: TAMPA MORNING TRIBUNE, Friday, February 7, 1958

What a relief! If this crappy bathroom was remodeled in the 50s, I will take it apart with the full fury and joy of a drunken viking. Except... What if the towel racks were added later and the original tile actually is from 1924? It would mean that the remodelers would have cut out these sections of tile without damaging the surrounding sections. Seems unlikely.

Anyway, the newspaper fragments were mostly from the classified section. This one caught my eye--a small house for sale in Tampa, for $9,500. I was curious, so I looked it up and this one sold for $220,000 in 2007. But today it's in foreclosure and can be purchased for $39,900. Ouch.

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