Real Estate: The Thanksgiving Report

2014-11-09 - Thanksgving Banner

(Image Credit: Google Images –

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REGARDLESS OF HOW THANKSGIVING IS OBSERVED, its meaning often finds a way to pierce the routines and festivities we now associate with the day. And sometimes examples of this emerge from unexpected settings.

Right after Labor Day not too long ago a retired lady came to us requesting assistance with an ancestry project that included her family tree and places family members lived and visited over the years. Although pleased she asked for our help, we politely explained our research resources are mostly focused on investment grade real estate consulting and research rather than ancestral lineage.

Undeterred, she said genealogical aspects of her request were secondary to having us seek a meaningful piece of her family’s history ― namely, an old log cabin camp site in rural upstate New York. Earnestly recounting the considerable time she consumed unsuccessfully endeavoring to find it, she revealed a general idea of its suspected regional whereabouts yet was unable to pinpoint its location. Once found, she wanted a map depicting its position on the lake and present-day pictures of it for her project. We reconsidered then agreed to work on the matter.

An interview of the lady ―now our client― revealed smatterings of information based on childhood memories of gossip shared by long-gone relatives. She said the log cabin had been owned by her grandmother during the 1920’s or 1930’s. Its perceived importance stemmed from old family letters that indicated “the camp” had been a gathering spot for relatives during holidays and summer vacations. Our client believed it was sold during the 1940’s.

Preliminary review of the several faded photographs showed a log cabin on a nameless lake shore front. With the brittle handwritten documents and tattered map fragments she possessed yielding nothing overtly useful to track down the camp site, we commenced a painstakingly methodical examination of the material. It was slow, especially since some of the paperwork contained incomprehensible or illegible passages or inscriptions. Moreover, various geographic features and places had eighteenth and nineteenth century names that changed over the years, requiring supplemental research.

Gradually, as bits of handwritten references were deciphered and linked to photos and maps, an elimination process was undertaken to match those depictions with relevant shoreline portions of two likely lakes in the suspected region. Visiting the towns in which those water bodies lie, finding then studying aged municipal records and an old community map eventually produced clues leading to two adjacent parcels on one of those lakes, just outside a popular summer resort locale.

By mid-November we had sufficient data to reasonably conclude the two identified parcels at one time formed the sought log cabin camp site. Apparently a subsequent owner of the property subdivided it into two parcels sometime after the 1930’s. However, there was no trace of the log cabin pictured in the old photos. Decay, fire and/or a new owner likely took it down sometime in the past. 

Our findings were packaged into a report along with the requested map and photos, all of which our client received a few days before Thanksgiving. She called to express her thanks. As we said then, and say to all now: “Happy Thanksgiving!”


Need consulting, coaching or problem troubleshooting regarding other single-family or multi-family housing issues? We’ll be pleased to help you. Visit us at the Inhouse Corporation website or contact us at


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