Yesterday we signed the contract. We should close by the end of the month. Then we have a big clean-up party with pizza from John's Italian Village, a classic neighborhood Italian restaurant a block north of the greenhouse. Everyone who enjoys taking their frustrations out on innocent plants will be encouraged to attack the weeds in the back yard. There is broken glass to sweep up and rotted planting tables to tear down.
Last night we went to the Central Library and used the Sanborn maps and other Buffalo atlases to trace the uses of the parcel over time. We are 99% certain that the greenhouse is the first structure ever built there and that it was erected between 1907 and 1915. There didn't appear to be signs of nearby oil tanks or underground storage tanks.
Being a local history librarian, this is research I can do and teach in my sleep. By doing it ourselves, we saved $1500 on a Phase One Environmental Review. What we learned about these Phase One reviews (thanks, Kathleen!) is that they rely almost completely on documentary evidence, such as Sanborn maps and city directories. Geeze, there's a profitable gig for an enterprising librarian.
They don't even test the soil until Phase Two. Well, forget that, it's SuperLibrarian (tm) to the rescue. We can now proceed directly to soil tests. Considering how cavalier everyone was with the exciting new garden chemicals in the mid-20th century, this is the test that matters.
But enough about research. This blog is making me crazy! I spent all yesterday afternoon trying to upload greenhouse pictures. Blogger says you can either host your pictures elsewhere and use IMG SRC tags, or you can download this photo uploading tool called Hello.
Heck, if I wanted to write HTML, I wouldn't have used a blog with easy, pre-existing templates, I'd launch an original website. So I downloaded Hello, selected my photos, and repeatedly sent photos here to Blogger. As you can see, none arrived. Hope to have this figured out by next week, before I yank the whole thing out of frustration and restart it at a more accommodating blog provider.