Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Preserving Hawthorne Housing History
Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
Last year, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity purchased quite a few homes in Hawthorne to rehab or in some cases demolish and build new. Folks may have heard a little bit about that in the press, what with President Carter and Vice President Mondale working together in the Hawthorne EcoVillage. It was kind of a big deal. The story of 315 30th Ave N is a big deal too, but on a more personal level within Hawthorne.
Habitat bought this property with the intention of rehabbing the home, but through an odd sequence of events, both the vinyl siding and the paint underneath tested positive for lead. The abatement costs for lead removal just about doubled. That, combined with some foundation issues, led Habitat to the conclusion that they could build a longer-standing and less expensive house by demolishing and starting anew.
When that news spread, one of Hawthorne's newest residents came to the rescue of some of the features that still remained at the property. Brian Finstad just happened to be living in a house that was...
...built by the same architect that did 315 30th. As luck would have it, many of those trimmings were some of the few items missing from Brian's new home. You'd think that removing pieces from a home set for demolition (and doing so with permission) would be easy, but with federal regulations nothing ever is. We had to clear everything with Habitat so that 1) nobody was stealing anything, and 2) none of the work being done would happen in a way that was out of line with federal rules regarding lead abatement.
It helped that when Finstad brought his home up to code compliance, he became certified in lead paint removal. And it's also worth noting that with changes to the code compliance process general contractors are now a requirement. The code compliance process is difficult enough for the average person to navigate, but that change makes it virtually impossible that NoMi will get new neighbors in the same way that Brian came to our community.
So one Saturday afternoon this spring, several Hawthorne neighbors got permission from Habitat to remove the historic features at 315 30th Ave N. We couldn't save the house itself, but we did keep much of its history. Those items will be restored and used at a home built by the same architect in the same community. A little bit of our history is preserved, and through Habitat we get to welcome more new owners into Hawthorne later in the year.