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What now?

After the amazing discoveries of the last two days, today's visit to the Library was somewhat... deflating. I was absolutely certain yesterday that I was very close to discovering the year the House was moved to North Mountain and I simply wanted to confirm that by reviewing the Tax Field Books. Well, nothing, and I mean nothing, is as simple as it looks.

First, I checked the map, block and lot numbers and made sure they are correct. After that was done, I searched the books starting with 1902, the year Harry Fenn sold the House, to 1918. Interestingly, the three owners following the Fenn sale were all women: Laura A. Bausher, Addie R. Lambie, and Anne S. Hard.

Or that is what I thought. It should have simply been a matter of checking the old map, block and lot, and monitoring for the change in number of structures. If I used that as my guide, I would have found that between 1902 and 1906 on the 5 lots that Ms. Bausher purchased adjacent to the House, there was only one residence. And I would assume that was the House. However, in 1907, another house shows up in the tax books, and stays there until 1917.

Finding that pretty strange, I decided to backtrack. Not the best idea I had, since I had already re-shelved all the books. But, down they go again, all hundreds of pounds of them.

The second attempt to discover the allusive year went this way: I decided to find out the old block and lot number for the present day lot, and go back through the Tax Field Books, to find out what year did any new residences show up. I found it, of course, but I wasn't any less confused. It turns out that the lot was empty in 1902, and it had a house on it in 1903. But, which house?

This being 21st century, I wanted to ask for aerials, and then realized there were no aerials in 1902. Nor satellites, either, so Google Maps couldn't help me.

Also, this being 21st century, I was a bit surprised that none of this information was digitized. The Library has a binder that was provided to them by the Town, which contains the old and new addresses since the incorporation of the Town. For example, North Mountain used to be Lower Mountain, and the numeration used to be different, etc. Well, you would think information like that would be available in electronic format, so I don't have to spend 30 minutes flipping binder pages looking for the correct address. And it wasn't even alphabetized!?! We pay so much in property taxes, there isn't a one Town employee that has some free time from their other duties to do this? Seriously.

But, I digress. Since the tax records have now completely confused me, tomorrow I have to tackle the Montclair Times microfiche archives. Oh, yes, the joy of scrolling through the pages of newspaper negatives. And my younger readers are thinking: 'What is microfiche?"

Until tomorrow.


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