Quite an upheaval of events have come to Mark and Nancy Correa this year, beginning with the fire on Sunnyside that stole their entire home, its contents, outbuildings, Mark’s business inventory, and a rental this past September. They were left with their Blazen toy hauler, one vehicle, three dogs and a flock of 40 chickens which escaped the flames.
Though shocked and set back, the Correas remained undaunted by the enormity of the losses and being homeless. They purchased a fifth wheel trailer in order to move back on the property to start the rebuilding process. Mark built a deck and had the electricity installed. Still, all this was only accomplished last week. Had this worked out they would have been residing in a hotel until now.
But God had other plans for them.
On Sept. 25, they learned of a beautiful place on the river, belonging to Alvin and MaryAnn Litostansky, which had come up for sale. On the Sept. 28 they made an offer and Al got back to them to meet with a counter.
The rapport between the Litostanskys and the Correas was good and when Al learned that they were still dwelling in a hotel he told them, there’s no reason for that, move into one of the cabins. They were overjoyed. (This was before the sale was even really in the works, which shows the thoughtfulness for others that Al and MaryAnn have. They also let the Correas move a shed to their property for Nancy’s beloved chickens and to put a yard there for them.)
Nancy had them and their dogs moved in the next day, and the following day she had her office set up.
The Litostanskys place is a dream home and acreage to the Correas, both to live in, and as a business venture, because there are two cabins and rental storage units included.
Since the Correas already have a business managing their own rentals, this is really an added plus.
Many other things made this place an outstanding investment that they feel God guided them into.
The cabins and the house come fully furnished. Since Mark and Nancy had lost everything this was a huge blessing. The many items, include several of Al’s hunting trophies, which add to the ambiance of the place. Every trophy has a story. The tail of a halibut adorns the upstairs along with an elk hide, hair-on, and a life-size cougar mount. The cougar was shot with a black powder gun. The elk head was the result of a black powder hunt, too.
Included in the home is a play room, sewing and crafts room, and a man-cave for hunting trophies, antiques and story items.
There are antique wagon wheels and whiskey barrels from Montana made into tables and hanging lamps.
Nancy says, “So you see why I say we’re not moving into a house, we are moving into history.”
Al says, “When I built it I did it like a commercial job. The main house has hot water heat in the floor. Everything’s been done in steel conduit and everything under this floor is concrete. So there’s no rot of any kind. It’s also why this place will stay heated evenly. Everything is in the furnace room. I went a little elaborate because piping and construction is what I do for a living. Everything in here is high grade to last very long. It burns on propane which is cleaner and doesn’t destroy things so much. Usually people put in a 42 gallon tank, but I put a 50 gallon. There’ll be plenty of hot water.”
The house is chock full of innovative ideas and its individual characteristics are everywhere you look, including the furniture, the beds, the built in dressers, with handles made from the bases of elk antlers, and metal works, all hand created. No space is wasted yet you do not feel crowded at all.
Upstairs there is a bed, built in dresser, pool table and an electric piano, which Al and MaryAnn are leaving, to the joy of the Correas.
Nancy has greatly missed her music, having taught piano lessons earlier and just enjoys playing.
Al shared, “There is no sheetrock in this house. It’s all kinds of natural wood, blued pine, cedar, red fir and more. When you are young you enjoy creativity.
“From the time we started it was 45 days until we were moving into this place. People were coming to check us out to see our progress. They were amazed, but for me and my workers, it was no big deal. I worked like that all my life.”
Throughout the house and yard there are metal handmade works. MaryAnn would ask, do you think you could make (and name an item), and Al would make it. Like the yardbirds that decorate the garden. She asks, ‘How do you do that?’ and he says, ‘I don’t know, you have a scrap pile and you just start doing it. Pretty soon you have something created.’
“Like the raised beds that are out there. She was down on her knees trying to garden and when I came out I saw her. I measured her height, got some cedar and made those boxes.”
The first thing that catches your eye in the Litostansky house is a huge mounted buffalo head. It’s about 15 or 16 inches between the eyes.
He is one of the decorations to remain with the Correas. He seems to belong there and, as both couples put it, it would take some kind of crane to remove him!
Al shot him in 2009 with a bow. He weighed in at 2316 pounds, a mammoth sized bull. The taxidermist told him he’d done taxidermy from all over the world and this was the biggest animal he’d ever done. There was enough meat for a couple of years, even giving quite a bit of it away.
“I hunted a herd of buffalo for about three days, came home, then went back, and talked to the guy with the buffalo. He didn’t want me on the property with a bow because, he said, if you don’t kill and you just wound a buffalo, those animals don’t stop, they go through fences and tear up everything.
“The only way I could get up on this buffalo was to ambush him, so I figured out a plan and got in a brush pile and got way ahead of the him. I got lucky and was in the right place at the right time. Like in the Bible the water parted and there he was.
“The first time I shot I thought I must have hit a rib because it didn’t go through. So when he spun I knocked another arrow and fired again. That arrow went through.
“He didn’t go far and it was a big job at 25 below zero when I started getting him open. He was so big, every time I would get in the body cavity my glasses would fog and I was worried I would cut my fingers off because I couldn’t feel them in there.
“Then this rancher came by and he said, ‘Do you want some help?’, and I said, ‘Yes, that would be great!’ He came back with a Farmall tractor. He was a life saver to me that morning.
“Then we had to haul him and a third of the carcass was hanging out over the tailgate. When I did get there to the town I had already made arrangements for a place to take him. They said that was the biggest buffalo they had ever seen. Then the butcher and his three helpers started quartering up the bull.
“I had told them to watch out, that there was an arrow in there somewhere, and they have a razor edge on them.
“One guy said, ‘I found that arrow. Look at this’.
“The arrow was stuck right in the bull’s heart. That’s what stopped him, and the heart was as big as a watermelon.
“When you watch those buffalo they never stop. They continually move. Some may lay down and take a nap, but they browse and are continually moving. That was a good day in my world, hunting up in this area. I was from Montana, up around Great Falls.
“The buffalo are on a ranch. The ranchers raise them. They sell hides, heads and they will also sell you a hunt. That was a big thing. They didn’t want him shot with a bow. I got around that on bended knee.”
Al and MaryAnn’s story
“When we first bought this place we were still living in Oregon. I left it up to the boy whether to move right away, before he graduated, because he was a state wrestling champion, which is a big sport in Oregon, but he wanted to move.”
Al’s job took him all over as a steam fitter and pipe welder. He ended up being foreman, and then moved on up to supervisor for huge companies. Finally he became the piping superintendent for a worldwide company. He was always in and out of home, because of his work. He did this type of work for 45 years. He’s been retired now for about 22 years and has lived here in Idaho.
MaryAnn and the children stayed while he worked. She and Al have one son, Richie, and a daughter, Cheri Ann.
Early on Al worked on a couple of ranches in Montana. He was 15 years old. He says, “I wanted to be a cowboy, because everybody in Montana wanted to be a cowboy!”
Consequently, real cowboy stuff hangs out in the man-cave. He did try to ride bulls for a while. He was still roping for a long time but ended up getting two rebuilt hips from that exercise.
Still he knew there had to be something else in his future.
There was no looking back once he got into construction work. He was earning money that he didn’t know could be.
“I started work in 1957, at the age of 17, and put in an apprenticeship over in Great Falls.”
Bow hunters club
Al has been a member of the bow hunters club locally and excelled at it. The buffalo was just one wild experience among many Al enjoyed. He shot in all the tournaments around here and says that there’s a really good club here.
At the time when he was really into it he and his family traveled all over the state. The targets are fake animals and competitors shoot and score by who is closest. The furthest was about 62 yards.
Concerning the recent choice to sell their place to the Correas, Al comments, “I know Mark will keep on changing, building. He has to be working.”
“I like the Correas because they don’t get fuzzed up about things. It’s ‘Let’s just stick around and figure out how to deal with it.’
Mary Ann laughs and says, “What did you marry me for then?”
Al pops back, “I liked the challenge!”
Nancy replies, “He loves you MaryAnn.”
Al, “Fifty four years coming up!”
Both the Correas and the Litostanskys are happy with the sale. The Correas have a home and business to bring them out of their chaos, and the Litostanskys know their home is going to be cherished and kept well.
When asked what their plans were Al commented, “We don’t know where we’re going yet, but we will be near Lewiston. We have a place in Tuscan, Arizona where we will go while we build our home in Lewiston.
“It’s hard to find property but I have all my contractors lined up and we hope to find a place to put it soon. We will come back to a house made. I have some people I trust.”