There up, here over

In the East Bay, many middle class hosues seemed to get lifted in the 90’s real estate boom:  severed from their foundations, with cross tie pillars built to hoist them aloft, another story was built beneathe, thereby doubling the floorspace and often leaving a front door with strangely tall stairs leading to it and remodeled into a second floor window.

Not all of these projects went quickly.  I remember one place on the east side of MLK, around Cedar Street, that remained up in the air for four or five years, eventually coming to light on top of a first story that increases its girth as well as its height, and turning what had been a single family bungalow into a trio of condos. In another block of the same street, or where it has merged with The Alameda, another house sat up in the air for less time but more breath-holdingly, as the apparently expensive Chinese urn in the living room was hoisted with the house and sat there precariously over the abyss until the first floor solidified the house’s attachment to Earth again.

Here, I discover, houses in need of foundation work don’t go up but get put aside.  I discovered this as I walked along the southern most block of Dresden Row and was shocked to see what at first seemed an open lot where a Victorian had stood last week.  But then, as I passed, I saw the house is still there, only moved back several dozen feet on the property, while something occurs in the pit of its basement that involves ladders, a small backhoe and such.

Presumably the work will be completed before winter arrives.  Stepping out onto a frozen pond, from the set-back front door, wouldn’t be fun.  But, on the whole, more copable than getting out of a tower-in-the-sky come the East Bay earthquake.


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