There is an old saying that begs the question if walls could talk? This thought came to me when I enrolled in the JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass educational registration process through Olie at UNT. We went to the historic Oak Cliff Theater where Oswald was arrested for being under suspicion after Officer J.D. Tippet was shot and killed after Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. If you missed that blog post and want to read more and see additional photos inside the theater, feel free to click here.
Today is what I dubbed Wednesday is for Wonder Mongering Day. Feel free to join the group on ActiveRain and share information that can be educational and interesting. Today, I want to share the purpose for this blog post on September 20, 2023.
After being inside the Theater, and watching the private showing exclusively for those who registered to see the documentary about JFK, I wondered, if walls could talk, what would they say, and were those bullet holes near the front lobby of the Theater? Well, I never did get an answer to my question, but I did learn a lot more. The Theater was opened in 1931, and was part of a chain of theaters financed by Howard Hughes. Next, I discovered that the seat Oswald was found was three rows from the rear, five seats from the aisle.
Unfortunately, walls don't talk but there is a lot to be learned about studying who the architect was, what type of architecture is the building, what can be discovered during renovations, and why are walls so important during the construction of any commercial or residential property.
The historic Theater in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas is a 2-story stucco facade. The interior was designed with a Venetian Court theme, complete with sound effects. Before 1956, renovation began on the old theater resulting on the addition of stucco over all the decorative brick and stone facade. Because walls are very important to the structure of the building, many renovators make startling discoveries about the interior and exterior of walls.
Structure can be defined as several components of building construction technology giving them their characteristic forms and styles. First up are the walls. During new construction one can see the vertical units that serve the purpose to screen the interior spaces and to support the second basic unit, the roof! The roof is also very important because it acts as the shield for the interior spaces from the weather and it completes the enclosure. This explains why roofers begin calling on homeowners after a hail storm.
Right now, I have a client having her house built and she was informed by the builder it was okay to come and see the walls. Most people don't know what they are looking at and it is very important to ask lots of questions, even if you don't know what you're looking at, because you can see something that needs to be addressed before the sheetrock. Once the walls are covered, you may never know. If you learn anything about building construction know that openings in the walls need to be fully functional to provide shelter.
Added to the walls are windows to provide adequate light and ventilation to the interior, and doors for entrance to close properly. Walls serve two distinct functions; they provide support for the roof and for upper floors. Also, they screen the house interior from weather and intrusion, such as pests and rodents.
When it comes to weather and building construction In Texas, many people think about the foundation, or the slab upon which the house is built. Did you know that walls have foundations too? For example, if walls were built directly on the ground, the walls would rest on the surface soil, which leads to rot, mold, and moisture too. Inspecting new construction throughout the process and learning about walls can be very eye-opening!
Long before I became a REALTOR®, in 2003, I was always a curious person, asking lots of questions. I discovered the Architect for the Oak Cliff historic Theater, was W. Scott Dunn, who also designed the Esquire Theater in the Oak Cliff/Lemmon Avenue area in Dallas. According to the Historic Landmark plaque, the appearance of the theaters "evoked an Italian Medieval appearance."
Curious minds and renovators leads to many unanswered questions. For example:
- The first house I rented in the Logan Square area in Chicago had walls in the attic covered in old newspapers from the Great Depression. The landlord said he lived up there and he used the newspapers because wallpaper was too expensive, and the articles provided reading materials he couldn't get elsewhere.
- In the second house I rented in Chicago, the walls had lots of wallpaper and the walls in the closets were strangely patched in rectangles. When I peeled one back, I found $500.00 dollars. I told the Landlord, and he said his father who lived there was a miser and hid his money during the Prohibition Period. The Landlord then proceeded to inspect all the walls to see if there was more money hidden in the walls.
- During my early career as a REALTOR®, I represented a buyer having new construction. One day I went there unexpectedly and found the garage covered in wrappings from different Fast Food Restaurants. When I called the builder, he came over and told me his contractors were recycling their fast food bags and wrappings for insulation in the walls. Because the Project Manger saw the workers were cutting corners, he made the contractors go back and get those papers out of the walls and fix the problem.
Other important things to know about walls during renovations and new construction include:
- Where are the load-bearing walls located? Before knocking down walls, renovators need to know!
- Where is the location for the plumbing in the walls, especially when you're renovating old construction for expansion, what kind of plumbing is behind the walls, and does the plumbing need to be replaced to code?
- Are there rodents, termites or insects feasting behind the walls?
- Where are the ceiling joists - important to know for structure integrity. What you don't know can be costly and could be a safety violation.
- What about electric lines? Extremely important! I lived in an old house that had aluminum wiring and the house caught fire.
- If you're doing renovation yourself, do you need a permit? Are those YouTube videos accurate? Better to get the pro and know what you need to know before you knock down walls.
Well, that's enough Wonder Mongering today! I hope you found it interesting and helpful! Comments are welcomed, especially from Home Inspectors! If you know something about walls that could be educational to others too, I would be happy to know!
*I wish to express my appreciation for reading and leaving comments on my blog post. The feautre photograph is mine. Content is original by Patricia Feager, REALTOR,® author. All rights reserved. All information is deemed reliable; however, it should be independently verified by the reader. Any reproduction of this blog or use of AI is strictly prohibited.