When we bought our house in 1995 and up until recently, it never occurred to me or my husband to closely question the build date of 1950 that had been printed on all of our mortgage paperwork. However, serious doubt has crept in of late.
It started when a band came over to record a few months ago. Several of the band members were contractors and they casually mentioned something about our house having been built in the 1930s based on the limestone block foundation.
When I took the home repair course a couple of weeks ago, I got more ammunition for the argument that our house was built before 1950 based on the original fuse box.
The more we thought about it, the more the 1950 story didn't add up. I dug out the inspection paperwork from our purchase and discovered that even the inspector judged the house to have been built in the 1940s.
There are lots of little details in the unrenovated parts of the house that hint at a pre-1950s origin, including glass doorknobs,
picture molding (and lath-and-plaster walls and ceiling, for that matter),
the original hearth tile,
and possibly even the hinges on the basement cabinets.
Our doubt intensified when we looked at the real estate listing for the house next door to us that's currently for sale. It clearly states that our neighbor's house was built in 1939. When I told my husband, he recalled that our elderly neighbor across the street had once told him that our house was built before that house. So the 1930s estimate of the contractors may have been right on the money.
It seems pretty clear that we were misled about the age of our house when we bought it, either purposely or due to poor record-keeping. We know that our subdivision was established around 1950, so it's possible that some dates got mixed up on a form at some point and never corrected.
One of these days, I might go down to City Hall and do some additional research just for my own amusement. Until then, I'll just have to look for more clues right in front of me.