With only a kitchen slate sink left to install and a Tiffany-style light fixture in the dining room—work that will be done when the pieces can be located—the interior restoration of The John Updike Childhood Home at 117 Philadelphia Ave. is finished. Using Updike’s writing, photos provided by David Updike, detective work to locate “footprints” and small samples of original paint and wallpaper, and restoration expert R.J. Doerr’s knowledge of local/period architecture, the restoration meticulously replicates what the house would have looked like between 1932-1945, the years that young Updike lived there.
All that remains of exterior work contracted for “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” restorations is the completion of a side porch staircase and side lath work. After that, when more money can be raised, the grape arbor and brick patio will be recreated on the side of the house, and additional parking spaces will be created behind the house, with lines painted.
Below are some photos taken by John Updike Society president Jim Plath during his recent visit to meet with various people concerning the house. Pictured, in order, are the view when you enter, the parlor/living room, dining room, kitchen, upstairs hallway with the chest that Updike described as always having been there, a view of the dogwood tree from the newly restored second-floor porch, the bathroom, and Updike’s bedroom.