photo old house, 225 sq ft

ClareBroommaker's picture

My understanding is that this house is on land that was a dairy within the city until sometime in the '40s or '50s. Nearby houses do appear to be post WWII wood frame. It does not match in style or size. Looks 1890s to 1920s to me. I always thought it would be a good yard to completely fill with garden. The house is 225 square feet and the lot is 7725 sq ft.

In recent years "the internet" made a big deal of the charm and simplicity of living in tiny homes, most often on wheels. I don't find much charm, but a lot of impracticality in the idea. But I'm glad there are still small homes to be had. I don't think my city would permit such a small house any more.

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225 square feet. That sounds like a New York City studio apartment.

Let's see: single room containing galley kitchenette along one wall. Closet. Enclosed bathroom of about 50 square feet. Bed is a Murphy, pulling out of the wall OR a daybed OR a sleeper sofa.

Doable for one person or a couple.

Or more. 225 square feet might have been the size of the soddy in Little House on the Prairie that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in as a girl with ma, pa, and two sisters.

David Trammel's picture

My sisters is post WW2 and very small but is still huge compared to this. I wonder if it wasn't an out building for the diary in some capacity. And has just been gentrified in later years. Dairy would imply quite a bit of land for feeding the cows, or a barn for shelter. Can't imagine how you would run one in a city proper, but then what we view now as being forever in the urban was rural not a century ago.

Ripping into this house here, making repairs we had to drop some of the plaster. It has zero insulation inside the studs. Guess that's the advantage of unlimited cheap energy.

ClareBroommaker's picture

This house is just a few yards away from the city's Tillis Park not to be confused with the County's Tillis Park, though named for same family. The neighborhood and park abut the land that used to be the potter's field (now two story garden apartments) until the remains were moved to another cemetary. Next to that was the city Poor House (now an architectural firm) Then came a collection of hospitals, sanitariums, and effectively prisons though named something medical sounding. At least two of these institutions had farms attached, on which the residents who were able both worked and were fed. These acres were out in the country, though city owned. There was much land and some of it still unbuilt in the '50s. Houses mostly look very much like what you've posted of your sister's. Actually they are some really sturdy houses.

I have wondered whether this was a wash house or building where grain was cooked for the cows in winter. My Dad, though, told me that his grandmother lived in a little house like this with the central chimney! Old maps do show many tiny buildings in the city with fire/boilers in them. Wash houses in the Great Depression were sometimes used as residences or in later decades expanded into auto garages.

Guess I'd like people who think they need to run off to a rural area in order to have a good sized garden to look around where they already live. Consider how to reuse what is already built. Stuff like this little house might suffice for some.

Oh and when I look at the house from the side while standing in the park, or when looking at arial views on Google, I think I do see some older foundations, plus a couple of low retaining walls which would not have just been sitting in the middle of the grazing field. I think there might have been a larger house here as well as this little building. Perhaps the farm house?

Agreed. I've never understood the idea that in order to grow veg or be more sustainable and resilient, one has to live on a sunny dirt road deep in bear country.

We bought in town specifically so we could walk to as many services as possible. We've got an older house on a 1/4 acre lot.

1/4 acres (including the house's footprint along with a driveway and a toolshed) is large. There's plenty of room for raised beds, clotheslines, compost areas, grass, and wilderness.

If I had more land, it would be given over to wilderness, not veg and fruit. We don't keep up with what we have now.

lathechuck's picture

A coworker (with a high-income wife, and no kids) wanted a house on a big lot (with room to train his show-dogs) in a developing rural area. He said that no bank would lend him money to build the modest house they needed, because, in that market, anyone else who could afford the land would insist on a big house. They'd just have to tear his down (even if new) just to get it out of the way. So the bank wouldn't recover the mortgage if my coworker defaulted. So, he built a big house (with a big mortgage, of course).