This is the home of Joel and Jackie Petrich, located at 1208 South Section in Spring Valley, which will be on the Spring Valley Historical Society’s Christmas tour of homes.
This is the home of Joel and Jackie Petrich, located at 1208 South Section in Spring Valley, which will be on the Spring Valley Historical Society’s Christmas tour of homes.
Although Joel and Jackie Petrich moved in a year ago, Jackie claims their delightful 1914 home, located at 1208 South Section Avenue, is a "work in progress."

When the home was built, it surely was considered to be in an "upscale" neighborhood - the incredible Tom Frankson mansion was two doors away to the south (now our city park), probably the largest dwelling in Spring Valley at the time; next door was the handsome "arts and crafts" style home built the year before, and just down the street was the estate of Frank and Mattie Clouse. Located on the edge of town, each place had its own barn and outbuildings for the usual team of horses, a couple milk cows, a few chickens and whatever else the homeowner wanted.

The Petrich home is typical of the era - four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs, with a full basement. We enter first the spacious enclosed front porch where Jackie has a table made by her dad, plus chairs for informal dining, and a wide variety of playthings for their nine grandchildren. The porch also offers a buffer for any sound from the busy Highway 63 traffic, as we noted nothing of that nature.

The main door at center opens to the living room on the right and dining room on the left, divided by the usual square columns, which have built-in cupboards with leaded glass doors. The floors are of sturdy oak, stained a darker color, with occasional rugs in place. A large south window lets in plenty of sunshine to glow on the large dining table and chairs. In one corner is a family heirloom - an oak bookcase with four shelves made by her grandfather. Another corner shows off a delightful old-time ice box in a slim design reminiscent of today's modern refrigerators, topped with a glass butter churn which Jackie has used, and a wicked looking cherry pitter. In yet another corner one can relax in Joel's grandmother's platform rocker, with a fine Red Wing crockery churn nearby.

In both the dining and living room windows, note the unusual panels at the top of the glass - some type of decorative patterned glass instead of the often seen stained glass, perhaps something new and desirable in 1914? The large windows in both rooms look to the east on the porch. Notable in the living room is Jackie's collection of elephants, which she says began when she bought a box of junk at a sale, and in it found the beautiful batik with an elephant herd portrayed. She fell in love with the colors and the beasts, had it framed, and since then has collected unusual elephants.

Many old pieces grace the rooms such as a mahogany commode by the couch, a neat lamp, there is a primitive wooden bench, maybe once used for laundry tubs, and other fascinating pieces.

The northwest room is Joel's "moose room," with countless interesting things to see. A striking picture is "Defiance" showing a moose battling with two wolves. On the lovely maple hutch is an eye-catcher - an unusual speckled blue bowl and pitcher of enamelware. A full-length mirror fronts the closet door.

Between the kitchen and dining room hangs a set of old bells, which the grandkids like to jingle.

The kitchen has appliances and cupboards on both sides with a freestanding center island, and looks to the south for more light. A wonderful old hutch about six feet long was acquired "for a song," now exactly fits into what was once the west end of the kitchen, and Jackie uses it for her pantry. The door to the basement also opens to shelves for storing foodstuffs.

The bathroom, she insists, is a work in progress, but sports a claw-foot tub, usual fixtures, and the laundry chute that serves both floors leading to the laundry area in the basement. We noted all rooms have the beautiful black metal wall registers that deliver furnace heat.

A utilitarian back porch runs the full length of the house on the west side. It has a wainscoted ceiling and a real surprise - a trapdoor to the basement. One swings up the door, goes down the concrete steps, and there is in a perfectly dry basement awaiting conversion to a lovely family room or recreational area.

Back on the porch, looking out the windows one sees their spacious yard with marvelous old cottonwood trees, garden spaces, and new clotheslines. The barn has been restored; even the door to the loft where Jackie says the hay chute is still in place for feeding livestock down below. On the back deck is a firepot for outdoor cooking.

As one goes upstairs, note the two bottom steps are backed with decorative metal grates, presumably cold air returns. At the top of the stairs is a tiny "water closet," a small space with a stool and sink, big enough for one person at a time. However, the incredible feature of the house is roomy walk-in closets in each bedroom. The rooms are spacious and are lighted with many windows, even in the closets.

Jackie loves old-time quilts, shown off on the various beds; we especially liked the one with pine trees, appropriate for a Christmas tour. A test for visitors: See if you can spot the "fertility" symbol hanging in one bedroom - a fun item.

Jackie plans to use her little "forest of trees" as part of the holiday decorations, and one may find them situated in the bay window area. You will enjoy this great tour of a 1914 dwelling, the warm and welcoming home of a couple who are fairly new to Spring Valley. Joel retired after 37 years with IBM, and was called for new management at the Dollar Store. Jackie is community coordinator at the Women's Shelter in Rochester.