Remarkable Rehab: Rupp/Wilson house refurbished

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Grasp the handle inside the front door. That’s enough right there to let you know this is no ordinary apartment house.

It probably doesn’t take close-up views of the architectural details. Just stand back on the sidewalk and take it all in.

The old Rupp House on Main Street was far from tip-top shape when Randy Roberts of Adrian decided to buy the property and fix it up.rupphouse

He made another decision that isn’t commonly seen in rehab projects: He wanted the stately house to appear as much as possible as it did 70 years ago.

“We tried to maintain the historical nature,” Randy said, “but we also tried to maintain functionality for today’s living.”

When Lorene (Rupp) Whitehouse was growing up in that house in the 1930s, she probably wouldn’t have complained for a second about the modern kitchen appliances now installed.

She’s both pleased and relieved that the rehabilitation is preserving a large part of the home’s original details.

Randy’s business, Washovia Fire Restoration Services, tackles a major renovation project each year and the Rupp house provided an ample challenge.

The front steps were in such poor repair that mail delivery people refused to climb them. Randy’s crew duplicated the original look of the steps and porch, including refinishing the decorative half-circle grates at the bottom of the porch.

Walls were insulated and the exterior painted the same yellow as it was in the 1930s.

A laundry room had been fashioned on the back porch, but that’s now reopened as it used to be.

A new stairway entrance to the upper apartments was built along the west exterior. After the wood ages a year, the decorative spindles will be painted.rupphousedine

Behind the double doors on the front porch is the main floor two-bedroom apartment, complete with newly sanded hardwood floors, the original built-in bookcases and detailed woodwork, plus a fireplace with large mantel. Some of the original pocket doors remain.

Upstairs, apartment #2 is the smallest, but it’s not small. Like each apartment in the house, there are windows everywhere.

Apartment #3 is in the front of the house, with a hallway down the middle. On the right is a large kitchen; on the left a living area, and in the middle, a door leading to the porch roof with a small area to stand in the sun and get some fresh air.

Another stairway leads to apartment #4 on the third floor. It’s a large open area with three huge closets under the slope of the room and a dormer window to the east.

From all four sides of the upper story, commanding views of the city are offered.

Although the house served as a private home when Lorene’s family owned it, even then some rooms were rented.

In the 1930s, she said, U.S. 20 was closed for rebuilding and traffic was routed through Morenci. Her mother and two other ladies decided to open their houses as “tourist homes.” They each placed a sign in the front yard and the Rupp house was known as Sterling Palace.

Later, teachers and traveling salesmen rented rooms.

“This house had a lot of character,” Randy said, and he wants area residents to satisfy their curiosity and come take a look inside.

An open house is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday before any tenants move in.

    -April 25, 2007 
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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