Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 46

RM

| NEIGHBORS

Alice Gander says the new front porch is her favorite spot in the 1918 colonial-revival style farmhouse she helped renovate.

before and aft

er

"Mom's big , old house"

Monroe City retiree takes hands-on approach to renovations
by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

T

he space above the porch wasn't very big,
but that wasn't going to stop the 61-year-old
from installing the insulation and running
the wire in the building she loves. "It was
very constrained. I was crawling like a caterpillar,"
she says failing to hold back a grin. "As I was up
there, I just said to myself, 'you must really love this
house to be stuck up here doing this.' "
For four-and-a-half years, Alice Gander has taken on her "retirement project" of restoring a nearly
century-old farmhouse where she grew up in rural
Monroe City. From constructing windows to running wires to refinishing the floors, Alice had her
hands on the project which is a point of family pride.
The 2,100-square-foot colonial-revival style
farmhouse was built around 1918. The Robert and
Lavinia Corder family lived on the farm for nearly
a decade before building what Alice describes as
"likely their dream home.
"This was a big
farmhouse for that
time period," she
says. "This wasn't a
Sears Roebuck kit
house like they had
at the time. It's a
custom home with
a lot of work done
locally."
Her
grandparents lived 5 miles
up the road and
remembered
the
photo courtesy of Alice Gander
house being constructed. Two decades later, the Ganders purchased
the farm and have been there ever since.
"I wasn't born yet, but three of my siblings were,"
she says. "My parents were relatively newlyweds
and it was after World War II. I'm sure they didn't

46

RURAL MISSOURI | OCTOBER 2017

have enough furniture for the entire
That hard work brought her closer to the
house. They lived here until they
house she already loved. "Just the contact
died."
of going over those floors and thinking to
Monroe
The family's sole income came from
myself, 'the last time this was refinished
City
their land. "We always raised corn or
was 1953. I wonder what Mom was thinkbeans," Alice explains. "Hogs were the
ing when she was doing it,' " she says.
primary source of income for us. We
Later she took classes on making
had dairy cows and later beef. We had
and restoring windows. In her workchickens and Mom had her egg money."
shed behind the house, Alice took on
The Missouri Rural Electric Cooperathe tedious task of making 19 new
tive member describes family details as
storm windows. "I think it might have
she walks around the old family home. "This is
been fun to learn how to do it and make four or five,
where Mom's chair was," or "Dad had a bathroom 19 was a lot," she quips.
put in here," or "This is where our old stove was."
Other parts of the restoration brought back comiAlice moved away to get a mechanical engineer- cal reminders. An exterior painter found a hole near
ing degree at the University of Texas. She would go where a faucet had been installed and when they
on to have a career with Michelin in South Carolina, looked, there was a .30-06 shell casing in there.
but the building she still considers "Mom's big, old
"Dad always said he was a better farmer and
house" always had a special place in her heart.
hunter than a carpenter," she says. "He had tried
Unfortunately, her husband passed away in to drill a hole to run the faucet and hit the end of
2010, about the same time Alice retired. She knew the joist, so he had to drill a new one. So, naturally,
what to do with her retirement. "All my family is what would he have had on hand to fill a hole that
here. This house is here. I love it here," she says. "It size? That was his farmer mentality."
was time to come home."
Alice finished up a majority of the renovation
She moved home in 2013 to begin her labor of work earlier this summer, thanks in part to a nearly
love. She did use contractors, but took a hands-on seven-month push from early November 2016 to
approach. "I'm a mechanical engineer and grew up June. She's kept family and friends from around
on a farm. I figured I can either do it myself or figure the world updated on the project by posting pictures of everything she does to Facebook.
out how to," she says.
She's enjoyed showing off the "oldest member of
Some projects would require extra training. Alice
enrolled in classes at the Belvedere School for His- the family." With much of the work done, she hosttoric Preservation in Hannibal. First were a trio of ed an open house for friends and in July had nearly
classes on refinishing old floors. What she learned 50 family members over for a party. Having those
in these classes turned into some of the hardest res- loved ones close and inside the family home is what
toration work. "I refinished all of the floors by myself, makes Alice appreciate the years of work she and
that means a lot to me. That was the most physically others have put into the house.
"I don't know how to convey how much of a perdemanding thing I did. It involved 5 to 6 hours per
day on your hands and knees for several days at a son this house is to us," she says. "I was fortunate
time. I'm 61 years old. It made me want to finish this to have the time and resources to do this. But it's
house faster, before I got any older," she says with a about the friendship and the fellowship the house
evokes from people."
laugh. "It's not going to get any easier as I age."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2017

Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 5
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 6
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 7
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 8
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 9
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 10
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 11
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 12
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 13
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 14
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 15
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 16
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 17
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 18
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 19
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 20
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 21
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 22
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 23
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 24
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 25
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 26
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 27
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 28
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 29
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 30
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 31
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 32
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 33
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 34
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 35
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 36
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 37
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 38
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 39
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 40
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 41
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 42
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 43
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 44
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 45
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - 46
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2017 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com