Back in 1970, an absentee landlord owned two properties on Atkinson Street: the Greek Revival house at #53 and a two-story frame cottage behind it at #51 (now 32 Eagle Street). Both houses had been chopped up in to tiny apartments, violating city codes. The landlord realized bringing each one up to code would greatly reduce the units and accordingly the income he could make from the property. He sold the buildings to the city, which in turn sold house and cottage as a package to Bob Trout and his then wife Laurie for $15,000.
The young couple returned the cottage to a single-family residence. In article that appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle, Bob said, “It makes a home for someone that way. I’m not going to cut it up.” The front of the brick house became their home with an apartment in the rear. They also became active in reviving the newly named Corn Hill neighborhood (formerly the Third Ward).
“There’s a feeling, a lot of sharing going on here.” Bob had unique talents. He worked for Xerox as a metal specialist. When Mount Hope Cemetery decided, for maintenance reasons, to remove wrought iron fences around older family plots, Corn Hill neighbors offered to take them. Bob generously provided his metal skills, adapting those fences that still line the fronts of houses along several of our streets.
In 1998, he was admitted to the Roycroft Renaissance Guild, which recognizes highly accomplished artistry and craftsmanship. Three years later, he was elevated to Master Artisan. Bob died on February 7 at the age of 76.