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June 3, 2011 / Linda Hartong


If you walk by the SE Corner of 11th St. and Dolores, you see the largest of the Comstock Cottages.

It is appropriately named Marchen( or fairytale) Haus. Hugh built this cottage in 1928 and it got lots of attention from the townspeople. One local critic noted,”The chimney is neither round, square or rectangular. It is fantastic in its grotesque mis-shapen form.”

For years we walk by this cottage and I hang over this gate

or poke my camera through walls of ivy as I slip around on ice plant and huge tree roots.

But Marchen Haus is quiet and a little forlorn.

When the house goes up for sale in 2008, Bill and I tour its quaint interior, trying to imagine living in this space.

The house sells and signs of life appear. The next time we come windows are flung open to let laughter out of the house. Several women are putting up bird feeders,

sprucing up the garden on the west side

and clearing the underbrush and ivy.

This is my chance to finally get a fairly decent photo.

So I do and I post it on flickr. Sadly, I refer to the two women I have seen as two elderly ladies who have bought the house. Where was my editor?  The current resident spots the photo on flickr and calling herself “the cottage crone” comments that

A. She is renting.

B. She is the sole occupant.


C. She is not elderly.

She manages to mix in a compliment on my photo and I write her and apologize.

This house has many elements common to Comstock homes. I love the hand cut shingle roof,

misshapen chimney, hand carved trim,

curved front door,

rock chalk foundation

and oddly shaped windows.

The occupant has placed her name on the back fence.

She changes wreaths on the door with the seasons and the plantings are colorful.

Clearly , she loves living in this little house.


Leave a Comment
  1. Robin@DTG / Jun 3 2011 4:33 pm

    What a simply charming home. Who wouldn’t love living there? Wonderful!!!

  2. janet bishop- magina / Jun 3 2011 5:27 pm

    Who wouldn’t (love living in this house)?

  3. jeanette sclar / Jun 3 2011 9:19 pm

    ” The cottage crone” should feel lucky that at least she’s got the cottage (or use of it): I have finally been asked if I qualify for the Senior Citizen Discount…..
    The Yoga Crone
    PS. check your regular email. I sent you a message

  4. Cottage Crone / Oct 10 2017 6:59 pm

    OK. I’m elderly. It took this generous woman/photographer to call me out on it to admit it, but there IS only one of me living here though it often looks like several depending upon whether or not I am in my gardening gear, general comfy clothes or attempting to spiff up and present myself as ‘with it’ as I continue to lose it. That is not my name is not on the back gate. That is the owner’s family name. I remain the Cottage Crone … 😉

  5. Betty Ann Reid / Oct 16 2017 7:00 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, as there are not that many comments, but it would be much appreciated if someone would post pictures of the interior of the home. Or just send them to my email. Thank you for the story. It was cute and entertaining. I absolutely love the work of the Congleton Architecture Firm . It is spectacular. I am considering the firm for a future project and pictures of the interior of this home would definitely help in making my decision.

  6. Lindsey A Westhaven / Nov 12 2018 2:09 pm

    Immediately, looking at this cute and charming cottage I thought to myself – Wow, that looks just like something that the creative department at Disney Studios would have dreamt up and built. It literally is a “Fairly Tale” house. That’s what I always find so interesting about Disney movies – many of them are period tales – set in a place and time that usually didn’t exist but could have. It’s the architecture and details that’s shown in these animated movies I sit up and take notice of.

    Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was small lovely little cottage nestled snugly and comfortably overlooking the great western sea in a place most appropriately called La La Land. Shaded kindly by tall pine trees and hidden from view by boreal forest flora – an elderly dowager lived there with her dog, two cats and a somewhat pesky cantankerous old raven. Now then, the ruler of the land was the grandiloquent hishonorabilitudinitatibus King Gerral Buncombe who decreed that ….

    OH YEAH, I’m going to like this story!

    Works every time. 😉

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