Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

We found a shotgun, a busted up safe, bricks, foundation piers, and plenty of 1920’s bottles while performing a demolition on two 1920 wood houses in downtown Palatka, Florida. I’ve heard two different histories of these two 1920’s houses. One is they were built to house school teachers, the other for mill workers.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened
Brazilian-made shotgun found in debris from walls and floor.

Dreaming of Renovations

When I purchased the property in 2005, two were already boarded up and unlivable. I dreamed of bringing them back to their original state.

For years, I envisioned renovating them like the cigar maker shacks in Key West, or similar houses in Charleston or Savannah. Though the interior and exterior wood details were simple, they were above the basics you see in construction today.

Old Wood Frame Homes

All the interior walls are bead board, the floors wood, and the joists and stringers heart pine. They were simple, with a few charming architectural details here and there.

All of the claw-footed tubs and washboard sinks had been removed long ago. The door handles and hinges were vintage, but nothing fancy.

Occasionally we ran across some really old electrical lines covered in woven material. However, over the years, most of the electrical wiring had been taken for recycling the copper.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

No Choice But to Demo

Collectively, they were in such a state of disrepair that removing them was the only option. With a heavy heart, we started the three-day process for smashing and removing the homes. I cherish “old things,” and really hated to see my goals of refurbishing them decisively ended.

It took six dumpsters – four more than we anticipated, I think due to all the extra roofs and added-on rooms.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Recycling Efforts

Someone local wanted to recycle the metal, so we carefully removed roof after roof – the homes had been added onto several times over their 100-year life.

A pile of roofing about the size of two sedans resulted from day one. Day two yielded another roofing pile about the size of one vehicle. Third day pile above shows what was found from raking the ground level.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Additionally, in the metal pile we tossed any pipes, aluminum cans, and even some car parts including a steering wheel. Anything and everything metal, we were determined would go to good use and be recycled instead of contributing to a landfill. Even the electric box and the safe went into the metal recycling pile.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Repurpose Reuse Salvage

A friend selected some choice heart pine beams and a few doors for home projects. He’s planning on constructing a sturdy decorative gate. One of the doors was a front door with extra trim details; that one will become a headboard.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

For myself, I saved one door, a couple windows with original wavy glass, several bottles, and a enameled bowl that had been repaired. I like finding enamelware with repairs – it shows that people used to fix things instead of simply buying new.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Also, I filled my truck with all the foundation piers that did not accidentally go into the dumpsters. They are about two feet wide, by one foot by one foot. I think they weigh about 50 pounds each. I have not decided how to use them; perhaps in a retaining wall. Any ideas are welcomed!

In addition, I salvaged many of the large bricks marked “GRAVES, B’HAM ALA.” Today I looked them up online and see they sell for $16.99 each on Amazon – just look! Plus, on Brickcollector.blogspot, I found more great info about the Graves Brick Company.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Salvage and Collectibles

Workers on the site salvaged two axe heads, a shotgun, more and more antique bottles, and a metal hook for moving wood. I found one small piece of red glass from a vehicle taillight.

During breaks, we had great fun looking up bottle information. We found not only locally-bottled Coke bottles, but also Honey Boy, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, McCormick, Listerine, Clorox, and an assortment of other bottles.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Tools We Used

On the job sites, in addition to a rented mini-excavator, we brought hand tools, fire extinguishers, and bleeding control kits. We were more worried about stepping on a rusty nail than anything else, but we were prepared for anything. Our detailed tools and supplies list is below.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Working With Dangerous Tools

Bill and I are both thankful we took the Crisis Medicine Tactical Casualty Care Course with code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course, which I highly recommend.

You need more than basic First Aid when you are far from help, as you are when working in your yard with a chainsaw. A human can bleed out within four minutes; faster than rescue can reach you. Learn how to use a tourniquet. Get training. Someone’s life might depend on it.

Purchase tourniquets from reputable companies, like North American Rescue. Right now, you can get the CAT tourniquets we keep close-by in the Bleeding Control Kit I showed. Use code “MAY25” for 20% off all community preparedness products through midnight on 5/31/20. This is a huge savings; so take advantage!

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

MyMedic also features Individual Bleeding Control Kits, this link and my code “KimW” will save you 10% on your purchase. You should bring one everywhere! We do… It’s better to be prepared than to be unprepared. You can spot our kits sometimes in our videos and photos – either strapped to a vehicle headrest, or lying close by within arm’s reach.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen!

All products that touch your body work their way into our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Many vacation destinations will not allow toxic sunscreens; use the only one tested and proven reef safe.

Use my code “DeepWH” for 10% off at Stream2Sea on SPF 20 or 30 mineral, regular or tinted sunscreen, mask defog, shampoo, conditioner, rash guards and more reef-safe supplies. This season, they have added hand sanitizer (no discount – it’s paying the bills) to their line! Order fast! • AD: affiliate links used.

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

Our Demolition Day Supply List

Just for fun – I’m sharing our demolition supply list with you. We like to establish shared lists in Notes on our phones on which we can collaborate. As we think of something, it’s so easy to add items, then use the check marks to keep track as we organize tools for the next adventure.

Demo Day

  • Looks like first you cave the roof in, then keep pushing everything toward the house. Then knock chimney over. Then scrape everything toward the middle. Then after it’s all smashed up, you put everything in the dumpster. And then level the ground and rake until you drop.
  • Diesel fuel jugs 
  • GoPro with clamp, spare batteries, charging cable for truck
  • Blower
  • Tent
  • Chairs
  • Water and ice dispenser
  • Ice – two bags per day
  • Snacks
  • Nuun hydration tablets – tubes – best deal ever!
  • Clif bars – White chocolate macadamia is my favorite
  • Generator
    • Fuel
    • Extension Cords
    • Check oil
  • Weed Eater
    • Fuel
    • String
    • Blades
  • Chainsaw on a stick
  • Chainsaws, fuel, spare blades or chains and bar oil
  • Bladed head
  • Lawn Mower
    • Fuel
  • Circular Saw and extra blade
  • Saws-All and metal blades
  • Rope
  • PPE
    • Gloves several pairs
    • Eye Protection
    • Hearing Protection
    • First-Aid Kits
    • Bleeding Control Kits from MyMedic
    • Hand sanitizer from Stream2Sea
    • Antibacterial wipes
    • N95 face masks from MyMedic (DeepWH code for 10% off)
  • Pry-Bars & Crow-Bars
  • Hammers
  • Wire cutters
  • Kim’s bolt cutters, lopers are in her truck – will need
  • Shovel
  • Hard rake
  • Soft rake
  • Pitchfork
  • Battery operated drill with drill bits, screw bits, batteries, charger
  • Pliers
  • Channel locks
  • Heavy duty snips
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hard hats
  • Sledge hammer
  • Sunscreen from Stream2Sea
  • Bug spray is in Kim’s truck
  • Hats
  • Tarp – to cover cast iron tub while smashing up so no flying shards of iron and dragging piles of small stuff
  • Tubing cutters? for pipes? planning to recycle any copper pipe / wire we find
  • Ladders
  • Those bright orange vests
  • Grinder
  • Hard hat / hearing protection / face screen Husqvarna – we use this!
  • Five gallon bucket for small debris
Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened
This Husqvarna Forest Head Protection Helmet is the perfect Father’s Day gift! It shows you care about their safety, and you can rest assured he won’t receive two of them!

Updated May 13, 2020

Demolition Project 1920's Wood Houses, Demolition Project: Two 1920’s Wood Houses // 100 Years of History Flattened

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