Monday, June 9, 2008

I Knew This Was The One!

I'll do a little backing up here.

After hunting Hannibal houses during the summer of 2005, we settled on two. I wanted the 2,500 square foot Chateau which was close to historic downtown Hannibal, and my husband wanted a 3,000 square foot Arts & Crafts house which was next door to Rockcliffe Mansion.

Rockcliffe Mansion, BTW, is a must-see for every tourist and local. It was bought by one of my future neighbors in the same year (2005). He turned this Hannibal monument (built by lumber baron John Cruikshank) into a retreat come alive with dance shows, mystery dinners, ghost tours and other special events:

Photo of Rockcliffe Mansion from the website:

Back to the selection of houses… we would have been happy with either choice, but we did have our preferences. The great thing about buying property in a smallish, Midwest town like Hannibal is the favorable price differential compared to similar property in Seattle. The two houses were selling for a little over $100K each. In a good Seattle neighborhood, these houses would have fetched over a million dollars. So here was property selling for a mere 10 cents on a Seattle dollar being handed to us on a platter. Even if we were to be lavish in our restoration efforts, we wouldn’t come close to paying Seattle prices. Interior features included…






Déjà vu took the better of us. I remembered the Chateau because I actually visited the house as a pubescent teenager in the 1970’s. A cousin and his children (my 2nd cousins) rented the house and I remembered my first tour. My cousin was an avid clock collector whose hundreds of working clocks graced every piece of furniture and every corner. I wonder to this day how anyone could have lived in the house with its incessant clanging, chiming, and tick-tocks day and night.

Another thing that played in our decision to choose this house was my history with Hannibal. Being the one who lived in the town at one time, I lay greater claim to Hannibal than my husband (who could only claim the Missouri city of Saint Louis). I walked past this house every weekend on my way downtown. I had former classmates who lived in the neighborhood at one time. The house melted away any remnant of hesitation I may have had about moving back to my hometown.

I knew this house, and I knew it was the one dagnabbit.

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