Wednesday, August 1, 2007

If Walls Could Talk

Over 100 years later this is still referred to as the "Kurtz Home". We are only the third family to live here. Luzena Kurtz called this home "Front Porch Indiana" because of the beautiful view from the porch.

Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz moved here from Kansas in 1898 bringing the lilac bushes in the front yard with them on a covered wagon. At that time there was a small brick house on the property. They tore part of it down and built this house around it between 1906 and 1908. It had all the latest amenities of the day including central heat, acetylene generated gas lights (the second generator is in the back yard) and a water system fed from two cisterns that would pump water upstairs to a bathtub. Pretty remarkable for a house in the middle of nowhere.

Everyone asks about the "thing" in the back yard. That's the second generator I was referring to. What happened to the first you ask? Well, now that's the story you're waiting to hear.

It seems the first winter after moving into the house was harsh. One particularly cold morning the gas lights had gone out. Mr. Kurtz inspected the situation and determined that the pipes had frozen and decided to use some hot coals to warm them up. He later went to town to conduct some business and upon returning found the lights to be in working order. Problem solved, or so he thought.

At that time the generator was located in a small building somewhat similar to the three hole privy it was located near. Later that evening the lights started to flicker. Mr. Kurtz bundled himself up, grabbed his lantern and headed out. Notice I said LANTERN.

Yes, as you can imagine, once he opened the door to the generator building there was an explosion that was heard for what the newspapers report as far away as 20 miles. The newspapers also report how far away his uh, parts and pieces were found in graphic detail. Fortunately, all family members inside the house were spared even though all the windows in the home had been shattered.

It is told that the widowed Mrs. Kurtz lived in the dark for quite a number of years before being convinced to finally install the second generator. It's also told that this house has a "friendly spirit" living here. I've not met the so called spirit personally in the year we've lived here. But I will confess that I've felt an overwhelming sense of peace since the first moment I set foot in the door, long before I was aware of Mr. Kurtz' demise. I feel like I belong here. I wouldn't mind having my own ashes spread amongst these few acres when the time comes. Although I would prefer a more gentle distribution method.

RIP, Mr. Kurtz


Renee said...

And here I thought that was a still! What a great story, well except from the Kurtz's point of view.

Michelle said...

As a late-comer to your blog, thank-you for directing me to this story. And I love your final words -- too funny!