In the 1880s and following decades, Perry grew very quickly. New industry, expanding railroads and immigration brought many workers and families into town, while more modern agriculture increased the rural population. Local economy boomed.
This rapid growth created needs for housing. Saw mills and carpenters were busy. Our “recycle” term was not yet been coined, but a form of it helped solve a housing problem as Perry grew.
A source of this recycling was Angus. Its mining industry died quickly, leaving structures of all types no longer needed. Large numbers of houses and buildings were moved into Perry, even with the same owners. Early developers bought houses cheaply and created additions to the original plot of Perry. Any unused building could become a needed home.
An early example is an apartment building at 1414 Fifth St. Built in 1881 at Second and Lucinda, it was the original building for the First Christian Church. The growing congregation had used others’ buildings, but after 10 years needed their own. After 17 years they had again grown, needing a larger building constructed at Third and Lucinda. George Birdsall purchased the older building, moved it and converted into apartments. Two additions made it into a fine home for many over the last 116 years. The only evidence seen is a corner cut out of the ground floor that held the original entrance. Quality work made the house look great, even today after 133 years.
A similar building became a home in the Miller Addition, in the 1900 block of Fourth. Previously a hotel in Angus, it was remodeled into a spacious home. All that is noticed today is a little extra height that accommodated the higher ceilings used in that era. It is likely more soundly built than most houses 100 years younger.
Two interesting recycled homes sit in the 1400 block of Sixth. These were originally one two-story house in Angus. It was moved into town and placed. Then the top floor was cut off and lowered to the next lot. Before recent remodeling you could note the exact same size and window placement. This effort saved time, money and skilled labor. An earlier attempt for an identical house failed. It was cut apart in Angus, but the weakened structures did not survive fording Frog Creek. The bottom half became a chicken coop on Park Street.
A lot of time and work went into providing needed housing quickly.