December 17: Going Up

Last year I took everyone on a grand tour of the main floor, including behind-the-scenes through our junky storeroom, the kitchen with a flying pig and executive shower that doubles as a mop closet.
Today I’ll treat you to a tour of the upper level.
There are thirty-three steps to the top floor. Anyone who has had the pleasure of moving things up and down these stairs knows exactly how many steps there are. After the first few trips, extreme thigh burn starts to set in after about the first twenty steps.
There is a large open hallway. It looks rather cute now. Before I went on a cleaning spree this summer it was filled with trash, junk and even a toilet. Not sure how we wound up with a toilet in the hallway. I think it was a parting gift from a tenant.
The door to the right goes into the back apartment that will eternally be known as “Bruce’s”. The door to the left goes into a long dark hallway attached to Bruce’s apartment. That hallway is now the only spot left in the building filled with “junk”, including the random toilet. I saved that project for another decade.
At the very top of the staircase is the entrance into the front apartment. Both of the apartments have windows, which is odd since they only look out into the hallway. It was probably for ventilation, in that the building originally didn’t have central heat and air. Even today only the front apartment has heat and air. The rest is still as it was in the 1930’s.
We also have a partitioned-off storeroom in between the two apartments. This is one of the six big skylights on our roof. I think most if not all of the buildings have skylights. Some people tar over their skylights in that they are old and leaky, but fortunately ours are still intact. We’d rather have a little leak here and there than destroy them!
Despite the somewhat junky appearance, this is the most organized our upstairs storeroom has been in years. It was so full, stuff was spilling out into the hallway. Now we can actually find stuff again!
Knock, knock!
Let’s go inside Bruce’s. Bruce came with the building. It was his father’s law office for many, many years. I used to call it the petrified apartment. He was a bad alcoholic and a hoarder, so it was filled with piles and piles of junk. Despite all of the clutter and antique food (yes, nasty old food), it did not smell, there were no bugs or critters. Like I said, it was weirdly preserved – probably from all of the alcohol! He passed on several years back, his family cleaned out all the junk and left me the furniture.
Now it is an art studio for our favorite artist Beth Loftin. She has turned Bruce’s old place into a fun, funky studio.
I told someone I had four claw bathtubs the other day. One outside as a planter, one in the shop filled with yarn, and this is one of the two upstairs in the apartment bathrooms.
As you can see, Bruce’s place needs some major TLC, but it is perfect for Beth’s studio.
Now we’ll tour the front apartment. We lived up there when we were remodeling our house, and these pictures were taken shortly after I started renting it again. It is a very large apartment, with big spacious rooms. This is the living room…
The kitchen looks out onto Oklahoma Avenue.apt2
Also looking out onto the street is one of the bedrooms, which connects both to the kitchen and living room.
There is a little area off the living room (with the windows looking out into the hallway), and the bathroom is next to that.
And in the very back is another bedroom, with windows looking into our storeroom, and a door back into the hallway.
The front apartment is currently rented. I was up there a few weeks ago, and years of tenants haven’t been kind to it. One of these days I’m going to have to deal with that.
There’s a skylight in the living room of the front apartment, and inside the skylight is a little door. Much to my surprise there is a space in between the tin ceilings and the roof. It was really surprising the first time Keith ventured up there because we found a water leak (yikes) and he fell off the ladder and nearly killed himself.
He went back up there the other day, much to my horror, but fortunately came back intact this time. He filmed this little video to show me what he found.

Along the east wall, you can see the “Fenton Shoe Store” sign painted on the exterior brick wall of the building to the east. We were once an empty lot, then the building was built in between two existing buildings. I remember seeing other signs painted on that wall when first remodeled the downstairs interior, but that was back before camera phones and we just didn’t take pictures of stuff like we do now.
The history of what all went on in our building, and really all of our downtown buildings over the years is very interesting to me. But little is known about the upper floors, and I find it rather intriguing. Bruce told me there once was a beer garden upstairs. I wish I had thought to ask more! And yes there are rumors of a ghost, but I’ve yet to encounter it.
In other news, the workers finished up the front remodel today! I want to paint the walls inside the window area before I put it all back together. I hope to get that done by the end of the weekend, then I’ll have pictures to show you.
Speaking of pictures, I was leaving out back after the Victorian Walk a few weekends ago. I was all alone, in the dark, and when I turned to lock the door I looked up and saw a possum staring at me. He was sitting on top of our woman’ head.
I’m not sure who was more scared! I found it odd that he didn’t run off, as I shakily tried to lock the door. When he was still sitting up there after I got it locked, I managed to fish my phone out of my purse to snap a pic.
Later I realized the reason he turned around and didn’t budge is because he was playing POSSUM. Doh! I was just happy it was a possum and not a skunk.


  • karyndm

    17.12.2014 at 06:12

    That is pretty cool. I love learning about the history of little towns and then specifically the building. It is really amazing what has happened so many years ago and who might have traveled down through Guthrie and maybe even into purchase some shoes.

  • mschoir01

    17.12.2014 at 19:51

    Agree! What a neat place! Thanks for opening it up for us.

  • donnajmiller

    17.12.2014 at 20:06

    Was Ms. Possum IN THE STORE????

    • keely

      17.12.2014 at 20:08

      Thankfully no, she was just hanging around on the back porch. It looked like our lady had a furry hat on, except with a pointy nose and beady eyes.