At home: 1854 Elsah section residence is like ‘going behind in time’

November 25, 2017 - Picnic Time

“Somehow we seem to always finish adult nearby a river,” says Barbara Ostrowski. “Our children were lifted in Kirkwood, though afterwards we changed to Hermann, afterwards Defiance and now Elsah.”

Elsah, a little encampment nestled into a limestone cliffs on a Illinois side of a Mississippi River, is a few miles north of Alton. The whole encampment is on a National Register of Historic Places, and boasts a race of about 650, tighten to a series of residents when a city was founded in 1853.

“Almost everybody in city can tell we a story of everybody else’s home,” Ted Ostrowski says. “There is a genuine clarity of encampment here. We even have several yearly events, like a Fourth of Jul parade. Last year we counted 14 people in a procession. Then we went to a city gymnasium where everybody brought something to share for dinner, and we sang nationalistic songs.”

The immaculately confirmed Ostrowski home is one of a initial to come into perspective as visitors exit a Great River Road and expostulate into one of a dual lanes in a village. The vast front yard with a round cruise list surrounded by colorful Adirondack chairs is mostly a symbol for spontaneous gatherings. “If we are out in a yard working, it is not surprising for someone to expostulate by, hurl down their window, and tell us they ‘will be right back,’” Barbara says. “Then they travel behind with a bottle of booze and we talk, gossip, tell stories and giggle for an hour or so.”

The hand-hewn section home, built in a mid-1850s, was one of a initial in Elsah. Local science is that a 4 relating columns ancillary a superb porch were hand-carved from tree trunks that floated down a Mississippi, that flows a few hundred yards away.

Inside, a difference “antiques, art and books” report a décor that fills a two-bedroom, two-bath home. The integrate have always collected antique wooden furniture, and many of their pieces competence have been found in a home when it was built. Some have been modified. “We are always slicing a legs off things to make them functional,” Barbara says, articulate about a low wooden coffee list in a vital room that was once maybe a kitchen table.

The art in a home is roughly all Ted’s. He complicated art as a seminary student, alongside inclusive Brother Mel Meyer, a iconic artist who lived and worked during Vianney High School in Kirkwood.

It is unfit to specify Ted’s art. The basement contains a collection of pencil sketches of several presidents inventory their accomplishments and failures underneath any portrait. A self-portrait is surrounded by copies of letters he has created to his grandchildren. In his upstairs art studio are Ted’s versions of Jackson Pollock contemporary art, and several paintings shabby by Picasso. In a basement a folk art conduct done from a Styrofoam retard facilities salvaged element for facial features, such as booze corks for whiskers.

Several pieces of seat have been detailed by Ted with difference he finds motivating. In a vital room a dim chest is a backdrop for white lettering reading “Wealth is a ability to entirely knowledge life — Henry David Thoreau.”

Cabinets filled with books are found in each room, many about American presidents, a passion of Ted’s. “We mostly will come home to find a smoke-stack of books left for me on a porch,” he says.

When a Ostrowskis changed in 3 years ago, a yard was disproportionate and a home had been neglected. They spotless adult a yard, embellished a inside and now they never wish to leave. “After a stressful day during work, pushing home and into a encampment a highlight seems to warp away,” Barbara says. “It is like going behind in time to come home to Elsah.”


Ted and Barbara Ostrowski

Ages • Both are 71

Occupations • Previously with TWA for 15 years, Barbara has worked for Citibank for a past 13 years. Ted owned Ostrowski Framing in St. Louis for 24 years before retiring.

Home • Elsah

Family • Married 45 years, a integrate have a son and dual daughters, all staying in a St. Louis area. Their 9 grandchildren are all boys.


Elsah’s Home for a Holidays House Tour

What • The Ostrowski home will be one of 10 ancestral encampment homes flashy for Christmas and enclosed on a open residence tour. Tickets also embody a encampment museum, dual city churches, a dual encampment bed-and-breakfast inns. A horse-drawn carriage float is also available.

When • Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2

How most • $15 in allege and $18 on a day of a event.

More info • historicelsah.org

At Home with Barbara and Ted Ostrowski