It’s a few months into 2015 already and the year has already begun to take shape. This year one of the projects we really wanted to do was research our house so we can have it added to the National Registry of Historic Places. We bought Stony Ford about a year ago and had some bits and pieces of the history, but wanted to know more. But I didn’t know how to share the story. We have all this visual data in the form of old books and papers, and even 3-D objects. How do we put it all together in a way that makes sense to tell the story of Stony Ford?
Two worlds came together for me over the holidays: HP asked us to try out their new computer the HP Sprout, which is a creative work space. It’s pretty cool – we’re pretty well versed in technology and have never seen anything like it. We can scan 2-D and 3-D items, then work with them as objects in a work space. Sit tight, we’ll show you how we’re using this to help us document and organize all the information we collect about Stony Ford.
Over the holidays, we were working on a long photo project (like shooting and retouching hundreds of images) over several days. I decided to binge listen to Serial, NPRs podcast that explores the story of a murder committed over 15 years ago by a high school student. When I listened to the podcast format for telling a long term story, I was hooked. So we also have a podcast element to this project as well! Honestly, I’m not much of a writer but I can talk to ya for an hour, no problem! So we’ll try out this podcast format and see how it goes. We’re looking to tell the story over 10 episodes.
Here’s how we’re taking our journey:
– We’re using local resources like the Orange County Clerk’s Office and the Goshen Library to start the research on Stony Ford. We’ll see where else we end up along the way.
– As we move into more modern times, we hope to get interviews with locals who remember or have some history with Stony Ford.
I think it’s important to consider all types of history, and fact versus fiction. We’ll be looking at facts like legal documents, newspapers and books. We’re also going to look at oral history and folklore. This is the best form of history to me! We’ve had neighbors tell us stories about their child hood, or they knew someone who had something to do with Stony Ford. What I love listening to most is our neighbor, the nephew of the previous owners, tell us stories about Stony Ford from the 50s and 60s when his uncle owned it. Hopefully he’ll share those stories with us during an interview.
First, organizing this stuff is a task in itself. I like to consider myself a pretty organized person, but it’s SO much paper. Digitizing it helps. First we organize everything on the table, then we scan it in with the HP Sprout. The Sprout allows us to create an ‘object’ out of each item we scan. So as we learn more about a particular topic, we can grab something we scanned and add it to the big picture story. Cool, right? I love that we can use technology to go back in time over 200 years to look at the history of Stony Ford. (Insert nerdy geek out here.)
What do we want to discover?
I’d love to find enough information to register the house with the National Registry, but mainly we’re interested in the architectural details. As we renovate we want to make smart decisions about bringing this house back to it’s former glory, not taking it apart more. The only area of the house we want to modernize is the kitchen, and the stairs that lead to the basement that are in the kitchen, and we want to re-route those so they are not incredibly steep and dangerous. The basement is really cool and we’d like to use it more, but we’re freaked out by the stairs!
I know this house has great energy, and I’d be interested in learning more about the people who owned and visited Stony Ford. What kind of people were they? Where they nice, smart in business, political? Who knows?! I want to get as much information as we can dig up.
It’s my first podcast and it’s really hard to talk to yourself! I’m going to work on getting really good at podcasting cause I love the format! In the first episode, I mentioned how we found Stony Ford, and my OCD online stalking of old home websites. Here’s a few of my favorite links if you want to check these sites every two hours, ok maybe every week is more reasonable.
You can subscribe to our podcast here on iTunes. Join us in a few weeks as we find out when Stony Ford was built, and by who?
This post is a partnership with HP Sprout. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting content that keeps House of Brinson going.