Date: June 22, 2008
About: Mary Bissell - Class of 1947
Project Provides Facelift for Neighborhood
Mary Bissell looks at her home improvement project as both a way of helping provide a facelift for her neighborhood and allowing herself to step back in time.
Bissell, who resides at 805 Monroe, purchased the property adjoining her site at the back end at 1026 S. Eighth.
The house Bissell lives in is the same one her parents owned when she was young. The neighborhood holds many fond memories for Bissell, who retired from Ameritech (now AT & amp; T) in 1991 and eventually moved back to Quincy.
Bissell is this week's honoree in the 19th annual Lookin' Good Contest, sponsored by The Quincy Herald-Whig and First Bankers Trust. Bissell will receive a $100 savings bond and a chance to win the grand prize of a $1,000 savings bond.
Being honored in this manner is nothing new for Bissell, who was a Lookin' Good finalist several years ago for work she did on her Monroe Street residence.
"I figured if I owned the house (at 1026 S. Eighth) I could both fix it up and control who lived there," Bissell said. "I remember living in this area growing up and have a lot of fond memories."
Bissell lived in a variety of towns around the state before her retirement.
"Ameritech likes to move you around," she said.
When she retired, she was living in the Chicago area. Before moving back to Quincy for good, she lived briefly in East Moline.
So far with the property at 1026 S. Eighth she has overseen the installation of new windows, a door, gray siding and black shutters. The house's look has gone from drab and rundown to sparkling and inviting.
And she's not done yet.
Bissell also has plans to improve the South Eighth Street property's landscaping and introduce a new walkway.
"I also want to put a rock wall along the front and part of the sides," said Bissell, feeling that would be the perfect punctuation to the remodeling project.
History says she has good reason to believe that would be the perfect finishing touch.
"When I won the Lookin' Good award for my house a few years ago it was after I had put rock wall up," she said.
Bissell said "fixing things up" is a passion she probably inherited,
"My father liked to do things like that and I have always been interested in it," she said.
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