Planning for the 27th annual Leavenworth Vintage Homes Tour scheduled for Sunday, December 9, 2018, from 1pm to 6pm, begins in January of every year. Year-long planning ensures the much-anticipated tour offers a unique experience in the historic town of Leavenworth, the First City of Kansas.
TOUR HEADQUARTERS: Carroll Mansion Museum 1128 Fifth Avenue
The tradition of the Annual Leavenworth Vintage Homes Tour begins at tour headquarters, the Carroll Mansion Museum, home of the Leavenworth County Historical Society, that has served the community for over 60 years. In 1964, Miss Ella Carroll, the last of the Edward Carroll family to reside here, donated her 16-room Victorian home to the Society. The 50th anniversary of the opening of the home as a museum was celebrated in 2015.
While the home only saw four families in residence here, it was the Carroll family for whom it is named. They made it their home for 77 years and witnessed much of the history that occurred in Leavenworth.
When John Foster purchased the property in 1857 and built a 4-room farmhouse, the Missouri River marked the westernmost boundary of the United States. Ten years later, Foster doubled the size of the house and transformed it into a 2-story brick Italianate design. Depressed property values caused the family many hardships, so the house and surrounding 3 ½-acre tract of land were eventually sold to Lucien Scott, president of the First National Bank and considered then the wealthiest man in Kansas.
Scott transformed the Foster house into the Queen Anne Victorian mansion seen today. Elaborately carved woodwork and stained glass windows adorn many of the rooms, which are complimented by uniquely designed parquet flooring, fireplaces, grand mirrors, and exquisite architectural details. The Scotts entertained lavishly here, but their residence was brief and the property was sold to Edward Carroll in 1887. Mr. Carroll was also a banker and had served in the Kansas Legislature a number of years. Since that time, there has been minimal renovation to the structure, but it has been lovingly cared for and preserved over the years.
The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and today provides not only a step back in time to the Victorian Age in Leavenworth, but serves as a local research center and repository for early Leavenworth County history.
North Esplanade Street in this historic river town was formerly known as Main Street and runs north and south, beginning its upward slope at the levee near the downtown business and industrial districts.
The home at 317 N. Esplanade is in the North Esplanade Historic District, composed of fourteen residences on four contiguous blocks with a commanding view of the Missouri River and the park. The area between the Esplanade and the Missouri River bluff has always been a park, while the west side has always been a residential neighborhood.
North Esplanade Park was platted in 1854 as a city park, “The Esplanade”, and is considered the oldest city park in Kansas. The first houses built here for the workingman were relatively small, along with some boarding houses. Beginning in the 1860s, larger homes were built by a more prosperous class of people comprised of owners and managers of the developing commercial and industrial operations of Leavenworth.
The North Esplanade has always been a popular residential area because of its tranquility and quality residential neighborhood. The gracious two-story Victorian brick home featured on the tour was built circa 1875 for Col. Leroy G. Terry who came to Leavenworth with his wife, Anna, in the early 1850s. He was a prominent businessman, freighter and owner of a number of stage and omnibus lines in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Indian Territory. After his death in 1877, his wife took over the management of his businesses and resided here until her own death forty years later.
Exterior features of this historic home include a two-story bay window on the south side and a widow’s walk over the porch on the east. As one steps over the threshold, they are met with an open staircase in a spacious foyer. Also of interest are the butler’s pantry with built-in china cabinet, fireplaces, a sitting area at the top of the stairs for Eagle watching, and a cathedral-beamed ceiling in the family room.
In the territorial days of Leavenworth, many settlers of German ancestry came to Kansas from throughout the German-speaking world. They came for economic, political and religious reasons and consequently had an impact on Kansas entering the Union as a Free State. These settlers represented numerous religious denominations….Catholics, Evangelicals, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Jews–all who established German congregations here.
The church on the corner of 6th and Osage Streets, just across the street from what was then the first Jewish synagogue in Kansas (now the Temple Apartments), was actually established in 1858 as an Evangelical Association Church in a schoolhouse at Third and Delaware. Objecting to the pricey rent of $1.50 per week, plans were made to erect a sanctuary at 6th and Osage. The church was dedicated in 1862, offering services in German and stood for 50 years, becoming a landmark of the city.
By 1910 the church was identified as the Zion Evangelical Church. The present church structure, now known as the Trinity United Methodist Church, was built in the same location in 1912. The first organ was brought up the Missouri River from St. Louis. The church interior was remodeled in 1948 and a new pipe organ, made by the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, was installed in the spring of 1949. In 1946 the Evangelical Church merged with the United Brethren Church followed by another merger in 1968 with the United Methodist Church.
A unique feature of this century-old church are the 26 stained glass windows, dedicated to early German settlers and church members in Leavenworth. The west window depicts the Garden of Gethsemane (dedicated to H. Christina Trollman Reuter) and the east is Christ’s Ascension (dedicated to Arnold Schalker who emigrated from Cincinnati, Ohio in 1863 and who owned a bakery on Shawnee Street). The altar window was installed in 1962 and shows Christ in the Garden. It was given in honor of Albert and Kathryn Schrey, also bakery owners in Leavenworth for 30 years. A small window on the east is dedicated to Frederich, Sr. and Christina Barth, grandparents of Maj. Gen. George Bittman Barth at Fort Leavenworth. Frederich was a wagonmaker and wheelwright, who came to Leavenworth in 1856. More recent renovations include an access ramp, exterior brick tuck-pointing, and a Memorial Garden.
The Trinity United Methodist Church has served God and the community through many years as a permanent fixture on Sixth and Osage in historic Leavenworth.
The Colonial Revival home at 420 Arch with a classic center hall design is always a tour favorite. Built by Louis and Ada Vanderschmidt in 1921, the home was first featured on a Leavenworth homes tour in 1975. Mr. Vanderschmidt was a partner with William Small in the operation of a 3-story dry goods store on Delaware Street. Always the optimist and local booster, he had faith in the future of Leavenworth and the financial stability of the country. The Vanderschmidts had two children. Their daughter, Louise, later went into business with her father when they opened “Louise’s Dress Shop” which many older citizens will remember.
Other residents of the home were Judge Joseph Dawes, his wife Ruth, and their 8 children. Judge Dawes served as a district court judge and was later named probate judge of Leavenworth by Gov. Robert Docking.
Harry E. and Opal Smith, owners of the Smith Rexall Drugs at Fifth and Delaware, purchased the home in the mid-1950s and resided here for forty years. Their ownership was followed by Col. (Ret.) John and Emily Sapp who operated the Carriage House China Shop on Ottawa Street for a number of years.
In 1999, the Franks became the owners and have accomplished numerous remodeling projects over the years including the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, fence, and a custom cherry wood office. The family room fireplace is made from Kansas-produced bricks, collected by the Sapps and have identifying stamps. More recently, the west side porch was converted to a four-season room off the formal living room. Brick patios and walkways throughout the courtyard landscaping outside contribute to the overall aesthetic of this vintage home. The gardens were on this year’s Master Gardeners Spring Garden Tour.
The Franks have restored three vintage homes in Leavenworth, but this home has become their pride and joy and has been host to four weddings of their friends. The home often undergoes a facelift since Robin is an interior designer and owns Vision Interiors in Leavenworth.
North Broadway Street was designed to become one of Leavenworth’s premiere residential boulevards. Located in the 1858 Western Addition of Leavenworth, on the west side of the original town, its 80-foot wide street was considered among the widest thoroughfares laid out in the city during the 19th century. Large lots encouraged the building of bigger and more expensive homes with shot-gun style homes built on the cross streets. By 1865, when the majority of the grand homes had been built here, Leavenworth had five local brickyards, the Phoenix Foundry, a cast iron manufacturer, granite and limestone quarries, and lumber yards which enabled such building in a time when many settlers here lived in sod huts.
The home at 501 N. Broadway is described as a two-story, wood-shingle-sided frame “cottage” in the Queen Anne style with early Craftsman influences and bordered by a native stone retaining wall. It was built by Paul E. Havens, local banker, for his daughter Bess and her husband, D. R. Anthony II, in 1896 just prior to their marriage. The Havens’ grand Italianate/Classical Revival home (built in 1868) is located next door at the north end of the block.
Behind the home is the original carriage house that had room for three stalls for horses, a carriage, and an upstairs room for the groomsman. D. R. Anthony was the second of five generations of Anthonys in Leavenworth who owned and operated the Leavenworth Times for nearly 100 years. Visitors to the home included the sister of Col. Anthony, Susan B. Anthony, and President Howard D. Taft. Anthony served in the United States Congress and was Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He also managed the Leavenworth Times, the Anthony family farms and businesses.
Other occupants of the home included Dr. John Abel, a chiropractor who kept an office in the one-story addition of the house, and a ballet studio in the basement that was run by his wife.
The home, featuring hardwood floors and built-in cabinetry, has been remodeled in recent years, preserving many of the architectural details. The grand staircase upon entering the home is the focal point of the first floor.
Past residents and owners of the modified Queen Anne-style home on Marshall Street read like a Who’s Who of Leavenworth’s small business owners.
The home, built in 1899, was actually the second or third building on the site and is named for Dr. Samuel E. and Mary Johnston, who owned the property for twenty years, from 1898 to 1918. While an active participant in local and state dental associations, the local YMCA, and a deacon in the Congregational Church, Dr. Johnston is credited with being the founder and first president of the local Rotary Club. A quiet, reserved gentleman of the highest ideals, he labored earnestly for the success of the club and gave of himself unsparingly to that end. Mark and Katherine Gerges purchased the home in 2003. Mark, himself, is a current member and former president of the Leavenworth Rotary Club.
The earliest listing for the address, found recently in Leavenworth city directories, is that of Mrs. Alexander Harlow, dating back to 1882, with her five adult children. Her husband, who had fought in the Seminole Wars and against Gen. Sterling Price in the Civil War, had recently died. Prior to that, he worked as a gardener after serving as a county commissioner. The last of the Harlow family to reside here briefly was the youngest daughter Mabel after her marriage in 1895 in the house to Harry C. Varne, who manufactured hot air furnaces.
Other residents included William and Emma Goodjohn, owners of the Goodjohn Sash & Door Co. (1920-1935). The Goodjohn Company succeeded the Broadway Manufacturing Co., owned by A. A. Fenn and managed by Goodjohn. Albert and Polly Short, of the Short Title Co., resided here from 1935-1976. Albert served in World War I and was stationed with D. R. Anthony II (whose home is also on the tour) at the Artillery Officers Training School, Camp Taylor, Kentucky. Prior to the residence of the current owners, Robert Carlson resided here from 1979-1996 and was responsible for the stained glass windows installation. Don’t miss the leaded glass windows, second=floor transoms, carved newel post, and a recent extensive remodel, following a fire. Mark and Katherine Gerges have continued the tradition of preserving the history of this home, both inside and out.
“Scenes of Early Leavenworth & a Vision for the Future” Photo Exhibit at the Carnegie Arts Center Lofts
The Leavenworth County Historical Society at the Carroll Mansion Museum owns a significant collection of glass plate negatives taken by pioneer photographers in the early days of Leavenworth. Selected pieces from the collection, considered to be a national treasure, will be on display during this year’s tour at the Carnegie Arts Center Lofts.
Built in 1900 with funds donated by industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, the two-story brick and limestone building at 5th and Walnut Streets was the first Carnegie Library in Kansas and served in that capacity until 1987. The building then provided a home for the Arts Center until June of 2012. Since then the structure has undergone historic redevelopment and has been converted into residential living spaces by Exact Architects. It is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. While no apartments will be open for viewing during the tour, past visitors to the library/arts center will be able to see some of the changes made to preserve this historic building for years to come. Greenamyre Rentals are currently the management agency for the Carnegie.
On display in the central hall, photographs from the museum’s collections will be on exhibit. The collection is considered to be one of the rarest in the United States, depicting the building and growth of a Midwestern town covering a century of time. This is especially true for Leavenworth, the First City of Kansas. Images from the collection are quintessential reflections of life in the post-Civil War West and the time of western expansion. Paula Fleming, retired photo archivist for the Smithsonian Institute, has noted the significance, not only due to its documented history, but because of the exquisite detail that can be found in the early wet-plate negative process used in stereoscopic negatives. This type of negative, dating back to the 1860s and 1870s, is rare. Prints made from the collection are available for sale.
Architectural renderings will also be presented to convey the vision of the historical society in building an extension to the museum as an early Kansas history research center. The historical society has been collecting Leavenworth artifacts for over 60 years which will also be properly maintained and preserved in the new facility. Visitors from across the United States and around the world will be afforded an excellent overview of the history of the First City of Kansas along with handicap parking and accessibility.
Tour tickets are available November 1, for a donation of $15 prior to the tour and $20 on tour day by visiting the Carroll Mansion Museum, 1128 Fifth Avenue, Candle Queen, The Pot Rack, and the Leavenworth Antique Mall in downtown Leavenworth or Kelly Law Office in Tonganoxie. For on-line ticket sales and additional tour information, visit: http://leavenworthhistory.org/Tour_of_Homes.htm
The tour goes on regardless of weather and may be visited in any order.