Progenitor

A person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent.

What a great word. And what an important lesson.

Last week I spent a solid evening pouring over old mapsproperty records and deeds. Clearly I wasn’t going to these pages for their looks, so why the allure? All in the search of a beginning.

With any house I have had interest in, one of my first immediate questions is: who built it and why? What was their goal? Often the answers are very underwhelming, but every now and then you can uncover treasures.

In either case, the knowledge gained will give you a greater appreciation of the structure you are working on, and maybe even some perspective on why certain decisions were made. Everything from the progression of infrastructure items like plumbing, electrical and gas, to the layout and subsequent modifications, can then be given a clear lineage once you know where it starts.

If you have the slightest interest in history and buildings, I urge you to find similar resources as above for where you live, and dive deep. Have fun. And slowly build a timeline of what happened in and around the building of interest, yours or otherwise. I guarantee you will walk away with more than just the facts learned, a broader appreciation of stories that have already been written and are awaiting your contribution.

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