Researching Our Home’s Past

Shortly after purchasing the home, I was browsing a listing of my county’s buildings that were on the National Register of Historic Places.  What do you know?  I found my house.  It is called the “Harrison DeLong House.”  I couldn’t believe it!  I had been planning a visit to our county historical society museum to do a little research for myself, but solved the main piece of the puzzle without trying.

I started googling his name and enrolled in a free trial of, and was able to find out a lot of information about Mr. DeLong rather quickly.  

Here’s what I know:

-Born in Ohio in1820, married Louisa in 1855

-Fought in the Civil War (!!!) Was ill, was released, and enlisted later in the war a second time once he was feeling better

  Enlisted in Company B, Ohio 170th Infantry Regiment on 13 May 1864.  Left in September of the same year.

-Had 3 sons, Sylvester (1856- died in Ohio in 1874 at the age of 18) Alvin Lacy (1858-1979) and Edward (1868-1953)

-1879 was hired at the first janitor of the Sioux Falls School District.  He lived in the basement of the school before he built and lived in our home.

-By the time our home was built, he was 69 years old!  His sons Alvin (ages 41 and 31) lived with their parents in the home, and so I wonder if building the home was a joint effort.

– Harrison died in 1912, he was 92 years old

-His son, Alvin is listed as living in what must have been the carriage house (which is now a modern garage) for many years, as late as 1930.  Alvin had a son that lived with him as late as 1930 (Alvin Ode).  Alvin Ode was born in 1905 in St Louis, Missouri.  His parents divorced, and then he and Alvin Sr. returned to live with Harrison and Louisa at the family home.

-In the 1940 Census, Alvin Ode is listed as living with his wife, Jeannette Evelyn Wold in the same general area.  He died in 1979 in California. I was almost 1 year old at the time.   Jeanette was born in 1912 in Brookings, SD and died in 1997 in California, the year I graduated from High School.  It appears that they did not have children. 



This is happening.

In November, I emailed my husband the real estate listing for this house:



I did not do this with the intention of actually pursuing its purchase.  Emailing him listings for old houses is just something I DO.  Living in an old house has been a dream for as long as I can remember.  I love anything that is old and has a story behind it.  If I had drawn a picture of my childhood “dream house,” it would have looked like this house.  But buy it?  No.  We were already living in a beautiful, convenient 1960s ranch in a great, safe neighborhood.  My kids’ piano teacher lived across the street and the bus dropped them off around the corner.  I stopped thinking about the house.  Until we saw the “open house” sign.  Once my husband and I stepped inside the house, it was over.  We purchased the house a week before Christmas and will move in very soon.


 This blog will tell the story of how we make this beauty our own and how we preserve it for the family who falls in love with it 125 years from now.