We often talk about hands-on history and learning through living books, but how often are the history lessons right in our own backyard? Or our own house? Such is the case with JoAnn, whose home is the homeschool history lesson!
Guest Post by JoAnn of Grover’s Manse.
Being a baptist, I didn’t have a clue what a manse was. We’ve always called the preacher’s home a parsonage. The Presbyterian church, however, refers to their minister’s home as a “manse,” and as a matter of fact, I never thought I’d ever live in one, either. Seven and half years ago, we became dwellers and owners of the former First Presbyterian Church’s manse. The real estate agent did tell us the home had been moved, but was not sure about when and where it was moved from. Thus, began our research…and even better, it could also serve as a history lesson for our daughter, Morgan.
As I mentioned from my first post, my daughter and I have been investigating the history of our house or former manse.
Over the course of the last 7 1/2 years, we’ve visited our county courthouse and library digging in to the past. We’ve also got an archives building at the old county seat we’ve visited and met people who’ve been very helpful.
From these visits, or field trips, we’ve traced our house back to the year 1924. That was the year it was built, less than a block away from The First Presbyterian Church. Reverend Grover Cleveland Currie and his family were the first family to reside here. From my ancestry research, I discovered Reverend Currie came from North Carolina to here in little ol’ Northeast Arkansas. Anything historical or genealogy related is right up my alley!
Pictured below is a copy of the city’s plat in June 1929. A plat map is a map drawn to scale, marking the division of property. The manse and a small building on the property is drawn on the plat, running alongside to W. Gum Street. We are guessing the small building could be storage, or possibly an outhouse. We do have two bathrooms in our home. I’m not sure if they were in the original house plans.
This picture below is a copy of property taxes paid on the manse in 1927. Wow! A whopping $3.60. Our property taxes now are about 300 times that amount.
One of the men I met at the archives building happens to attend The First Presbyterian Church and was gracious enough to send this photo of our house below circa 1940’s. You probably recognize this photo from the top of my blog. I have blown the picture up to an 8×10 and framed it. It’s sitting on a table in my living room for all to see. It’s also without the garage, that would be later added after the manse was moved. If you look toward the back of the house, it looks like there is a back porch, which is now my laundry room.
Do you have any nearby history lessons to explore?
About the author:
JoAnn Greer is a wife to a small business owner and a mom to one teenaged daughter, who competes in archery tournaments. They began their homeschooling journey back in 2010, when they removed their daughter from public school. JoAnn enjoys crocheting, soap making, vintage movies, and tracing her family’s ancestry. In the fall and winter, she’s cheering on her favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. She blogs at Grover’s Manse.