Sounds like a… Looks like a… Is a…

Hampson House Under Reconstruction, 2019

… construction zone!  The noise begins each weekday morning at 8:00 sharp.  You could set your watch by the work crew next door.  In our quiet little village, the sound of hammers and saws is at once startling and welcome.  Activity — even if it’s tearing-down activity — is a sign of life here.  Sometimes it’s hard to know in Oysterville.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, whether they be visitors or residents,  that the property to the north of us is a construction zone.  Big time.  The signs (as in signs and portents, not notices on a board — except for a few “No Trespassing” ones) have been evident for some time.  First, probably a year ago, most of the trees and large plantings went  away.  Those of us who remember the care and pride original owner John Hampson took in his landscaping projects were saddened to see them go.  Lots of “life goes on” comments were muttered while we waited for the next steps.

The Construction Fence Next Door

Then, just recently, came the construction fence which was soon followed by trucks and men with tool belts and hard hats.  And now… the fun has begun.  The top story of the Hampson House is no more,  It took far longer to build it back in 1986/87 than it has taken to demolish it.  I think that most of the first floor will remain intact — at least its bones. It looks as though the inside has been gutted.  My knowledge of what is to come is severely limited as Nyel and I were out of town at the time of the new owners’ hearing when the plans were on display.  It will all be a great and unfolding surprise to us.

My memories of the property go back to my childhood (and my children’s’ childhoods, as well) when it was just a meadow where my grandfather sometimes kept Countess, his one remaining workhorse from the days of his dairy farm.  It was where we played hide and seek in the tall summer grass and put buttercups underneath one another’s chins to see if we really liked butter.

My mother and her siblings remembered that, in their childhood,  the Stevens Hotel stood on that property.  I don’t know when Papa acquired that north half of the block but fast forward to the 1980s when  the Espy Family short-platted the property and John and Joan Hampson built the house next door — the house that is now being demolished.

September 13, 1987

The new owners sent out a nice letter to the neighbors apologizing for their delay (two years, I think) in getting started.  They are predicting completion in October.  I think it was in October thirty-two years ago that the Hampsons completed their place.  I remember that it was being painted at the time Nyel and I were married out in the garden here — September 13, 1987.  Perhaps they’ll be painting the new place this September when we are celebrating the 150th birthday of this house!

Isn’t it amazing how many memories a hammer blow evokes!




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