NEW WINDSOR — They called from as far away as Annapolis and West Virginia to Smallwood, seeking information on the giveaway.
The object of this interest was a house that Lewis and Martha Gilbert of Deer Park Road didn't want, but hated to destroy.
"The lady who had rented it the last 20 years moved out last October and we toyed with the idea of adding onto the house, but I didn'tlike the way it sits out close to the road," said Martha Gilbert, 68.
It was her idea to give the house away. Perhaps some young couple who couldn't afford a home could use it, she thought.
The hitch was that anyone taking the freebie needed some place to put it.
"Alot of young people who looked at it didn't have a place to put it -- they didn't have any property," Martha Gilbert said. "We finally gave it to a really nice man who has sons to help him take it apart in pieces, and he's going to add it to their home."
Last Wednesday, Charles Kenyon Sr. and six family members started tearing apart the 53-year-old, six-room house. All that remained yesterday was the oak frame and piles of wood, windows, plumbing and an oil tank.
"I've done this for 30 years -- tearing things down and building them back up," Kenyon said. "I'm going to enclose my back porch and build some storage sheds. It's good lumber, solid oak."
His son-in-law, Wayne Morgan Jr., agreed.
"The lumber is worth it -- you can't get lumberlike this any more," he said.
Kenyon got a county permit for the work and last week took out the gas stove, sink, furnace and water heater from the house. His nephew will get the furnace, he said, while the Gilberts asked for the new water heater.
The wood that can't be used for his own home, an 1800s bungalow three miles out of town, will be cut up for kindling for one of his sons-in-law's parents, he said.
After tearing down the house, Kenyon said he will fill in thebasement for the Gilberts, who want to build a new home on the lot.
Martha Gilbert said she and her 69-year-old husband bought the property in 1962. They live in a brick bungalow next to the house they gave away.
"We just didn't feel like destroying it," she said. "It was interesting and fun and kind of sad. And wouldn't you know it, after we gave it away, we got a call from a minister who wanted it for his church.
"The idea behind giving the house away was that so many people have helped us along the way and we wanted to help somebody in return."