An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press


Friday, August 14, 2009

Edgewater Mansion with Strange Plumbing and Electricity

If you live in Chicago, you probably pass by places like this every day -- bigger and older than the houses around them, and a little shabby, too. Worn and almost invisible. Like people of a certain age, we tend to ignore them, seldom wondering about their history or the stories they could tell.

Or how strange they might be on the inside.

The first floor was filled with antiques.

Lots of them, and things that looked like antiques but probably weren't, or would become antiques given enough time.

Some were actually pretty nice; a real find for the right person.

Many of the walls had religious scenes taped to them.

Or landscapes and pictures of animals taken from books or magazines. I don't know why.

But what really set this place apart was the plumbing and electrical work.

This toilet was on the first floor, in the pantry. There were no doors on this room -- it was situated squarely between the kitchen and the dining room, and obviously meant for storage and pass-through. Maybe it was intended for the kitchen help's comfort and convenience, once upon a time. If so, I hope they were good about washing their hands afterward. Though exactly where they were supposed to do that is unclear. Unlike most of the other rooms in this place, there was no sink. I don't know why.

Thank goodness the people running the sale left the upper floors open. There was strangeness to be found up here.

One room was filled with artwork. You know those news stories about people who bought a painting for $25 dollars that ended up being worth a fortune? This seemed like the type of place where you'd find that kind of thing.

Across the hall was a room full of lamps.

And lamp shades. And a sink. Sinks had a tendency to turn up in strange places here, and to be missing where you'd think they belonged. I don't know why.

I would have liked to explore the entire second floor -- who knows what I would have found in addition to a lot more oddly placed sinks and toilets -- but it was roped off.

Luckily, the third floor was open.

I don't know about you, but when I think of "creepy old house," this is what I think of.

That lighting fixture is only about five and a half feet off the ground. I don't know why.

Same room, different view. Another sink. And what's that on the other side of the doorway?

A tub. In a big, open room.

Not exactly the place I'd pick to enjoy a nice warm bath on a Saturday night. But there it was just the same, with a pipe from the sink on the other side of the wall draining into it. I don't know why.

There were some completely random books and magazines up here as well. Everything from 1960s Playboys and Highlights for Children to a copy of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

And this. I'm sure there's a really obvious joke combining this outdated decorating guide with the bizarro plumbing and electricity. One that would wrap up this post in a neat and humorous way, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what it is.

I don't know why.

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