Contractor Follies, 1958

Anyone who’s ever done a house renovation has got at least a couple of contractor horror stories. That’s just how life is.

The first major addition to Cohen House was built in 1958. Most of you don’t know Mr. Cohen as well as I do so I will tell you now that he was not the sort of fellow to just turn over control of a project to someone else and then wait for it to be finished. No.

Not at all.

Mr. Cohen was what we call today “hands on.” So Rice had someone assigned to keep him up to date on the progress of the construction and there’s a thick file of photos (which I’ll eventually get to) that went to him on an almost weekly basis. It’s the letters that went with the pictures that are funny. And the comedy slowly escalates, so slowly that by the time the addition was finally finished I was nearly in hysterics.

All I can manage here is a small sample so much of the drama is lost, but the emotional trajectory is intact. Mr. Dwyer’s relentless and completely unwarranted optimism sends me into giggles even now. The work wrapped up, by the way, sometime towards the end of January.

Cohen House construction 3 1958 Cohen House Papers 053

Cohen House construction 7 October 1958 Cohen House Papers 057

Cohen House construction 10 December 1958 Cohen House Papers 060



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