We completed our restoration of the Carriage House by securing and refinished stonework, continued clearing out of debris and such, sweeping, filling low spots with crushed concrete, building a gazebo and hanging solar lights in preparation for a reunion weekend. When our guests book the 5 guest rooms we can also provide the Carriage House for a small outdoor gathering space.
Since the United State deeded the property June 1, 1860 there has been the list of deed Grantee's (and many mortgages) consisting of John Wintter, Amanda Borders, Mr. and Mrs. John Shofe, JS Doolittle, Robert Cuthbart, UB Warren, Mary Brockett, Isaac Alexander, HG Davis, Charles Gregory (April, 1907), ED Wilson, Ruth and A Connor, Carl and Iva Cowley and beneficiaries Esther Haskell, Geraldine Arnold, Ruth Crofoot, Holdeman family, and then Kain Palermo in 1977.. Charles Gregory (built the home when he and Eliizabeth Carter Gregory were married (please see her picture on the website), but 20 years later he and his brother William had financial difficulties and these proceedings were finalized in May, 1929.
Charles and William came to Cottonwood Falls to operate a mercantile on Broadway which is currently the home of Tallgrass Antiques. Charles and William were two young men from New York and due to the tremendous quarry business, as public buildings and universities were being built. After the proceeding of 1929 this was possibly the home of the Connor and Cowley families, and then the Haskell family created apartments in the building in the 1940's. A number of current community residents remember visiting family or even living in the building.
According to 2017 personal visit with Elizabeth's great nephew and son of her sister the Carter family had a ranch east of town and her father was a doctor, and her grandfather a district judge appointed by Abraham Lincoln. Her nephew reported that Elizabeth relocated to Wichita and near her sister in the College Hill area at some point, but continued to enjoy the gardening and front porch gatherings of family and friends.
According to previous owner Jeanette, she and Kain proceeded to return the home to the original floor plan, requiring a careful deconstruction and construction of walls, stairways, and pantry. Much of this was stored in the basement and attic. All possible material was utilized in the renovations with all the possible oak gathered and utilized, doors, and painted trim work turned into furnishings for guestrooms. The original floors on the main and 2nd floor were sanded and restored. The entry hall stairway to the 2nd floor is believed to be the original. A matching stair to the attic was built by the previous owner. In 2017 attic windows were all replaced for better ventilation.
All other windows are original due to the storm windows built by Kain Palermo protecting them. In 2019, these were all taken down, cleaned and hung again, and the exterior trim work painted.
The original kitchen is located in the downstairs northwest corner where there is a chimney and an icebox window under the current patio, where I imagine an icebox stood. I believe there was a practice of somehow gathering ice for this purpose of keeping an icebox cool during the warmer months. The original sink located on the north wall did unfortunately did not survive when the water and sewage system were connected. Since my own great grandfather had an ice business I can imagine this a little bit. And, I believe an ice accident caused his death.
Putting the pieces back together has been an interesting puzzle. When we were in the trim work phase in the fall of 2016, I asked the carpenter to utilize the 2 pieces of beveled glass that were found leaning against the front window wall, to build a bookcase. He did a beautiful job building and finishing a new bookcase between front two windows of the living room.. Then the next Saturday, I was again downstairs going through the pile of doors leaning against the wall, and finally against the wall found an exact but wider but exact matching door, and so another bookcase was built utilizing this door.
I am very grateful for all the workers who have heeded the call and played a part in this process, of building, restoring, and hauling away excess material. There remains a storage room and attic of doors and wood that we plan to remove next winter, and so please come by to get some material for your next wood working project.
Writing this with weekly updates about what is happening at Spring Street and the places I love in the beautiful Flint Hills.