Tickets are still available for next week’s annual Candlelight Homes Tour, a fundraiser for the Leavenworth County Historical Society.
Now in its 21st year, the tour will give viewers a peak into the interior of some of the county’s historic houses. There are a total of five homes on the tour this year, in addition to the Carroll Mansion, home of the Historical Society, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School.
According to information from Mary Ann Brown of the LCHS, the tour began as a fundraiser for the organization in June 1961 as part of a celebration of the centennial of Kansas statehood. The proceeds from that first tour, according to Brown, were to help establish a museum in Leavenworth, a campaign that resulted in the Carroll Mansion.
Since then the historical society and the Vintage Homes Society of Leavenworth have presented the tour and rotated the buildings featured on it. The list usually includes a number of residences, the Carroll Mansion and one other non-residential building, all decorated for the holidays. Bobbie Bower, part of the organizing committee for the tour this year, said there are
some surprises, even for those who have been before.
“We’re very excited about the tour,” she said. “We’re excited about some of the homes this year, some of which have never been on the tour before.”
In particular, Bower said the committee was excited to be able to showcase the upstairs and downstairs of the former Skyview Supper Club, 504 Grand Ave., which she said could prompt memories for longtime residents of the city.
This year’s tour will be from 1 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and is dedicated to the memory of former director Joanie Kocab.
The homes on the tour this year, with descriptions courtesy the Leavenworth County Historical Society, include:
- The Bogner Home, 1300 Second Ave.: This house was built in 1877 on land originally owned by Gen. John Adams Halderman, a lawyer who came to Kansas Territory in 1854. He was the private secretary to the territory’s first governor, Andrew Reeder, and later was elected as Leavenworth County’s first probate judge. Subsequent owners of the property included a German immigrant, carpenters and builders, prior to the 50-year residence of John and Louise Crume. The wood frame house features the traditional Victorian two-story front window nook and expansive porch. The brick pedestals and columns are in keeping with neighboring homes that face an adjacent park. The house remained vacant for 10 years while the Kaminski family completely renovated it with new woodwork complimenting old, tongue and groove ceilings, and period light fixtures throughout the house.
- The Dawes-Frank Home, 420 Arch St.: This Colonial Revival home, dating from about 1910, has a center hall design. It was built by Louis Vanderschmidt, a local merchant. The home then passed to Judge Joseph Dawes, to whom the house is dedicated. Other previous owners include Louis Smith of Smith’s Rexall Drug Store and retired Col. John and Emily Sapp. Emily Sapp owned and operated the Carriage House Gift Shop in Leavenworth for many years. Retired Lt. Col. Robert and Robin Frank purchased the home in 1999 and have undertaken many remodeling projects over the years including the kitchen, three bathrooms, the garage, fencing, fireplaces and a custom cherry office by local craftsmen Roger White and Mike Fulmer. The Franks’ latest project has been to convert the western side porch from a screened room to a four season room off of the formal living room.
Page 2 of 3 - - The Deane Home, 219 Pine St.: This circa-1914 Craftsman-style house with brick veneer on the first story and wood-shingle on the second story features a hip roof with a hipped roof ventilation dormer. The front porch has a gabled roof and is constructed of irregular red and vitrified brown brick with square-section pillars linked by a brick railing with a concrete coping. A bay window rises on the west with a trapezoid-plan. The batten shutters have candle cut-outs. Between 2000 and 2005, a new bathroom was added to the master bedroom, complete with a claw-foot bathtub to fit with the house’s historical motif. Additionally, carpeting was removed and the original hardwood floor was restored throughout a majority of the house. Over the years, the house has gained an international flavor with an antique chandelier in the dining room from Prague and radiator covers made from a repurposed Japanese wood carving.
- South Broadway Guest House, 700 S. Broadway: The circa 1870 South Broadway Guest House is a two story Victorian-era house of brick construction, with a wrap-around porch. The house was once the home of the B. C. Clark family, a wholesale merchant on Delaware Street. In 1915, Hubert Tullock purchased the home for his family. He was president of Leavenworth Savings and Trust Company. Purchasing the home in 1965, Robert and Eileen Welch lived there for more than 40 years. In November 2011, the Derezinskis purchased the home and began major renovations, giving the home new life. Holiday breads will be offered for sale at this location.
- The Kem House, 504 Grand Ave.: This Victorian mansion was built in 1892 for the Frederick Wulfekuhler family. A German native immigrating to this country in 1855 at the age of 14, Wulfehuhler entered employment with Rohfling and Company, which outfitted settlers moving west and shipped buffalo hides east. Later the company was exclusively a wholesale grocery business. The 10-room house is of brick with double-walled construction. Originally it was situated on two acres with an apple orchard and grape arbor. The estate was sold to the Pritchett family in 1950, who opened the Skyview Supper Club there that same year. The Niemanns purchased the restaurant in 1976 and built a reputation as the place to go for celebrating special occasions in Leavenworth. Three years ago, the Kems purchased this home as a single residential dwelling. Architectural features of the house include four original tiled fireplaces, tin ceilings in the upper and main hallways, an oak staircase, and stained glass windows in the front entry.
- St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Seventh and Miami streets: St. Paul Lutheran Church was chartered in March 1862. The present church was dedicated in 1911 and is actually the third structure for the congregation at this location. The current building was designed by local architect William P. Feth, and constructed by R. F. Yoakum. It is of the Romanesque style using red vitrified brick and cut Phoenix stone. The foundational work, as well as the finishing work, exemplifies the capable artisans present in Leavenworth. Highlights of the church include the flooring, altar with gold leaf trim, decorative elements of oil and fresco, opalescent art glass memorial windows and the circular oak pews. The large stained glass window on the north depicting the angels’ proclamation of the savior’s birth was selected and photographed by Hallmark Cards, Inc. for use as a Christmas card in 1982. More than a half million copies were made. During its 101 years of existence, the current church building has undergone numerous renovations and a few additions. The congregation is also celebrating the 150th anniversary of their church this year. St. Paul Lutheran School, built in 1937 and located across the street, is also part of the tour.
Page 3 of 3 - - Carroll Mansion, 1128 Fifth Ave.: A well-preserved Victorian home, the Carroll Mansion was home to five families from 1857 to 1975 before it was donated by Ella Carroll to the Leavenworth County Historical Society as a museum. This year the museum is featuring four local musical groups: Recorder Consort, Don and Mim Carlson, and the Heritage Singers, from noon to 6 p.m. on tour day. Special tour exhibits throughout the museum will feature treasures representing local historical residents, such as an antique collection of men’s shaving mugs, vintage photos, quilts, D.R. Anthony, local newspaper magnate, family heirlooms, and a representation of vintage clothing. The Victorian Shoppe at the museum will offer an assortment of unique gifts and Christmas items during the tour hours. Also available in the Victorian kitchen are homemade holiday breads for purchase.
Tour tickets are available for $12 in advance or $17 the day of the tour at the museum by calling 913-682-7759 or stopping by 1128 Fifth Ave., or at Ginny’s Antiques, June’s Cottage, Candle Queen, 5th Avenue Frames, Dormail, Ashers, The Pot Rack, and the Leavenworth Antique Mall. Ticket purchases on tour day may be made at the museum or any of the homes on the tour.