About a dozen people gathered last Saturday at a house in Rock Island's Broadway Historic District to help the owners with a "great unveiling," or the removal of synthetic siding to reveal the original clapboard underneath.
The home at 930 20th St. was purchased about four years ago by Josh and Kelly Brueggen and, truth be told, Josh has already done most of the unveiling, removing faux-brick asphalt siding on all but the front porch. He's also nearly finished painting the sides and back in steel blue gray, trimmed with black and white. (He is not afraid of work, plus he has know-how.)
The unveiling on Saturday was more about community-building, Kelly Brueggen said.
"I made some spaghetti and meatballs from grandpa's recipe and we bought some beers. It was a nice thing. It's like, 'We're all in this together and we appreciate your making your house beautiful and contributing to making this a good place to live.'"
The Brueggen home has been nicknamed the "geode house" because it looked "ugly as sin" on the outside, but it always retained its beautiful looks inside, even when it was duplexed in the 1940s, Brueggen said.
(OK, so a real geode doesn't look ugly on the outside, it simply looks like a plain rock. But you understand the analogy.)
Josh is an electrical engineer at Mid-American Energy and Kelly, with a degree in history, stays home with their four children, ages 2 to 7. But she also works mornings and evenings teaching English to children in China. Who knew this was possible?
As for Josh's after-hours work list, his next project is to complete a backyard shed to hold supplies. Then, the couple is going to rebuild the home's front porch from the ground up. For one of the finishing touches, they will wrap pillars salvaged from another historic home around structural supports so that the house will look period-correct.
The term "'great unveiling," by the way, was coined by Broadway residents more than 20 years ago and has been replicated nationally. More than 50 Broadway homes have been "unveiled," but it's been a few years since the last one.