HUNTINGTON -- The 1937 flood was a horrendous event for Huntington and the surrounding communities.
Many of us have seen images of that cold January almost 75 years ago in old photos our parents and grandparents kept as reminders. Some of you have visited the Marshall University Special Collections online and have been awed by the many photos and film clips displayed on their website. Chuck and Phyllis Romine have more than just photos to keep the story of this long ago disaster alive. The windows of their home were once part of a storefront that was destroyed during the flood.
The people who built our house owned a flooring store down on 3rd Avenue and when the flood came it destroyed the store," Phyllis Romine said. "When it was over they were able to salvage the storefront with the big glass windows. They knew they were going to build this house and so they saved the glass and reused it in the windows throughout our house. The house was built in 1939, two years after the flood."
She went on to relate more history of the house.
"This was a ball field and cows use to graze nearby, and many of the streets in the Southeast Hills were still gravel when we moved here," she said. "The Starks were the ones who built it and the story goes that Mrs. Stark would visit a friend on the Southside and sit on their porch to visit. Over time Mrs. Stark fell in love with the house opposite her friend's home on 12th Avenue, so when they built this house she wanted it just like the one across the street from her friend's. It is like it only reverse. Chuck visited that house by chance one time and kept thinking it was familiar, and then it dawned on him that he was in the duplicate house."
The Romines have honored the history of their home keeping it much like it was when it was built. Lovely wide planked chestnut floors flow throughout the home and are enhanced by the mahogany stained fireplace mantel, stairway banisters, baseboards and window trim. Of special interest are the built-in window seat in the living room in that is very unique and a focal point beside the fireplace. Upstairs the original owners continued with the rich woodwork and had a wall of lovely cabinets built to hold linens and such. The forward thinking builders even included a laundry chute for convenience.
The traditional floor plan meets today's needs just as it did when the home was built. A roomy eat-in kitchen still sports the solid steel Monel kitchen that the Romines have painted a festive teal. The cozy sun porch now serves as a comfortable den. The traditional living room and dining room flow easily into the den and kitchen making the downstairs a great area for entertaining.
Chuck and Phyllis Romine have added their own special touches to this historic home as well. Phyllis Romine was most complimentary of her husband's hard work in building a wonderful screened-in porch on the back of the home and renovating the basement area into an up-to-date family room.
"We spend so much time relaxing in these areas," she said.
It truly is a house for all seasons where the Romines have raised their children and now entertain their grandchildren.