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153 year old Pennsylvania church converted to a home & artist workshop studio

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The1870 Diary - Day 1

Where has the past year gone? The time hasn't just flew by, it' traveled at super sonic light speed.

August 2014 saw me looking at this beautiful for the first time and falling madly in love with it the moment I drove up the hill. The position of this incredible building is at the north east end of the little village of Locust Gap. As I was looking for street sign names I looked though the windshield at the steeple and headed the car in the "up" direction.

The man we eventually bought the church from lived in another state, so he had arranged to have a key hidden by the door. My son and his girlfriend were with me, but I hadn't told Morton, my dear husband, that I was going to look at a huge 140 year old church I had found for sale on the internet. I knew he wouldn't be able to get his head around the thought that I imagined this could be our forever home.

After parking and locating exactly which entrance we were to use, there are 7 of them here, we located the key and I held my breath while turning the key. The room we entered, that is now my husband's tool cupboard, is on the west side facing the old parish house. It's a room with commercial glass double doors, a bare concrete floor, plain ceiling, nothing that jumps out at you as a stunning feature except the heavy wooden massive double doors that were shut. They seem too large for this ten by ten foot area, but I pushed the one on the left open and let my breath out. I was home and madly in love with a building.

The first thing I saw was the triple arch that is the ceiling on the massive forty-five foot wide stage. The arches carried me to all the exotic places I've visited with my husband. The ancient church on the Greek island of Rhodes where we spent a quiet hour just exploring the empty building. The curves of every castle window in Scotland that I looked out of, imagining what it must be like to live in a castle. The heavy wooden door was from another time, yet felt totally right in my hand.

We stepped inside and I looked to the right, towards the south view, where the organ loft loomed halfway between the soaring ceiling and the expansive floor that is the main part of the church. The pews were all gone, parts of the floor were painted vinyl, the impressive lights that had hung in the photo were either bare wires or spot lights with a bulb or two dangling. It didn't matter. We all know photos on the internet are usually different from what is reality. Nothing mattered because at that moment in time I could just hear all those voices and sounds that must have came from that balcony. It was as if a chorus from the ages were all singing in on glorious moment, YES!

That first time I spent at least an hour here, exploring, planning, dreaming and never wanting to leave. Even the toilets filled with what could only be described as the most foulest foam and crust in the world, didn't put me off of my dream. Convincing my husband that this place that had and has a thousand projects that are never ending could be our home was my task at hand.

On the hour drive back to our house in Middletown, Pennsylvania I was positive that some day, some how, I would live there. I would smile there. I would cook there. I would clean there. Create, dream, work, build, restore and spend the rest of my life there.

As I walked into our house that I have called our dollhouse since we bought it, the thousand square feet seemed as small as the first entry room of the church. The ceilings are so low in that tiny dollhouse that I can stand on my toes and touch them. They don't soar. They don't inspire.

My next project was to get Morton to go see the church, to unfold my plans and dream to him and have an answer already ready for any objection he might have. But first I grabbed a notebook and started sketching ideas. If you are going to dream, you might as well dream big.

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