Advertisement

Farmstead changes with families

The stone house has been rebuilt and restored

The stone house has been rebuilt and restored

July 08, 2007|By PAT SCHOOLEY
(Page 2 of 3)

The farmstead remained in the Funk family, and Laura Funk remembered living in the house with her husband and children, and probably her in-laws as well, until 1917 or '18. The family then rented the house and in 1951 sold it to Eleanor and Charles H. Walrath. The property is described in this deed as, "being the same real estate which descended to the said Frank L. Funk and Nannie G. Funk as the only heirs-at-law of Jacob M. Funk deceased, the undivided one-half interest of the said Nannie G. Funk having been conveyed to the said Frank L. Funk by deed dated November 22, 1929 ... subject to life estate reserved unto said Nannie G. Funk, she being now deceased." Eleanor Walrath along with her two sons, Charles and David, named the farm Cheldacrest and ran a large dairy operation until they sold to John Ernest Schneider in 1968, who rented out the house.

Advertisement

David Walrath, who grew up in the house, once returned for a visit and shared his memories of the place. He said there were three springhouses and a round, dome-roofed stone smokehouse right behind the house. The smokehouse and one of the springhouses were dismantled to build the stone retaining wall behind the house. The small frame outbuilding, about as large as a single-car garage, that stands beside a small dam in the creek was once a cannery that tapped the creek for power at the dam and canned local vegetables.

The front door of the house opens in the second bay from the west and enters a broad hall with a simple staircase. On the first floor, the living room sits to the left of the hall with a smaller living area behind it. This smaller living room is two steps below the main level of the house. On the left is a door to the small side porch and a window, and on the right an exposed stone wall. Several built-in bookcases and a fireplace make this a charming cozy room.

To the right of the stairs is a handsome dining room. Both this room and the main living room have fireplaces with period mantels. The present owners found these mantelpieces in a modern milking parlor, since torn down, and surmised where they must belong by the way they fit. There is also a large stone fireplace with its original crane in the cellar on the east side of the house.

Behind the dining room is a modern kitchen with handsome cherry cupboards and, beyond it, yet another room where the 1905 frame addition enclosed an old porch. At the end of the hall is a door with its original black walnut sill - a single board over 20 inches wide - and its original paneled architrave. Once an exterior exit onto the porch, this door now opens into a bath. Two closed, winder staircases access the second floor. The first two steps of each staircase extend beneath the door into the room.

The master bedroom is above the small living room and at one time was accessed only by the winder stairs. With the addition of the frame wing, an upper central hall has been added, and a window in that bedroom has been changed to a door that opens into that hall. Laura Burger Funk said there had been a pulley from the window of this room to the springhouse on the other side of the creek, which was used to bring water to the house.

In 1970, Tom and Norma Heaton worked in Rockville and were looking for a country home where they could raise vegetables and perhaps have some livestock. They were shown the Funk homestead, then 7.6 acres. It had suffered a fire that burned the main block of the house badly, even taking out several feet of the banister as it rose to the second floor. Soot and fire debris were everywhere, and singed wallpaper festooned the ceilings. The house was unlivable, lacking electricity, heating, plumbing, kitchen or bathrooms. They hired a contractor to fix enough so that they could move in and finish the work themselves. They moved in March 1971. Never having tackled such a project before, they incorrectly thought it would be finished in six months. When they found their first painting jobs sloughing off the walls, they learned that the walls had been coated with calcimine paint, a water-soluble finish that had to be entirely removed before repainting. The walls had to be scraped, scrubbed, primed and repainted.

Twenty years ago the Heatons added a double porch across the back of the house facing the creek, with a double flank of steps leading from the main level of the house to the ground. Five years later they turned their attention to the large stone barn, which had suffered structural damage. They hired a restorer to rebuild the interior and replace the major supports and missing flooring in the haymows. He built handsome stalls with large turned knobs atop the posts. A mason rebuilt the back stone wall under the forebay, which had been torn out to accommodate the large equipment essential to the Walrath's dairy operation.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|