When my crew chief called to tell me his impressions of the Deakin residence, he exclaimed,, “it’s a beauty!” Lester was right. The embossed tin shingles would restore beautifully since the surfaces were free of awful asphalt coatings. The roof even boasted some of the fine ornamentation of that Victorian period.
The best part of the project were the owners, the Deakins. The family had owned the residence since 1898. They loved living there, sharing stories of their youth.
The two surprises on my first visit there: First, I pulled into a local eatery for directions. All I needed to ask, “How to reach the Deakins?” And directions were instantly given.
Second, I drove over a hill…and there it was.
The Farmers Mutual Insurance Company located in Jonesborough, TN, enjoys a close relationship with the family. On their website, the agency has posted an early image of the mansion. As their website states, the ancestral Deakins were the first policy holders back in 1898.
According to the owner, he grew amused when the priming step was completed. “People were complimenting me on my choice of colors. If they like the grey, they are going to love the black!”
The roofing project represented just one part of his ambitious plan to renovate the mansion.
He even tracked down parts of the “widows’ walk” railing. And the detail around the B..I..G porch still needed to be done as we finished.
As I write this, I know I am going to sneak a trip back there this year.
Click this link for several enlarged photos.
The owner is observing the first coat application. He defines being a gentleman. His photo, which appears to be surrounded by witch hats, actually are black halos in disguise.
Mr. Deakin personifies a past era. He thinks telegraphs are a wonderful new invention; computers just are “not his thing”. Will he ever discover this website?!?