By Larry Covington
William Abbe, the first white settler of Linn County, lived on the land where my present house now stands.
Abbe was a tall, thin, energetic man from Elyria, Ohio. In the winter of 1836 he crossed the Mississippi using the ice to get across instead of paying a toll. He staked out a claim by the banks of a creek and returned to Ohio to get his family.
In 1837 he returned to his claim with his family and built a double sized cabin.
In 1839 his wife died and was buried on the original Abbe homestead (some where near or on our land).
The creek, schoolhouse, and cemetery are named after him.
The next house on our land was moved here from the present site, 870 Abbe View road in 1961. Then in 1975 was moved to its present site, 1110 Abbe Hills road. Pictures of the first move are on pages A and B.
The present house standing at 1135 Irish Lane was built by the Covington family in 1988. In the spring the Covingtons started preparing to build a dream, to live out in the country away from other houses.
The first thing done to start building was to get land, which was bought from Merrill Pitlik. Then we needed the land surveyed and a contractor. A contractor was found and surveying set to begin in the spring of 1988. Then a problem arose. Where to do we start surveying? Because of a change in the old Lincoln Highway, it took some extra time. The other problem, which electric company customer were we, REC or IE? A REC pole stood at one end of the property and the house stood on the companies dividing line. Finally IE was chosen.
After the land was surveyed rezoning began. To get your property rezoned you have to bring a plat map (a legal description of the land) made by a surveyor then apply for rezoning. The land will go on to the zoning board agenda and be read publicly three times to allow for arguments. The Mount Vernon zoning board had to approve it too because we were within one mile of the city limits. Then our land was rezoned from agricultural to residential. The plot plan is on page C. During this time the first contractor was lost. Because of the amount of time spent and because we hadn’t signed any contracts he had found another client.
The next designer/ builder/ developer/ contractor was Ed Meader. We took one of his designs and changed it so we could put a screened-in-porch in back and lengthened the garage, then flipped the design. The original plan is on page D. The revised plan is on pages E and F.
We broke ground and poured the foundation in early August, then started building. First basement walls, floor-beams and the floor were put in. Then the walls, roof and boxing it in were done. Insulation and siding came next.
Then the well was dug. At 15 feet water was struck but they kept digging to 275 feet to assure us of a long lasting water supply. It was done by Greiner well service.
Then we applied for a permit for a private sewage system. The septic tank had to be at least 70 feet from the house and the well, 50 feet from the septic tank. The septic absorption field had to be at least 100 feet from the well. Before you could put in the absorption field a perc test was done. A hole was dug into the ground and 5 gallons of water was dumped into it. The absorption time was recorded.
The house was then fininshed off on the inside and we moved into it in October. Pictures of the house from start to finish are on pages G-K.
Since then the basement was been divided into rooms and has been carpeted. Future plans include a finished ceiling.