By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is full of grand old houses, some of which don’t get the TLC they deserve. A Penn graduate student hopes her personal interest in one can bring it new life and use.

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The Conkling-Armstrong terra-cotta house sits on the 2200 block of West Tioga, vacant now. It’s a more than 4,000 square foot twin, built by business partners who apparently didn’t see enough of each other at work.
Penn historic preservation grad student Jennifer Robinson, who started a website on the house, was part of a work day over the weekend to take care of some of its many needs.

“It’s a long haul and it’s going to be a big investment of time, of energy and money,” she said. “There are so many people that care about this house, that care about this neighborhood. The residents are excited and just showing this part of Philadelphia that people haven’t forgotten them, that they’re important to us, is what drives me.”

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Robinson says fixing the roof is job one.

“Short-term, it needs to be water tight. The roof is pretty badly damaged and we are working on getting some estimates for a short-term reapir to the roof and as soon as that can be done we can start drying out the interior,” she said.

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Once the house is water-tight, it needs a steely-eyed evaluation of what can stay for the next chapter.

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