Pleasant Hill, Missouri            Wednesday,  November 25, 2015                ©2014 Pleasant Hill Times

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Labor of love
Civil War-era home is being restored here

....Wade and Stephanie Baldridge had fallen in love with the yellow pre-Civil War house at the corner of Armstrong and High Street, just up the street from the Pleasant Hill Elementary School. They both value historic properties which have withstood the test of time, but their thoughts had not gone beyond their passing admiration until one day as Stephanie was on her way to the feed store to satisfy their pets’ appetite, she noticed an Auction sign in the yard.
....She stopped the car and walked into the yard to check out the details of the auction. This was a Wednesday; the auction was the next afternoon on Thursday. She called Wade, and they had an impromptu “family conference” knowing they had to make a firm decision about their intentions regarding the house NOW!
....Shortened version of a long story, they bought the house they had admired for so many years. Stephanie immediately started digging into the history of the property, which was known as the Henley home. They bought the house from George Henley’s sister, Mary Kay Fitzgerald and her husband Gerald. George had died in April, 2013, in the home. The Fitzgeralds were in their 80s and loved the family sentiment related to the home, but did not feel physically up to the maintenance of the house.
....Mary Kay’s grandfather had bought the house from J. T. Russell in 1905, and he had lived there until his death.
....Stephanie is excited that she and Wade are the owners and protectors of the heritage of “this old house.” When she is not sanding yellow paint off one of the upstairs bedroom floors or doing some other cosmetic treatment to restore the walls and all physical properties to the original state of being, she is digging into the Cass County historical records to know the whole background story of the house.
....She had really wanted to have her beloved restoration project completed in time to be on the Harrisonvile Cass County Business Women’s annual Holiday Homes Tour. Unfortunately that tour will be December 6, 2015 from 1 - 5 p.m. However, Stephanie has made a concssion with the chairman of the tour.
....Their old Henley home will be a drive-by showing. “We are suggesting that those touring the homes leave this one to the last,” she said. That will allow them to view the home in all its holiday lighted splendor, knowing that next year they will be able to take the Grand Tour and appreciate all of the Baldridges’ efforts to restore the home’s original beauty.
....Historical research has confirmed that the tree in the front yard is probably the only remaining Liberty tree. In 1976, the Missouri Conservation Department had found and dedicated the three 200 year old Liberty trees. The Baldridges are proud of their placque which acknowledges the dedication of their tree.
....Stephanie and Wade are happy that she saw the auction sign on that day. They had been talking and were about ready to build a house. “We are pleased that everything has worked out this way,” Stephanie said.
....Stephanie cannot stop talking about their house which sits on three acres of land. She loves every feature about it: the all brick 12 inch walls, the hand cut wooden timbers with handmade dowels, the open staircase and a functional barn. They were told the barn was built in 1920, but they believe it was built earlier. They are basing their judgment on observations of some barns at Missouri Town and discussions with guides who are well versed in area construction history.
....They know their property was a working farm and that the basement was built under the kitchen when it was added to the home.The huge house has six rooms, which includes two large bedrooms upstairs, and a living room, dining room, kitchen and a great room, also known as “the piano room” downstairs.
....They have cut through the wall to allow access to the kitchen from the dining room. The wall is 12 inches thick.
....The renovation is taking longer because they are doing their own work. Part of that reasoning is economical, but the other piece is that they know how they want the job done and are willing to devote energy to do it right.
....Renovating an old house is not new to Wade and Stephanie. They restored their current home on Taylor Street, which is now for sale.
....They are eager to complete this project. They are self-employed entrepreneurs who thrive on thrive on taking care of their businesses. Their main business is buying and selling commercial restaurant equipment. They also own and operate Equipment on the Web, Lick it; Don’t Drip It ice cream vending machines, selling on Ebay, Pleasant Hill Lodging, and they home school their daughters. Actually the older daughter is in her third year of college.
....There are no idle moments in the Baldridge household, but they are willing to work for what is important, and if the Royals are playing there is time to watch them. October was Royals month.

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