This past Sunday, some progress at Veblen House. Andrew and I first installed a better ladder for accessing the basement. In keeping with the sustainability theme of the project, the ladder was rescued from the curb and is being given a second life.
The situation in the basement is something of an emergency. The floor joists are dripping wet from the humidity. One can see where runoff from outside flowed in through a vent, most likely from roof runoff that falls next to the foundation for lack of gutters.
In an email, architect friend Heidi recommended covering the bare dirt in the crawlspace with plastic. I've also put in a request to the county for roof gutters (the old copper ones long ago disappeared, probably stolen for their metal). In the meantime, it will be necessary to cover the ground next to the foundation with plastic so that the water pouring off the room during heavy rains can flow away from the house.
The step taken on Sunday was to dig the beginnings of a ditch to carry water away, so that at least it will not flow into the basement.
One idea Andrew had for the open field next to the Veblen House is a community garden. We visited the existing one nearby at the township's Smoyer Park, which may or may not be maxed out.