Hello! We would like to introduce ourselves and tell you a little bit about us and our journey with "our old house". We are Mick and Susan Young, both born and raised in Northwest Oklahoma some 60+ years ago. Our bread and butter business is Micks Body Works & Glass in Vici, Oklahoma, where Mick fixes bent vehicles and I tend to the office duties. We decided to jump into the lodging business because we have a lot of space to share here in a wonderful country setting, but mostly we enjoy people. With retirement approaching, this seems to us to be a great way to spend our time.
In July of 2008 we became the proud owners of this old, rapidly deteriorating 1902 farmhouse. Most people who knew of our intentions to move and renovate the house shook their heads and said we were crazy. Yes, we probably could have built a new house in less time with less cost, but this wonderful piece of Americana needed to be saved and we wanted to be the ones to do it! We don't necessarily think of ourselves as environmentalists, but looking back, we see that we are very "green". Almost everything we have is "recycled", or as we call it, second hand. We are avid shoppers of Craigslist, eBay, thrift shops, junk stores, antique shops, flea markets, Nebraska's Junk Jaunt, and several old falling down houses.
Our home was originally built around 1902 by George Winter and his wife Emma Baker Winter. We were told by their granddaughter that George would rise at 2 am to do his chores on the farm, then hitch the team of horses to his wagon and head out to the North about 20 miles to Woodward to fetch a load of lumber. The story has it that he often took a load of lumber back to Woodward with him as rejects - not good enough to use in his house. It must have been one of the most grand houses in the area in it's time. We have retained the original wood floors in the main floor and 2nd floor. Red Fir, according to the floor refinisher. The original staircases, front and back remain. We removed all the lath and plaster on the walls and ceilings before the house was moved and found a few treasures within. Mostly books and some letters. In the process of removing the lath and plaster, all the trim on doors, windows and floors was carefully removed and stored away in our shop. Over the years it has been carefully refinished, literally hundreds of pieces, with much admiration and love and returned to its original place. After the plaster and trim were removed, the house was moved 4 miles to 10 acres of prairie or pasture, that had previously only been inhabited by cattle, deer, turkey and other wildlife. It took quite a lot of persuasion for the owner to sell us that 10 acres out of his pasture! A full basement was dug and poured on the new site and eventually the house was set over the basement and the renovation began. It was all put back together with insulation and plumbing, neither of which had ever previously been present in the house, and new wiring throughout. We decided to try propane tankless water heaters and are happy with them. The exterior was redressed with cement fiberboard siding. Sheetrock replaced the interior lath and plaster, then wallpaper was carefully chosen for its likeness to what was there before. It is a labor of love. We love this place and the people who were here before us, although they were long gone before we were born. Fortune has smiled broadly on us, in people who have crossed our path as plumber, carpenters, electricians, house mover, concrete guys, stone masons, painters, tile layers, and the very best friends and neighbors who have done everything from take pictures to helping hang wallpaper. Of course, the support of our family kept us going and moved us along sometimes! Could not have accomplished any of this without them. Most all of them shared our vision and with the closest thing to a blueprint being my primitive sketches, they all made it work as we wanted it, working with us directly as we were our own contractor.
The thing that has a special place in our hearts is the friendship of the Winter's granddaughter, Margaret Winter Vestal. She was 88 when we met her. She had driven to Vici from Northeast Kansas for a visit with friends GW and Vera Taylor, who had sold the house to us. They introduced us to her. She spent lots of time with us, sharing her family history with us and after that, the whole experience took on new meaning, as her family became real to us. She passed from this life in 2014 at the age of 93 without ever seeing our progress, except in a few pictures and descriptions given in occasional phone conversations. We loved her very much and cherish her memory.
Along the way, we have said "so long" to too many other cherished friends and champions, but I like to think they are watching the progress with approval. Al, Vera, Skeez, Jimmy, Claude, Doug....we miss you and think of you often.
As if the huge house was not enough to keep us busy, we decided to try to rescue a couple of other small buildings that we had noticed over the years. When we decided to try to acquire the first one, our thought was to use it as a garden shed. At that time, the owner was using it to store small bales of hay. But, as we studied it, we decided it was too unique for a garden shed and thought it would make a great cabin. And...the idea of Persimmon Creek Cottages was born! For a few years, we had been drawn to 2 small houses that sat side by side in Woodward, don't know why, but we both were. One day we saw auction signs pointing their way, We went to the auction to see what would happen to the houses. Turned out the person who purchased the property only wanted the lots and intended to demolish the houses. We suggested that it might save her a nice sum of money on demolition and disposal if we were to take the houses off her hands and she agreed. Thanks Jane! Our original mover, Fortenberry House Movers from Choctaw Oklahoma, moved all three buildings in 2 days for us. This is a man who knows his business! And, so, the saga continues. Here we are now, nine years later, the main house all but done, the Rustic Cabin and Honeymoon Cottage done and in use, and the Schoolhouse renovation about to start.
As this journey continues, we are continually blessed by our guests. We have made life long friends through this venture and wouldn't have missed it for anything! During this time, we have also experienced some of life's darkest times. Our precious granddaughter Maddie wrote to her Papa Mick at one point that God gives the hardest battles to His strongest soldiers....she was 8 years when we started the journey and picked which room in the house was to be hers. Now, she is a beautiful young woman of 17! The friendships we have made have also given us strength and, at times comfort. Mostly, they bring us joy!
We hope some of you who read this will want to come share in and become part of our story as it continues.