This is a very old house
The Captain Morse House is very old. It is sometimes easy for me to forget how old it is. It was built before the automobile, airplane, anethesia, oil and electricity were invented. There were no building codes. You are renting a little bit of history and if you are expecting doors to close perfectly, stairs to be shallow and to modern bulding codes then this home will dissapoint. However if you want to live in a bit of history for a week then you will not be dissapointed. Here are some of the considerations for children and people with disabilities of any kind.
Handicapped and Disabled Accessible properties are few and far between, particularly when it comes to historic homes. The Captain Morse House was built in 1834 so you can imagine that it has a few challenges for Handicapped-Accessible, physically challenged, elderly and those with disabilities. Over the years we have hosted several guests with disabilities but it, of course, depends on the level. Although we’ve made many accommodations over the years, the house is NOT ADA compliant. There are also several areas where current building codes would not allow the feature. None of our stairs, for example, are to code and are steep.
The easiest door to enter the house from is from the East #1 kitchen or the West Patio entrance to the backyard. A person in a wheelchair will need help with both of these. There are handholds at these doors. We have a ramp that can be installed on the back patio door upon request. We would need to customize a ramp for the East #1 kitchen.
The thresholds on the first floor have been removed or replaced with lower thresholds to make movement in a wheelchair easier.
The East Wing first-floor shower is large and easy to access with handholds. The West Wing shower is a zero curb entry so wheel chairs can be rolled right into it. It also has hand holds in it. To make sure that the house is appropriate for your purposes you should discuss your particular needs and requirements before renting the home.
Ms. Clara Dinsmore owned the home for many years while she was confined to a wheelchair. During her ownership, she installed a handicapped-accessible hand operated elevator that is still in operation today. I have kept it in the house because all of the staircases in the house are steep and quite difficult for an older person to manage. The elevator is, therefore, the safest way to access the second floor. Handicapped people and small children are discouraged from going to the third floor where the stairs are even steeper.
Unlike modern elevators, this Handicapped-Accessible model requires an adult to operate it. You can’t just press a button. Doors do not automatically close and lock. You will manually operate it following the directions below.
- Use of the elevator is entirely at your own risk and your own responsibility.
- It is manually operated and not up to modern codes however it was used by Ms. Dinsmore and my family for over 60 years.
- When descending from the 2nd-floor be sure to hook the 2nd-floor door from the inside.
- With a light load, it will be harder to go down than up.
- Do not allow children to play in it.
- Pull the rope evenly and smoothly. If the rope does come off the top bull wheel go up into the attic and into the eves to put the rope back on the wheel. This has only happened once in the past and was the result of very fast movement.
- There are no locks on the elevator except for the top inside hook.
My mother lived in the house until 87. My father lived in the house until 89. They were able to use the stairs without assistance but perhaps they were well used to them. Some of our guests live entirely on one level at home so these stairs will pose a challenge. Also guests over a certain weight should be housed on the first floor. Please discuss your groups needs prior to renting the home.