Thursday, 28 February 2013

Antique Hunting

I recently had the pleasure of browsing through a couple of Edmonton's antique malls. It has become my new hobby, antique hunting. I think I always appreciated antiques before we bought the Little Blue House, but I certainly am more interested in them now that we have a 115 year-old house.

An antique mall is a collection of small booths, which are leased by people who wish to sell their wares. They lease the tiny spaces and pay a commission on any sales. I imagine it's a good way to get rid of old things, and it makes for a really interesting shopping experience. I love people-watching in these antique malls almost as much as I love exploring all of the fascinating and sometimes odd bits and pieces... Everyone seems lost in their own little world, picking up this and that, reminiscing about the past... the treasures are triggers for so many memories.

Most of my visits to the antique malls are simply spent browsing, and gathering ideas. Sometimes I might be looking for something specific, such as the fantastic beaded fringe lamp that I found in the fall last year. The lights that originally came with the LBH (the house was fully furnished) were pretty horrific looking (read Fugly). I'm sure that these luminescent creations served a practical purpose, but most of them did not go with the house. These particular lights have found new homes in Atlin, I am happy to say. Over time, I would like to find Victorian lamps, along with more Victorian furniture, to replace the things that kind of don't belong.

I spent time in the Old Strathcona Antique Mall during one of these recent outings. I was mostly just looking, for fun. Here are a few things that I saw; I am a somewhat tempted by the lamp below. It is a blown glass "coin dot" lamp. The shade is obviously newer, and it has been re-wired and attached to a small black pedestal, perhaps to prevent it from tipping over. I wonder who owned this lamp? Isn't it pretty? I've been admiring it for several months.

Victorian Coin Dot Lamp in Blown Glass

The ceiling light fixture below caught my eye, although its vintage isn't in keeping with the age of our LBH. A converted gas-light ceiling fixture would probably look better? Also, I think it would hang too low, due to the parlour's low ceiling. My 6'4" husband might not appreciate that. The light is Art Deco, apparently.

Art Deco Ceiling Lamp

Perhaps the most fun in these antique malls is examining all of the odd little bits and pieces. Certainly, there is a bit of junk in with the real treasures. Or should I say there are a few treasures in with the junk? The settee in the picture below is interesting. It is not for me, but it was fun to behold.

Fun Old Stuff

I wonder at these small booths, which are like windows into lives lived - old ways of life, loves, memories and losses.

Monday, 25 February 2013

More About Eva

I am a little bit stumped about Eva Daniel. I think I may have to travel in order to learn more about her.

For those readers who do not know about her, Eva was the former madam of the Little Blue
House when it was a brothel. You may read about her in an earlier post at:

I managed to find her death record, which shows that Eva passed away on 11 May, 1956 in Victoria, BC.
She was a long way from her home in Atlin, where she wished to be buried next to her husband, Samuel.
I have learned that she was poor during the years following Samuel's death. She apparently went without
food in order to pay for the elaborate headstone marking his grave (and hers, reserved for the future).

I am inclined to guess that Eva became ill and was taken to Victoria in order to receive some kind of medical
care. There, she died; perhaps due to the fact that she had no next of kin and no resources, her remains were
never returned to her home in Atlin. This is all theory at this point. I am curious to find out what happened
to Eva's remains. Was she cremated? Was she buried somewhere in Victoria? How do I find this out?

Here is part of the record that I found on Eva's death. She represents one of the mysteries of the Little Blue
House. Part of restoring the LBH, I believe, includes unearthing these stories of its previous tenants, whose
lives are a part of the house itself.

Eva Daniel, "British Columbia,

Death Registrations, 1872-1986"

name:Eva Daniel
event date:11 May 1956
event place:Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
marital status:Widowed
birth date:24 Apr 1874
birthplace:, United States

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Repairing Wood Sash Windows

I am very excited to discover a tutorial on repairing old wooden windows! I picked up the latest issue of Old House Journal at a great bookstore in Whitehorse, Mac's Fireweed Books. (It's worth a visit if you are in the Yukon: Mac's Books)

The magazine contains an article by John Leeke on window repair. The web edition of the magazine also contains a video tutorial. You can find it at:

One of our windows was damaged last summer during tree removal, and I have not had the chance to research what steps are necessary in order to fix it. The single pane of glass was broken when a small piece of the tree trunk bounced off the ground and hit the window. It is a sideways sliding window with original leaded glass panes.

I think we will also be repairing several of the original windows as we restore the Little Blue House, as some of them are stuck. The sash windows that slide vertically are stuck closed due to the fact that the house has settled on an angle, and the windows are not straight in their frames anymore. In addition, there are probably many layers of (lead) paint on the frames. We will wait to repair these windows, until after the foundation is repaired in July. After that, the LBH will be straighter, so we can start working our way up!

Wood Sash Windows in Parlour
The kitchen windows function very well, considering their age (about 115 years old). These window frames are not painted, and they slide sideway or open on hinges.

We will keep single panes in all of the original windows, and if I can find some leaded glass to replace the broken pane, it would be great. I love the wavy look of the old glass; it bends the light in the most beautiful way. They might not be the most energy-efficient windows around, but perhaps we can consider a seasonal winter treatment on the inside of the windows, to keep out draughts...

I will be sure to post pictures once we start working on the window repair. It's still too cold to even consider it...

Friday, 8 February 2013

From the Archives!

The Little Blue House, as I've mentioned before, was built around 1898 during the Gold Rush. It was originally located in Discovery, which is now a ghost town. Discovery is 7 kilometres away from Atlin, and there isn't much left there. Discovery is not a protected historical site, and as such, its buildings and artifacts have dwindled away since the frantic years of the Gold Rush.

In a previous post, I talked a little bit about the history of the LBH:

We think that the house was moved to Atlin sometime after the last of 3 great fires destroyed much of the town. The photograph of the LBH, below, was likely taken after it was moved to its current location. I wonder who these occupants were? This was perhaps taken around 1920, and it looks like a young family sitting on the front steps of their new home.

I love the idea of recycling an entire house! It was abandoned in Discovery, at that time a ghost town already, so why not move it to a place where people needed homes?

Perhaps someday I shall find out who these original Atlin occupants were. Eva, the madam, came along a bit later, with her shady ladies and seamstress shop...

The Little Blue House, After Relocation to Atlin

Now our chapter is one more in the legacy of bringing new life into an old house. This is the best form of recycling ever.