What: Brick anchor
Location: Southwest corner of Bell Street and Sixth Avenue North
When Diane McEachron works in the yard of her home at 560 Bell Street, passersby stop to ask her the story behind the anchor-shaped mosaic made of bricks that adorns the outer wall of her chimney.
“The house, as I understand,” she begins, “was built in 1911.”
She goes on to say a Captain Miller, who worked in the Merchant Marine, lived in the house with his wife during the 1940s. “The story I heard from prior homeowners about the anchor in the chimney was that, while he was at sea one time, she had the house bricked. Originally, it was a frame house and she had it bricked over and had the anchor put in the chimney.”
Whether the captain had planned the change and asked his wife to implement it during his absence, or the wife had conceived it as a surprise for her husband, is unknown.
McEachron, 72, bought the house in 1986, long after the captain who was alleged to have lived there had moved on or died. She’s quick to say the story is “pure hearsay. I have no evidence to support it.”
But consider what happened when McEachron hired a roofer to work on the house after she moved in.
She recalls the roofer discovered skip sheeting, not plywood, as he began to work. “When he removed the roof, he was down to the bare bones of the house,” McEachron says. “He found this little leather case that looked like the squirrels had been at it. Inside the case was a little booklet.”
The booklet contained a record of the hours the captain had worked, his different shifts and his pay scale.
McEachron found something else.
“There was a letter in there telling him he did not have to be drafted [to serve in WW ll] because he was already serving in the Merchant Marine.
“That was kind of interesting.”
The curious passersby agree with McEachron.
“They’re always pleased to hear that little story,” she says. “They think that’s great.”