A Carbondale landlord is fixing up houses to the way they were a century ago. D. Gorton has not only fixed up old houses, but he has restored them to the way they looked when Carbondale was a railroad town. He says the history of the families that lived in the houses then informs the restoration.
“If you have a sense of who’s lived there, if you’ve got a sense of how it’s been used, you can kind of go through it and make sure that’s the way it’s being used again. That may sound kind of vague but actually, in terms of what we do, it becomes real specific as to how do you refinish the floors, what kind of colors do you use, the pants and so forth,” he said.
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The houses now have modern plumbing, insulation and electricity. Gorton has done nine of them over the last decade and sold two; the rest are rentals. Gorton is eager to tell the tenants the story of the families that lived in the house in the past, if they’re interested in listening.
Those families were largely middle-class railroad workers with children, and, according to property records, they rarely moved.
Gorton says fixing up old houses is important work, especially in college towns such as Carbondale where houses often deteriorate.