Monday, July 6, 2009

A look back

Walter L. and Lillian Bilisoly were the original owners of our house, which was listed as 732 Park Avenue. We are not positive of the exact date it was built but it was sometime between 1900 and 1905 (this was the first time it was listed in the Portsmouth City Directory). The Bilisoly family was well known in Portsmouth, from my research most of them were doctors or druggist. Herman and Lydia Aspegren immigrated from Sweden and lived in our house from 1911 to 1923, they had 5 daughters when they moved to Norfolk. Herman Aspegren was the president of Portsmouth Cotton Oil Refinery. Their granddaughter, Karin Eckelmeyer, was gracious enough to talk to me and send me these pictures (how I found her is a story for another day!).

The Aspegren family on the side porch.

Lydia Aspegren (center) and relatives from Sweden - sometime in the 1920's.

Lydia Aspegren (far left) riding with her daughters. The brick pillars behind them are still in front of our house but strangely they are much shorter!

The girls on the roof of our shed. We still have the shed (which is filled with 100 years of wood) but it looked much better when it was new - I'm not sure I would stand on the roof today!!

After the Aspegren's moved out, our house had many owners. It was once used as a Parsonage for the Methodist Church and was eventually turned into apartments sometime during WWII (as most houses in this area were).

Matt and I are trying to update the house as best we can without altering the historic integrity. The changes that were made to the house before we got here probably will not be corrected while we live here but by in large the house is as it was originally planned.

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