by Ralph B. Davis
GRETHEL — Brenda Akers knew the house in which up until recently she had been living was old, but it wasn’t until she began preparing to have it torn down over the weekend that she had any idea of how old it was.
As Akers and family members began stripping the walls over the weekend in preparation for demolition, they began to find newspaper and catalog pages lining the bare walls underneath, some dating back nearly a century.
In years past, when wallpaper was both expensive and difficult to come by, many Appalachian families would line their walls with whatever was handy. Often, that meant pages from a newspaper or farming catalog.
Though most of the pages were falling apart, several revealed that the papers were from a 1919 issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Akers said she had no idea the pages were there, but she was not surprised to learn how far back the house dates. Before she lived in it, her mother-in-law did, and her grandparents before that.
“I’d say this is the oldest house left on Mud Creek, and it’s going down,” Akers said, as she looked at the walls with wistful eyes. “I hate that that it’s going down.”
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