1906 – Marshalltown, IA

Added to OHD on 2/24/12   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   137 Comments
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607 W Main St, Marshalltown, IA 50158

  • $60,000
  • 5 Bed
  • 4 Bath
  • 5017 Sq Ft
  • 0.56 Ac.
Unique 3 story home with 5 bedroom and a number of curved glass windows. Sell as is.

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137 Comments on 1906 – Marshalltown, IA

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  1. Tracy says: 93 comments

    Beautiful… Lot’s o’ work, tho…

  2. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    What a SIN it is to see what people do to these beautiful homes..what a bargin on this one. Oh how I wish I could.

  3. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    This is one of the most highly individualized unique houses I’ve seen on OHD. Thanks indeed for the photos, Pam. The interior has not been treated well. Looks like someone tried to partially strip some of the (oak) woodwork. Local author William Plymat in his VICTORIAN ARCHITECTURE OF IOWA book did not know what to make of this house describing it as “eclectic”. While by 1906 F.L. Wight was becoming famous for his new Prairie Style, other architects and builders around the country were experimenting with their own new design ideas to replace Victorian styles which were fading away at the time. I see some English Cotswold Cottage influences as well as Art Nouveau. Other aspects look like late Queen Anne as well as Colonial Revival. Whoever the architect or designer of this house was, he/she was thinking outside the box. I recall a smaller but somewhat similar cottage in St. Joseph, MO built I believe in the same year where a contemporary newspaper account said the new owners wanted an “English” style cottage.

    A patient and talented restorer could turn this house into a remarkable place. I love all of the curved walls, arches, nooks, and built ins. Those dropped in ceilings and cheap shag carpeting would have to go. The original floors look to be oak with patterned parquet flooring in the main public rooms downstairs. Pocket door hardware is interesting too with perhaps a nickel plating or even silverplate. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out those oval windows on either side of the fireplace originally had stained or beveled leaded glass. Thanks for sharing this unique house.

    • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

      Typo correction: “F.L. Wight” should be of course Frank Lloyd Wright.

    • Heather says: 13 comments

      I just saw this house in Victorian Architecture of Iowa! And I do mean *just* since it was yesterday! Maybe it was you, John, that brought the book up in a prior (recent-ish) post? It was because of the mention on OHD that I sought it from my local library system. I really enjoy the book!

    • Julie says: 106 comments

      I don’t think FLWright was known beyond Oak Park in 1906. His status of revolutionary architect did not spread beyond that area until much later. This house is perfectly in synch with others built at the same time. But yes! What a shame about that interior. I see lowered fake ceilings…UGH. I wish I lived in Iowa, I’d seriously think about purchasing this!

    • Donna Does-Gorsuch says: 2 comments

      I got to have a tour of thjis the other day. The previous owner lived there for 50 years! She liked PINK I guess. Ill trewll you more about my tour latrer. I live in Marshalltown, by the way. I rented a room in Willard Mansion freom 1990-1992. He renmted rooms to college girls…kind of like dorms. And this was the first time I had ever seen the interior of 607 W Main!

      • Donna Does-Gorsuch says: 2 comments

        HE SAID HE WOULD SELL IT FOR 40,000 TO SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE DEDICATED TO QUALITY RESTORATION OF THIS HOME . Thgis house, by the way…means a great deal to the people of Marshalltown. The owners of Willard Mansion (next door) offered him an amount of money for the property so that they could tear it down!!! Thank God he didnt. He would have been the most unpopular man in the entire county! Im so pleased he turned them down.

        • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5450 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1889 Eastlake Cottage
          Fort Worth, TX

          Hi Donna,
          Great to hear the Hatcher House remains standing. I think before anyone would consider buying it they would need to know what condition the house is currently in? (most of the comments are from 2012) I know the owner posted about a major amount of work being done (Plaster removal, sewer line replacement, jacking and leveling of floors) so the question now is what remains to be done? has drywall been put up in place of the removed plaster? Has the wiring been updated? Have changes been made to the house like reconfiguring rooms or removing walls-mention was made that some of the dropped ceilings have been taken down. In short, is the house a major work in progress or has it been mostly rehabbed? If its gutted and still needs major work then the initial $40K investment would just be a “down payment” on a rehab that could cost multiple times the selling price. I still think this is an architecturally intriguing house and, as you noted, a Marshalltown landmark.

          • Saxon says: 2 comments

            The exterior makes it look like it should be condemned. It has done nothing but go downhill for years, and the tornado didn’t help.

      • Do you know if Patrick still owns the house? I saw something about the house having major damage after the tornado and up for sale on a real estate website a while back. I went on the county accessors website and he and his wife are still listed as the deed holders. I LOVE that house and looked at it in 2004 when it was for sale but it needed way to much work for us, so we bought a house a few blocks away. We now live in Seattle but I always think of this house.

  4. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    I have all the love and imagination to make this beautiful again, just not the funds..that upstairs landing is so big..

  5. John C says: 434 comments

    Marshalltown justly takes civic pride in its heritage. See http://www.visitmarshalltown.com/leisure/self-guided.php

    This house is featured on its historic walking tour, where it is pictured in the brochure and described as follows:This home was built by Newton Carmean, a buggy manufacturer.
    The home has 16 rooms, 3 floors plus the basement and attic,
    with many curved windows and
    architectural features.

    Carmean became involved in the white slavery cases in the West. See Page 11 of The Evening Gazette, May 28, 1913, at http://newspaperarchive.com/the-evening-gazette/1913-05-28/page-11 The digitilized extract is:

    Newton A Carmean ef Marshalltown Now Awaiting Trial at Marshalltown Iowa May telegram received from California Is to the effect that has been cast in the white slave In- vestigation in which Millionaire by figures caught a former man and turer Newton A Carmean well known throughout this state aa a buggy manufacturer is In jail at Los An- geles pending awaiting his hearing In the court have been made against him by several young of whom are under 18 Ten of number have been held aa

    A 1914 obituary in “the Hub” mentions that he had been found guilty in California of contributing to the delinquincy of a minor (or minors), and sentenced to 13 years, but that he died of Bright’s Disease before beginning his 15 year sentence. The obituary stated that he had founded the Rhodes-Carmean buggy concern 25 years earlier, but that the company had failed 11 years previously. http://books.google.com/books?id=QXzmAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA349&lpg=PA349&dq=%22Newton+A+Carmean%22&source=bl&ots=uhUyX5hr94&sig=wE1MoG3GOzsEwcWP6346hX8cA_w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=W0hIT93PBsn6gge6u_CTDg&sqi=2&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Newton%20A%20Carmean%22&f=false

    THis house was at one point featured on oldhouses.com as an “Iowa gem”. Hotpad had it fetured at one point as a foreclosed property (HUD) at $45,000.

    None of this should deter anyone from buying the house, of course, but it raises one question: is the 1906 date really accurate? That date means that Carmean would have built the house three short years after his business failed, which really would have been an affront to the locality. Moreover, the obituary states that after the buggy business failed, he moved to Los Angeles to establish a carriage business — again, that would seem to make the 1906 date unlikely.

    If the building date is correct, I wonder if someone in the family other than himself built the house and then promptly died, leaving it to him but after he had already settled with his creditors in the area.

    Finally, if the date is anywhere nearly correct and if indeed it was built by this particular Carmean, what a house for careful study and measurement to see if there are secret hiding places and cubbyholes!

    • John C says: 434 comments

      I retract the statemetn about Hotpads and $45,000 foreclosure property — I had misread a reference to a house at 607 State Street, Marshalltown. My apologies!

  6. Mary says: 3 comments

    wow, so unusual!

  7. Heather says: 13 comments

    If we weren’t up to our eyeballs restoring our own Queen Anne, I would be all over this one. So, so unique.

  8. John C says: 434 comments

    Years earlier, following the failure of his business in Iowa, he was convicted of embezzlement, on a theory of responsibility of what others in the firm had done who were under his control. That, however, was reversed on appeal in 1905. http://books.google.com/books?id=z7UUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA291&lpg=PA291&dq=%22N+A++Carmean%22&source=bl&ots=4bmyE3LnSq&sig=yoeTIiQ7Sw9A9SCns-ZPcfd_xmg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ylJIT8XMHoOhsgKS0-TqCA&sqi=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false Thus, again, I urge that either Carmean was a very unusual man to erect a brand new and expensive home in Marshalltown in 1906 or, else, that the date was wrong or, finally, that someone else must have originally built it.

    Again, I think that this would be a wonderful house restored. I woujld imagine, knowing something of Iowa newspapers of the time, that his building or inheriting or using such a house would have received widespread comment. Perhaps details of the architect and builder and like details survive.

  9. Vickie says: 25 comments

    I love the heart shaped windows…but the colours inside..wow…give me a paintbrush please!

  10. scott says: 58 comments

    your unique house…well worth the money and a lot of elbow grease…

  11. Jim says: 5157 comments

    This house has some of the same odd-duck qualities of the very early work of Greene & Greene in California in the 1890’s. Even FLW experimented with keeping the massing of late Victorian houses while trying to reinvent the ornament. It would be hard to restore this to what the designer had in mind without original plans, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t pink.

  12. Kevin ONeill says: 155 comments

    Heavy “Shingle”design with a splash of “Beaux Arts” what a great house for the price of a used Range Rover !

  13. Bev says: 18 comments

    What a fantastic house this is! Oh, for the lottery winnings! ha ha

  14. Annette says: 11 comments

    I too love it, but can’t understand whoever took the pictures would have at least swept the floors.

    • John C says: 434 comments

      Of ccurse, for future generations such photographs document the impact of the foreclosure on the maintenance of the house. Too, if I understand correctly, the photographs were contributed by Pam, and represent her voluntary contribution to understanding the house — that is, Pam isn’t the seller or an agent. Thanks, Pam!

  15. toscar says: 46 comments


    It is a unique gem and deserves restoration.


  16. John C says: 434 comments

    When the Rhoades-Carmean company failed, it was deemed one of the largest carriage companies “in the West” by the San Francisco Call. The Call article mentions that creditors in San Francisco were involved. A Marshalltown bank was the largest known creditor at $40,000, but creditors were to be found around the country. See http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1902-09-20/ed-1/seq-9/;words=Buggy+Carmean (Digitilized text:
    MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa, Sept. 19.—
    The Jthoades-Carmean Buggy Company,
    one of the largest carriage concerns in
    the West, made an assignment to-day.
    A. A. -Moore nnd A. C. Price of this city
    were appointed assignees. There are
    about 100 creditors, including many East
    ern firms and Chicago banks and brokers.
    Assets, $266,568; liabilities, $212,263. The
    largest creditor is the Marshalltown State
    Bank, whose claim is $40,000.
    Carriage Manufacturers. Fail. )

    Teh March 23, 1903 Carroll Herald details that the Rhoades CArmean buggy company was already in the hands of its creditors, and closed. However, the creditors had decided to try to reopen the plant. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2288&dat=19030325&id=riEoAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hgUGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5418,4860177

    An (expired) ebay ad for a 1902 ad for a Rhoades-Carmean buggy can still be seen. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&item=330390591119&nma=true&rt=nc&si=85VVlCFQ1MDqhREvi20tCNwAxb8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

    The company Carmean founded in Los Angeles, the Carmean Buggy Company, is listed in several manufacturing directories, but I have found no further information.

    Does anyone know how one pronounces “Carmean” (in Marshalltown)? Carmine Texas was named after a local postmaster with the same name as the alleged builder of this house, Newton Carmean, who was so far as I can tell unrelated; however, that makes me wonder if “Carmean” was indeed pronounced as one might “Carmine”.

    • Tami says: 1 comments

      Patrick thank you so much for buying this property and restoring it. Such a beautiful house! As life long resident of Marshalltown, excited to see your finished product! Wish I had some history about your house to pass on to you but I don’t. You may want to check with the historical society of Marshalltown.

  17. John C says: 434 comments

    A very nice photograph of the exterior front can be found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carmean_House.jpg

    Another photograph, from an angle and with many appreciative comments, can be found at:

    Another frontal photograph with a comment that raises the question of whether locally this was known as the “Mowry house”. http://www.flickr.com/photos/megabn/339690326/

    A picture of this house on the side, with a focus on the house next door. http://www.flickr.com/photos/9606118@N05/3550788897/

  18. John C says: 434 comments

    Marshalltown designates the house as a landmark, and has a nice enlargeable photograph of it. See http://ci.marshalltown.ia.us/static/visitors/landmarks.php

    Is this house on the National Register, despite the alteration to apartments evident in the past (and in having four bathrooms?): see http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:National_Register_of_Historic_Places_in_Marshall_County,_Iowa and compare list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Marshall_County,_Iowa

    • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

      The City of Marshalltown website calls this a “Gothic Revival” style house; absolutely incorrect. It also shows the Mowry House as a towered Second Empire, not this one.

      • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 937 comments

        1901 Folk Victorian
        Chestatee, GA

        Thanks John C, didn’t know this was on the register.

        I noticed that too John S. I swore somewhere I had read this as a Queen Anne (and why even), but now I can’t find the site where I saw that. I know I saw some features of a few different styles, maybe I should change the style to Eclectic instead.

        • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

          The Carmean house is certainly not any pure “style” you’ll find in a guide to American houses. Eclectic is the best fit, IMO. Others have suggested French Chateauesque, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne. (I also threw in Art Nouveau, English Cottage, but as this house is a synthesis of details taken from several styles, Eclectic I believe is the best choice) It’s uniqueness contributes a lot to its appeal.

        • John C says: 434 comments

          Kelly, I saw one reference to it as on the National REgister, but I doubt that it is given the list I found elsewhere. I agree with the new owners it certainly deserves nomination.

  19. John C says: 434 comments

    Anyone thinking of buying this house might want to inform themselves of the plans regarding the 1910 Willard Mansion next door. Now off-market, at one point this seemed destined to be a B & B. See http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/14772989/609-W-Main-St-Marshalltown-IA/

  20. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    Clarification: My mention of FL Wright was NOT a comment on this property; it was merely a time-reference for what other architects were doing in 1906. But that too is probably a moot point…William Plymat, in his Vic. Architecture of Iowa book, dates the house to 1902. I lean towards that being an accurate date as by 1906 late Victorian complexity was almost universally being toned down in the direction of simplicity. (there’s nothing simple about this house) In fact, if it had been built a decade earlier, in 1892, it would have probably been a “wild” interpretation of the Queen Anne with turrets and towers and upstairs faux balconies all liberally plastered with scroll sawn ornament. Too bad the original owner did not die with an honorable reputation.

    Last, I enlarged the screen image size of the photo showing the two oval windows on either side of the mantel. I believe I discerned a wheel cut pattern in the glass. Assuming that is correct, these windows ARE original. Wheel cut, or mitre cut glass panes were very popular in the 1890’s and first few years of the 1900’s. Today, there are only a few craftspeople in the U.S. who have the skill and knowledge to replicate these panes. They charge by the square inch and it is not unusual for a replica ornate wheel cut pane to cost several thousand dollars to recreate. Here’s a photo I took of a c. 1895 mitre cut window in Bradford, PA (in the Mallory Mansion on Congress Street) a few years ago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11236515@N05/3566282303/in/set-72157618714282071

    John C., I hope by moving the construction date back to 1902 that accords better with the biographical narrative of Newton Carmean. In fact, putting two and two together, it appears the lavish expenditure by Carmean in building this mansion may have had a direct connection with the failure of his buggy business. Automobiles were still an expensive novelty until around 1910. It would be intriguing to learn the full history surrounding this unique house. Fully restored, it would be a wonderful architectural gem. (I’d love to work on the interior woodwork restoration myself) A full restoration would be costly, but few houses seen on OHD deserve it more.

  21. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    So many people on this site know so much. Has anyone ever heard of a TYPE of house called, the Vanderbuilt? Not THEE Vanderbuilts.

    • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments


      No, I haven’t heard of a “Vanderbuilt” type of house. Of course, if it were spelled like that it would be a play on words as the more famous (NY) family name is spelled Vanderbilt from the Dutch origins. Most likely, if such a type exists, it would be a local New York sub-type.

      • Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

        I may have spelled it wrong, I don’t remember now. I already contacted THEE Vanderbilts. N.Y. is where I am looking for this.

    • Heather says: 13 comments

      I think there was a Sears house kit called The Vanderbilt. I don’t have my Sears Houses book handy, but I’m fairly sure there’s one in there.

      • Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

        Really Heather? I will have to do some digging here I guess. Thanks.

        • John C says: 434 comments

          The whole Sears line was called the Honorbilt, I think. If you can’t find information about a Vanderbilt model, otherwise, you can contact Rose Thornton, the foremost authority about Sears homes still extant in the USA. She is to Sears homes what Kelly is to S.F. Barber homes. Rose’s e-mail address, which unbelievably she allows to be bandied about in order to be informed of Sears homes, is rosethornton@cox.net . She and Kelly are in a special archectural pantheon.

  22. Vickie says: 25 comments

    This is a cottage fit for the Queen of Hearts! The only thing I dislike about the exterior is the covered staircase to the second level when it was modified into apartments for rent. And the debris on the floor and throughout the house is reminescent of many rental properties I have seen after a tenant vacates abruptly. The more and more I look at this house the more I am completely in love with it and all it’s beautiful quirks curves and kinks.

  23. Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

    My wife and I just bought this house in Iowa and should close on it in a few weeks. I was at the library trying to find some information about the house. It appears that it was built in 1901 by Carmean but a picture of it in 1904 shows it was owned by Charles Hatcher who owned a real estate company in Marshalltown. We have been restoring a victorian in Vinton, Iowa for the past 4 years but I work in Marshalltown and have always admired the house. Hopefully we will have enough resources to restore the house to its original glory. My wife was was worried that if not restored it would eventually be demolished.

    The wood looks to be in great shape. The previous owners did try to strip the stairway and may have done some minor damage but it should be able to be repaired. You are right about the pink. Most of the interior is pink and blue.

    I wasn’t aware what had happened to Carmean and appreciate all of the links you provided. I do have additional pictures but am unsure how to post them on here. Any more information you may have would be welcome.

    I didn’t think the house was on the historical register but was planning on applying to have it listed there. It is very unique and deserves that distinction.

    This endeaver might take years and lots of work but will be fun to see the results.

    • Vickie says: 25 comments

      I love a happy ending! Congratulations!

    • John C says: 434 comments

      Patrick, Charles E Hatcher was described in one County history as a son of John Hatcher, and as follows:Charles E. Hatcher, a retired farmer living in Marshalltown,
      Iowa, married Lizzie Ballisberger. See the following for a full entry on the John Hatcher family:http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofpoweshi02park/historyofpoweshi02park_djvu.txt

      The following explains why Charles “came to town” and “retired” at such a young age. It is the obituary of his wife in 1902:
      “Died at her home in Malcom Thursday Jan. 127, Mrs. Charles Hatcher, at the age of 25 years and nine months.

      “Elizabeth Baltisberger was born April 1st 1876, daughter of Henry and Margarita Baltisberger. She has lived here all her life and was married Feb. 10,1899 to Charles Hatcher. They lived for two years on the farm near town, but failing health compelled their removal last year. A few weeks ago a necessary surgical operation reduced her vitality to the lowest ebb and Thursday the end came. Her remains were laid to rest on Sabbath day amid a large gathering of relatives and friends. The services were held at the home by Rev. Reinsch of the German church. She leaves a husband, mother, three sisters and four brothers to mourn for her besides a host of friends and other relatives.” (hand dated 1-22-1902 MR)

      (She is on the website as Lizzie b ca 1876, wife of Charles E. Hatcher.)

      The following gives you some more scraps regarding John F., etc:


      There were other Hatchers from in and around What Cheer, but I do not believe based on what I see that they are related.

      • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

        I did some research on Ancestery.com and found that the Charles hatcher you named above was a farmer who didn’t own the house. The Charles Hatcher who owned the home was a real estate agent who died at 47. The man who bought the home from him was Frank E. Northrup who owned the home for 3 decades. I found the son of the woman (Ms. jacobson) who bought the home from Mr. Northrup and lived there @ 50 years until passing away and spoke with him on the phone today. He says he has slides of the home and will send them to me via e-mail. Looking forward to seeing them.

        Thanks for your inputs.


    • John C says: 434 comments

      Also, Patrick your local genealogical group — or at least some member of it who actively subscribes to ancestory.com — should be able to give you the census information for who lived at that address in 1910, 1920 and 1930, another possible lead for photographs, documents, etc. I would suggest you also have them run a check on that block in the 1900 census and 1880 census– it may be that there were houses there before but some fire leveled them.

    • Sandy J says: 1 comments

      Patrick, I have lived in Marshalltown most of my life and have considered this “my” house since I was a child. I am so happy to hear that some one has purchased it to restore. I wish you and your family all the luck in the world for taking on this project. I hope you intend to live here once finished. You should at lease enjoy the fruits of your labor. Again GOOD LUCK!!

  24. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    Patrick, congratulations to you and your family for buying this unique house. It’s interesting that various construction dates of 1906, 1902, and now 1901 are being found. Surely there was an article about its construction in the local newspaper whenever that happened. (even more likely since Mr. Carmean was a prominent local businessman) For my own curiosity, I’d very much like to know who the architect was that designed this house because of its eclectic architectural qualities. Since you’ve spent 4 years restoring a house in Vinton, you obviously understand and appreciate that this kind of work is painstaking and cannot be accomplished overnight. This house has been neglected for sure, but not to the extent where a faithful restoration would be impossible. I’d hopefully wish as you begin your journey on the long road to restoration that you could post some photos showing before and after images as you make progress. Thank you very much for sharing the good news and I wish you great success with this enterprise. It seems you recognize that we are merely custodians of historic homes like this and we should do our part to take the house forward so our future generations can enjoy it. If any of us can be of help in finding information, please post here and let us know. Don’t know how much you are into old house blogging but the Carmean-Hatcher House is certainly worthy of one if you can find the time and are so inclined. Thanks again for the good news.

    • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments


      I am trying to do some research on the house but am not having too much luck on the internet. I found several photos and an etching from the library and historical society and it appears the house was once painted red with light trim. It also had several railings which were removed prior to 1940 that actually covered up the heart windows and some of the nicest features. I would really like to find some color pictures of both the interior and exterior to know more about its history. I will try to locate descendants of those who lived in the house find some personal photographs. I would appreciate any advice or information you may have on how to restore this house. I would like to pick colors that will bring out the different pieces of trim work which are often lost in the white. Everyone in marshalltown however loves this house and have always known it to be monochromatic white with a red roof and may not be as happy with a change. i intend to start with some foundation work but will need to pick a roof color becaus the garage roof needs replaced immediately and will do both at the same time.

      Thanks again


      • John C says: 434 comments

        Patrick, this exterior paint scheme is one of those things where people will differ. You and your wife have a wonderful house that cannot be tied to any one period or style; therefore abstract recommendations are likely to be wrong. You might see if there is anywhere that you can scrape or remove paint down to an original levelon the siding and then on a representative piece or two of trim. Sometimes stray shingles were tucked into the weirdest places as shims and the like, and if you could find a shingle — almost certainly a wooden one, that is stained — that might help considerably.

        On the other hand, just what sort of restoration do you want to do? Yes, you could go back to the original Carmean scheme of colors, but I think it is significant that everyone you have encountered remembers this as a monochromatic white. Of course that was and is cheaper, but there may be a very real reason for it/ Think of the backgroujnd. Here you had an amazing home built but and for one of the leading businessmen of the day who then fairly promptly failed in a way noticed around the nation. The local business community somehow institutes a charge that he embezzled, when it was clear that some employees embezzled and he never knew of or benefited from any such activity. After being convicted and then having his conviction set aside, he leaves for Los Angeles and starts over again. However, once there, he becomes old, ill and an anachornism, a carraige maker in an automobile age. Whether senile or not, he becomes involved with a 13 year old girl and is convicted but dies before beginning his sentence. At some point in this wild chain of events, whoever owned the house decided that this house did not need to be painted in high color schemes and did not need its trim and in particular did not need its heart-shaped windows picked out prominently. What someone chose instead was a chaste white color scheme and the sort of high red roof reminiscent of rura Canada. And If I had owned the house in, say, 1912-1920, that is what I would have done.

        Each to his own, of course. However, to me the significant period of the exterior are the long years in which, painted white and roofed red, this unique house lived down the reputation of its builder and first owner. That white and red roof scheme did that task well: in a small town, the fact that windows were heart shaped on a house owned by a man convicted in far off Los Angeles of statutory rape would have been a nine-day wonder. Just imagine the references a few years later when Fattie Arbuckle’s case hit the news in the 20s: “Oh, that is what they do out there, see that house with the heart-windows, son? You know, that house was built by ….. ”

        Very good, hardworking people have over years turned what would have been a lurid local curiosity into a respectable, beautiful home much loved in that town. My advice: honor their efforts and their color-choices. Those efforts and decisions have been crowned with success. Keep it white and red-roofed.

        Others here will differ. That is the fun of all this. The agonizing actual choices are things with which yhou and your wife will have to live. On the other hand, the achievements will be all yours, as well, along with the gratitude of everyone who cherishes this unique, wonderful home, whatever you do.

        • Tracy says: 93 comments

          Pat: As John alluded to in his comment, others might differ on the color choices and here I will offer my own uneducated opinion just to be a devil’s advocate. When you say that, “Everyone in marshalltown however loves this house and have always known it to be monochromatic white with a red roof…” one must be careful not to draw the conclusion that this house has therefore “always” been white with a red roof. It is true that in the memories of the locals it has been this way, but that timeline does not necessarily encompass the entire history of your new home. If we assume that 50 years of memories are what we are working with, what about the other 50?

          For example, even though we have lived in our home for 12 years now, everyone in my town knows our house to be the “Johnson Place.” There are two reasons for this: 1) The memories of a lot of people in town today only go back to the late 50s and early 60s, insofar as home ownership goes, and 2) because nearly all of the locals in town in their middle-age years took piano lessons in the basement from Mrs. Johnson.

          If I was ever to attempt to place the house in the Historical Registry and was compelled to give it a name, what would I choose? The Johnson’s? The Kruse’s who owned it for a decade or so before? The Paulson’s who owned it for several decades before that? Or the Kirschner’s who enlarged the original house into the Queen Anne everyone sees today? If I were to poll everyone in town, they would say it should be the Johnson house. But how does that speak to all the other families who have lived in the house and contributed to its history?

          All of that said, it’s ultimately your decision and personal choice to be made in the context of your community and desire to make the house your own.

          I’m so glad that someone who loves the house bought it and not some slum lord for the purposes of increasing his holdings. Congratulations!

      • John C says: 434 comments

        As far as photographs, etc, I’d suggest you run a small classified ad in the local newspaper asking for any memories, photographs, etc., and giving a phone number, along with an accompanying letter to the editor. If the ad and letter are run before Memorial Day, which is before many people “return home” to visit the elderly and decorate graves, you may be surprised at the results. Also contact the senior center, ask that the local history and genealogical society post requests in their newsletters and websites, and so on.

        When the Willard House was built so close next door, I rather suspect that some thought was given to setting off your house-to-be and the Willard House to be built to mutual advantage. Ask the present owners if they have any knowledge of architectural correspondence, early photographs, etc.

        If there are any families within two blocks who have remained in possession of their homes since, say, the 20s, contact them. Often famlies took pictures in front of other people’s homes: For example, on any given Easter there might be three flivers in front of their own home and so they walked up or down the street or around the block to where their own car was parked for the day or to where there was an open lawn.

        In one small town where I lived the contractor who had built my home in 1913 was long dead, and his children were long dead, but a competing contractor’s descendents were still alive and kicking with an often astonishing knowledge handed down of the travails of their grandfather’s competitors in building houses, decisions made, etc. I am thinking of a woman named Thelma in particular, as I sit here. You never know where such knowledge lodges, but such lore disappears when its possessor dies without passing anytning along.

        See about the WPA local historoy project in the 30s and oral histories, by the way.

      • John C says: 434 comments

        Another source of information may be the papers regarding the winding up of the buggy company. If you could find where the receiver’s papers might still exist, he might have had papers regarding the buiding of the house, if it was thought a possible asset. Too, if the person who sold Willard the land for his house was the real estate broker who by then owned the Carmean house, I wonder if there might be deed restrictions or correspondence regarding how the Carmean house was to be maintained. Finally, you mentioned railings covering up the heart windows: was there a balcony originally we no longer see?

        • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

          Thanks for all of the above replies.

          The millon dollar question is what type of restoration do we do. My wife prefers to make the house exactly what it was when it was built, ergo paint chip analysis, etc. My philosophy is to restore the house to the period and style because sometimes the original owners didn’t have the money or whatever when it was built. An etching I saw in the 1920’s shows the house red with a light porch. I wasn’t impressed with that color scheme and certainly didn’t like the 2 railings that I saw in a 1904 picture that covered up the heart windows and others details of the front. We have been restoring a Queen Anne which didn’t seem to offer too many puzzles. This house however is so unique that I want to do my research before plowing ahead to fast on some of the cosmetic questions. I have plenty to do to keep me busy in the interim. I am already drafting a letter to the paper as you suggested. Your inputs are welcome. keep them coming.

    • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

      I’m trying to find the architect now. I’m not sure it will be on the abstract but will keep digging. I intend on spending a day in the library and going through the microfiche for the entire year of 1901 to find mention of the house being built.



  25. John C says: 434 comments

    I agree with everything John said. Charles Eckman was the architect for the Willard Mansion next door and, several years later, the architect of the local school. I certainly believe that this house is worthy of restoration and worthy, too, of the Register, as it combines in a new synthesis at the time various styles. Congratulations to you and your family on a fine, fine home!

    • John C says: 434 comments

      I am tired from packing paintings. I merely meant that Eckman might be one to check out.

      One point I should mention. I believe that there are Carmean descendents — although I suspect not of any direct line — left there in the Marshalltown area. I reached that conclusion at about 7;00 this morning, when I ran across an obituary of someone in another city, who possibly was related to Newton A Carmean, which mentioned yet another relation of that man as being in Marshalltown. If I have offended or caused pain to anyone, I deeply regret it.

      You may, Patrick, want to be discreet and talk to people at the local genealogical society and the local historical socity very quietly before mentioning anything about Carmean’s later career. Too, except for the trial court’s rather odd belief that somehow a Rhoades-Carmean Company’s employees embezzlement could be imputed as a criminal law to Carmean, I know of nothing against CArmean’s character while there in Marshalltown. (And, of course, on appeal that distinctly odd view was rejected categorically by the courts.)

  26. Mary says: 3 comments

    Congratulations on this wonderful house! I’m no expert but think I would follow my own taste somewhat on exterior restoration and schemes. I’m in the process of nominating my house to the National Register, I named my 1884 octagon Holt House (before I ever thought of the nomination, just because I like names for places) after the original builder and owner. And it turns out they’re a pretty interesting family also, the same Holts that were involved in the Holt tractor, later merged to become Caterpillar, Inc. So I would lean toward naming it either after the builders or maybe even something completely different that speaks to the unique features.

  27. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    I just love this house and am so very much enjoying all the comments. Many people have lots of info and ideas. I would do so much with it if it were mine. Oh the fun I would have. Rip out all the carpet n drapes first. Remove all the junk, tosss it. Except for that brown table in the kitchen. That looks like it might be a keeper to use some where. Sweep all the floors then just stand back n take it all in. As for painting the outside? All that white hides so much of the charm of the house. It needs to be brought out with a contrasting color to do it justice. Then it will just pop in all its glory, glory that someone put into it as it was built. Congrats to you and your family. I am jealous. Will you be living in it also? Good luck and I am so anxious to see its progress.

    • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

      My wife and mother in law are antsy to get in there and clean the whole place. I’ve asked the owner if we could do that before taking possession but he hasn’t responded. We should close in 2-3 weeks anyway. I’m planning on removing all of the junk, fake ceilings, carpet, etc. before moving in. Will probably do some quick plaster repair and paint over the blue and pink so just so I don’t have a seizure or something as well (kidding). Am plannng on living in the house. I can work on a floor at a time which shouldn’t be too bad. I appreciate all of your comments.

      Pat McGill

      • Wendy says: 23 comments

        Pat, I LOVE YOUR NEW-OLD HOUSE!!! Congratulations and thank you for saving such a fan-freek’n-tastic treasure. Any thoughts to starting a blog to record your journey renovating this home? And if you already have one … please let us know where to find it.

        Kelly … is 64+ comments a record? What a fun read!

        • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 937 comments

          1901 Folk Victorian
          Chestatee, GA

          Yes, and this home has the most views in the fastest amount of time ever! Patrick is extraordinary lucky to have bought this house when he did, otherwise I don’t think it would have been on the market for much longer.

  28. scott says: 58 comments

    congratulations to Patrick and his family for purchasing this home and saving it from decline. I’ve never seen so many posts about one house… this is great! It is surely a one of a kind that is for sure. I think everyone here would be interested in reading about Patrick and his wife’s restoration… if there is time or inclination, please let us know as many of us would love to follow along…. Best of luck!

  29. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    As for paint: Color choices are always up to the homeowner except in a few local historic districts where paint schemes are subject to design review approval as appropriate to the period when the house was built. I agree that your house was probably painted originally in a number of colors. However, the wild Queen Anne Painted Ladies color schemes of the 1880’s and 1890’s (where sometimes a dozen or more colors were used) soon gave way in the early 1900’s to more subdued colors and fewer in number. Pastel Colonial Revival colors (often a Colonial Yellow with dark green shutters and cream or off white trim was very popular) replaced the Victorian era earth tones. You’ll find most original color palettes from the turn of the last century consisted of 2-4 colors, rarely more. To approximate the original colors, select an area to carefully strip under the porch where the paint was protected. Don’t be surprised if the first color over the bare wood is gray-green, that often was the primer color. (you may also find a layer of shellac on the bare wood which was used as a sealer coat) Almost always you’ll find window sash was painted in a dark color (dark red, dark green, dark gray, or even black) Trim and the body colors usually contrasted (but often were shades of the same color such as light green for the body and dark green for the trim or a reverse of the same combination) Special architectural details might use yet another color for accenting . Traditionally, if a house had stained glass windows, colors which harmonized with the stained glass colors were used.

    For more useful information, find a copy of VICTORIAN EXTERIOR DECORATION by Roger Moss. (and his wife Gail Caskey-Winkler) Not only does the book intelligently explain the philosophy behind Victorian era colors (right up until World War I) but has a color scheme selection chart of period colors with contemporary paint color names from the major paint companies (Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, etc.) Since this book has been in print for several decades, I’m certain one could find an acceptable used copy for under $10 on a site like half dot com. (owned by e-Bay) You probably know the EPA really tightened up hazardous lead paint regs a couple of years ago so that is also something else to keep in mind. Good luck with your project!

  30. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 937 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Updated the post to show the photos Patrick had.

  31. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    WOWZERS!!!!!!!!!!!! The new pictures are beyound what you would call a beautiful house..its amazing what they could do ‘back’ then. I am so jealous but happy for the new owners. Not only to have this gem, but to be able to live in it. And maybe pass down and keep in the family. What a special gift to give. What fun.

  32. toscar says: 46 comments


    My two cents worth….and it is worth just that…put all of the railings back even if they do cover the heart windows from the street. I bit the bullet and replaced all of the iron work on my 1887 mansard roofed brick victorian in Idaho that I restored 35 years ago, and it was literally the icing on the cake.


    • Kevin ONeill says: 155 comments

      I’ll add my two cents and now were almost at a nickel. I agree put it all back,as for the colors I’m still sticking to my “Shingle” style on this place having said that I would paint it varying shades of green (just two) with darker green trim,black sashes and black porch posts with small gold embellishments on the posts I would paint the swags black as well. The black porch posts would give it an “iron” look and feel. Just my opinion.
      For those of you keeping score at home. The home I was trying to buy in Minnestrista MN the “Caretakers Cottage” is so jammed up in tax court it could be months and months according to the realtor. I just got off the phone with him today and no offers will be taken because basically its owned by the state.
      I incorporated “Circa 1900 LLC” This is the name of my new business and I am currently building a web site. Hopefully I can paste a link here someday. Cheers Kevin

  33. John C says: 434 comments

    Patrick, as you see, you and your wife are very lucky to have found a home that even now gives so much pleasure to those who merely glimpse photographs. Every day you and your wife will come home with a feeling of pride and accomplishment at returning a very beautiful home to its capacity to bring dignity, charm and peace to the world. And thanks from all of us for the addtitional photographs and the information you ahve provided!

  34. John C says: 434 comments

    Although it wasn’t tagged with Marshalltown, this flickr photograph of the house received many comments showing how much the house is appreciated. The dark clouds behind the house in this picture set off the lines and clarity of the house very well.


  35. John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

    From Craig Bobby, a planbook design expert in Cleveland: “I wonder whose planbook this design comes from?? I have seen other examples of this design — maybe all less elaborate — all over the country. I wonder if it might be Herbert Chivers — the St. Louis architect with 1,000 designs in the one planbook recently reprinted by Dover publications. I definitely do not have the spare time to look through that planbook, again. ”

    I’m not as certain as Mr. Bobby is that other examples like this are “all over the country”. To me, this is a one-of-a-kind house. If this particular design does have a planbook origin, then the Marshalltown example was customized to the owner’s tastes. The added-on height of the columns on the front porch suggests a modification from the original design maybe to add height to the porch ceiling. The aforementioned large planbook by Herbert Chivers is available on Google Books for free read and download. House plans (1,000!) in Chiver’s book range from tiny worker’s cottages to elaborate mansions. I believe the planbook was originally published around 1901. I’ll post here if I run across a match.

  36. Cheryl L. says: 5 comments

    I am so happy that it sounds like you will take good care of this treasure! I wanted to buy it the last time it was for sale! But, we already are tied to another town, that we love. I called it “my house” and really just wanted to save it! How in the world did this poor house become so abused? It truly is a crime. I just found out it was up for sale again yesturday, called the realtor this morning, too late! I love this house! I really am thrilled that you seem to love it, too! If I can’t have it, boo-hoo, I wish you the best! Thank you for taking care of this one of a kind masterpiece! Warm regards, Cheryl

  37. kiwirach says: 11 comments

    and this is why i love American homes!. absolutely charming and beautiful. How lucky you are Patrick, and family, and how exciting this adventure must be.
    I’ll add my name to the chorus about considering a blog to record the progress.
    i’ll also say how fascinating its been to read all the comments about the history…..i dont usually read the comments here (sorry!), i just like to drool over the houses and wish…..from the rented space in the UK!.

  38. Jason says: 1 comments

    Sadly, this house is the same cost as mine. But SO MORE AWESOME! There’s a ton of potential, if someone lived there for 20 years or so, it could be awesome.

    I’d put a full air-to-air heat pump system on that complete with ductwork.

    It’s a lot of work. But I’d LOVE to do it!

  39. Pat McGill says: 15 comments

    I’m having the foundation inspected tomorrow. Crossing my fingers that t won’t require too much to repair. I know of one little area that needs work.

    I am trying to research the right roofing materials for that steep of a house. I need to do the garage right away so I will probably just do the garage in Certain teed Carriage house for now while I do more research.

    Any suggestions?


    Pat McGill

  40. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    http://www.old-village.com/ Here’s something I found the other day. Looked interesting for you people who are painting these old houses.

  41. Kenny says: 82 comments

    Patrick, What is all the sawdust about in that one bedroom?
    Do you plan on rewiring the house? Looks like it is in need of circuits to most rooms and the surface mtd outlets eliminated. Also do you know if the rear stairway was an addition. It does not look like part of the origiinal design eventhough the roof matl is the same etc. Is it possible that this was used as a boarding house at one time?
    I definitely like the window awnings and I think it would balance the house a little better if they were put back on.
    Please dont fret over the exterior colors. It will come to you eventually. I assume your question about the shingles is merely an aesthetic one. Technically speaking, it is more difficult to choose a shingle product with a low pitch roof. You would be fine with fiberglass, or wood shingles for that matter which are good on roofs up to a 12/12 pitch. I am assuming you just want to select the historically correct “profile”.

    When it comes to the foundation, if it aint broke dont fix it. Is there any cracking in the plaster on the inside of the house, or in the stone foundation itself? Have you been in the crawlspace?

    Also, for what is worth, I absolutely think the house looks better with the ballustraude on the third floor deck in the front of the hose, also with the ballustraude on the top of the wrap around porch and just as important, the front steps rebuilt with the returns to the sides as in the older photograph. I hope you can get to that in your restoration.

    If you need help with the restoration let me know.

    • Kevin ONeill says: 155 comments

      I dont think thats sawdust I think someone pulled up the carpeting and thats what remained of the pad they usually break down like that. When your doing the foundation make sure you are using a “Lime based morter” it will flex with your hot and cold weather cycles, just using a portland cement will cause your block to possibly crack. Go drive around and look at old brick homes that were repaired with cement lots of cracks and spalling.

    • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

      Kevin who replied below is right. That is the remants of the pad below the carpet. The hardwood floor looks to be in pretty good shape below.

      i am going to have to replace the roof of the porch becaause it looks like there were built in gutters that failed and there is an area of rotten wood in the center. I am planning on replacing the steps with the side returns at the same time. The railings on top of the porch will have to be done later.

      The garage has a lot of rotten wood at the edges of the roof. The way it flattens out at the edges I wonder if those were Yankee gutters that someone roofed over. I need to do more research on how to repair those built in gutters.


      • Kenny says: 82 comments

        Take a look at This Old House – How to repair Yankee Gutters in 5 steps
        (online). If they are indeed Yankee (built-in) gutters. Traditional Roofing Magazine online is another source.

        Glad to hear about the stair step side returns.

        The repairs you mention should be fairly straightfoward. Do you have experience with this type work?

        • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

          Not really. I am originally from California and bought several homes but usually watched them being built. The oldest home was 5 years. I moved to Iowa 5 years ago and bought an 1880 victorian but it was in really good shape structurally and I have just been stripping and painting and other minor repairs. I have been doing a lot of research and forums like this and others are great.

          Thanks for all of your suggestions.

          Pat McGill

        • John Shiflet says: 5450 comments

          The flared roof ends on the garage are a stylistic detail. If you look around and see other early 1900’s houses you’ll probably notice this “Pagoda” flared type hipped roof form. They were especially common on Foursquare type houses from this period. The drop-beveled or “novelty” siding is also characteristic of the early 1900’s. There is a possibility you’ll find evidence of yankee gutting, but more likely you’ll not. By the way, this is an exceptionally nice early 20th century carriage house. In many ways, it is just as interesting as the main house and compliments it.

          As for roofing materials, I made a major mistake and reroofed with (western red) cedar shingles which I dipped in a linseed oil based stain. After one year, the protective effects of the stain went away and now over a decade later, the oldest area reroofed is showing lots of wear and tear. I did experiment with painting some shingles a dark red (oil based primer with Benj. Moore exterior latex-“Country Redwood”) and have found them to be holding up extremely well a decade later. But that is a LOT of prep work and if I had to do it over again, (and probably will sooner than later) I’d go now with quality architectural profile asphalt shingles (Timberlines) and would not likely live long enough to see the need for their replacement. Certainteed’s “Carriage House Shangle” (their spelling) is also a good choice and can be combined with contrasting colored 3-tab asphalts for a genuine Victorian decorative effect. However, after 1900, such colorful patterned roofs were becoming rare.

          Last, folks keep mentioning the enclosed back stairs. They are almost certainly NOT original but were required by fire code as a quick escape (in a fire emergency) required locally for rental use. I’ve seen dozens of old houses with exterior second or third floor escape stairs often made of iron which can be lowered or raised as required. Original back staircases, often called “servants staircases”, were almost always built inside the house and usually come down from the second or third floor into or near the kitchen. The household cook could rise early and silently use them to go prepare breakfast for the family before they had gotten out of bed.

  42. Teri says: 1 comments

    Pat we are neighbors I can see your new house from my yard. I am so glad someone is going to restore it correctly! Our house is from as best as I can tell 1871, records do not seem to have been kept very well. We too are restoring our house which had been cut into two apartments since the 1960’s. There is an older couple who hang out at the historical society they appear to know everything or know where to find it. Go see them! Also Don Short used to own your home, you may already know about him, but if not he owns an architectural salvage store and may be able to get what you are missing.

  43. Gail says: 1 comments

    John is right about color being up to the homeowner. You can buy any paint and any color. But I have discovered that pigment is also importand. Being an artist I learned a little about pigment and color in college. Pigments, particularly Natural Earth Pigments, in paints would be the colors used in historic houses. Modern day paints are made with tint bases and universal tints. Universal tints and man made chemical colors. I love Old Village Paints made in Pennsylvania! They are an old company that dates back like 200 years and still makes paint with e Natural Earth pigments! That also don’t use tint bases. Every color is made I batches. Like a batch of cookies. And they contain a heavy pigment content! So it truly does cover in one coat! I love to work with this paint as an artist and architectural painter as it is like artist quality paint in a can! Old-village.com

    • john c says: 434 comments

      Gail, your comment revived a lot of memories of a local paint company here in Chicago that made the paint up using pigments in front of you. They closed when the government stopped the use of oil. I didn’t know anyone still did that.

      However, I wondered if anyone following OHD has had experience with stains. Some years back I torched off the paint on my home’s exterior, sanded it down with a clapboard sander, and then used a Sherwin Williams solid (plastic) stain. The reason was to avoid having to scrape, etc., in the future, and so far that has worked. I painted with the stain about 11 years and then re-stained three years ago without much work. (When I stained eleven years ago, I was also worried about dew-points in the walls, where I was also blowing in insulation, so I made sure I bent thin-wall copper pipes to make air-whistles and installed them in the clapboard about every 20 square feet or so.) I have been very satisfied and have been complimented on my “paint” choices in terms of color and durability. I was willing to sacrifice the sheen or gloss of paint.
      How do others feel about the use of stains?

      (Kelly, if you think this is an inappropriate use of the forum and that I should direct my query elsewhere, go ahead and delete. I put it here because I have so much respect for your followers. I understand you don’t want to make this another version of a how-to blog already available elsewhere.)

  44. Cheryl L. says: 5 comments

    I am sure I am not the only one out here that would love to see the progress on this wonderful home! I am so happy that it is being loved again! If you have the time, a follow up report would be great. Thanks so much! You will make so many people happy!

    • scott says: 58 comments

      i’ve thought about that house every now and then and how they are coming along… if they ever started a blog they would have a few hundred followers… it is such a unique house.

    • Patrick McGill says: 15 comments

      Things are going well here at the house. Crazy but well. We have pictures of what we have been doing and have been thinking about posting some of them in the near future. We have dumped over 40,000 pounds of trash from the house: rotten plaster and lath, old pipes, etc.

      some accomplishemnts:

      we just replaced the entire sewer line out to the clean out and have nearly replumbed the whole house .
      have trenched out to the garage and have power there
      have gotten poiwer up to the attic (100 amps)and have started rewiring the third floor from there
      have jacked up the basement and are in the process of leveling the flors
      have removed most of the fake ceilings and cleaning up the plaster
      have removed the shower i n the first floor bathroom and reframed it for a toilet so a sink will fit in there

      among many other projects in process, repairing leaded windows, removing bad plaster, rewiring rooms, etc.

      I have to cut this short to go to work but am pleased that there is interest in the house. I will try to post some pictures. I do have a lot of questions that maybe some of you can help me with as well.


      Pat McGill

  45. Linda says: 73 comments

    I can’t wait, sounds so exciting..

  46. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    I’ve been an admirer of this beautiful house since I lived in a house on State St. Our back yards touched. Please include me if you do a “news letter”. You’ve made my day!

  47. Saxon MacLeod says: 2 comments

    Pat, I grew up in Marshalltown, and I am one more person who loved this house from the beginning. Horrifying to see the pictures at the beginning of this page, and glad to know that it is being taken care of.
    For my two cents, I would beg you to keep it white. I live in California now, but this house (if I ever ended up catching it while it was for sale, you lucky bastard) will get me to move back before I am old. It wouldn’t have that pull if it wasn’t what we all remember, and it is largely the people of Marshalltown and central Iowa that are the market for resale. You can make it ‘just like’ the first time it was built, and get it on a registry, but it’s value is ultimately in the people who live in and around it. I think it should be beautiful, and comfortable, and wall to wall oak (love that!)
    Look forward to the photos.

  48. says: 5 comments

    Good morning to all of you, like me, who are anxious for news on this wonderful house. I hope this holiday season is magical for you and yours. I would be thrilled to hear any new tidbit of info on the progress of this beautiful home. If you care to share, I thank you. I will keep watching, and hoping. Seasons Greeting!

  49. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Any new news?? We just drove by on Easter Sunday. Still a beautiful home.

    • auntiec says: 5 comments

      Hey Jim, happy to hear any news at all about this house. It has been such a long time, I am wondering if it looks like they have got anything done. There is so much to do, what did you see just passing by. Thanks for sharing!

  50. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Some repairs on the outside (temporary), and the garage had some “fix-ups” on the doors.
    This isn’t your website , is it? But I’m glad for any feed back. So-o owners, Bless you and your “project”, good luck, auntiec and I are still interested. jc

    • pat mcgill says: 15 comments

      yeah our insurance company made us do those temporary repairs before they would insure the house.

      The garage we had to fix because it was falling down.

  51. patrick mcgill says: 15 comments

    Thanks for the nice comments.

    Most of the work has been done on the inside. We hauled off over 60,000 pounds of trash over the past year.

    What has slowed us down somwewhat is that we are finishing a restoration in Vinton that we were working on and hopefully it will be done this summer.

    Multiple projects are ongoing. We had the heart shaped windows and another in the downstairs bathroom repaired as they were falling apart due to water damage. Luckily he was able to save all of the glass.

    have replumbed the entire house and rewired about 2/3 of it. Trying to keep the bathrooms and lighting as close to ,period as possible. Using push button switches, antique lighting and sinks etc.Just bought victorian tile to do the first floor and 2nd floor bathroom.

    installed a furnace in the 3rd floor and tore out the fake walls that were covering the dormer windows. Made a much larger bathroom and kitchen to go with the large bedroom and living room on the 3rd floor.

    leveling floors slowly.

    Just replaced 5 doors in the second floor hallway that we faux painted to match the original. We had one door to copy as they painted the others with about 5 coats the last being a horrible pink.

    Gutted the kitchen and now getting ready to put it back together. Bought some old victorian built in cabinets from a victorian in Indiana and a beautiful etched window from a different home that we are going to put in.

    Multiple projects, framing, stripping, staining,painting, etc. ongoing.

    Hope to get to the gutters, garage, and porch sometime withoin the next year.

    This house will take years to finish but hopefully you will see changes on the outside before too long.



  52. auntiec says: 5 comments

    Thank you for the new info! Bless your hearts for being such incredibly hard workers. I am happy to hear that the house is healing. Nice to have it on it’s way to full health. Love to hear your story. Thanks again.

  53. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Good Job. The further you go, the further you’ve got to go. You’ll have a wonderful home, and some mighty memories. Bless you, and your HOUSE!! jc

  54. Kathy S says: 1 comments

    I have been in love with this house since 1978, I would have given anything to have owned it, restored it and live in it forever. I even thought about buying it once but it was out of my price range to own and restore. I am so happy someone is taking the time and love to restore this beautiful old home. I guess a dream of mine is to live in this old house some day. Enjoy every moment you get to be in this old house, it really is a gift to Marshalltown and me.

  55. pauli says: 1 comments

    Julie, there are several Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Marshalltown. And yes, we looked at the house when it was for sale in 2004, and it looked a lot better. The garden, that had been lovingly tended by the former owner, well into her 90’s, with period and very rare plants was stripped barren in a day and we were so sorry that the new owner did not care enough to keep it up. At that point, we also feared for the interior of the “grande Dame”. It is known all over town as “the house with the heartshaped windows” .

  56. PDJ says: 1 comments

    While visiting the Willard Mansion last summer, I was intrigued by this house. The heart shaped windows are very special. I’m glad that they were able to salvage the glass. From the reading above, I see that you’ve focused on the inside first. It certainly was in state of disrepair! It’s good you have a few photos to match up the original. I’ll be visiting Marshalltown again next year and look forward to seeing your progress. Thank you for the updates and I look forward to any photos that you may post.

  57. Mary k says: 1 comments

    We are so glad you are renovating this house. We own a house just down the street from you. It was built in 1914 and it was a duplex when we bought it. we had to move both staircases, entrances, kitchen…it was a labor of love. we have lived in our home for 28 years now and we are making changes again! love it! come spring we may walk down and introduce ourselves and give you lots of encouragement! good luck and carry on !!

  58. Danielle P says: 1 comments

    I ride by this house on my bike everyday on my way to work. I love seeing all the work going on. I almost walked up there on day to knock and ask if I could see haha. I have always loved this house growing up and so happy to see it being restored. I’m 29 and really want to see history be preserved in this town. Growing up I lived In am 100 year old Victorian house in gladbrook so these types of places have a special place in my heart.That’s why I love riding Main Street and imaging what life was like back in the 1900’s. Keep up the great work and hope to see some more photos.
    P.s. I think you should pain it back to its original red. Forget what others have to say in town.

  59. Linda Omoletski says: 73 comments

    You should go up and ask, you never know till you try. They just may say yes..how cool would that be?

  60. Pamela Siemsen says: 46 comments

    My husband & I bought the home 604 West Main Street directly across the street from this beautiful home. I am so happy you are fixing it, We love our home & when we look out we see this one. When the weather gets better for walking Kevin & I plan to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. We moved into our home late December 2013 & still have much to do. I am excited for you all too.
    Your new neighbors across the street.

  61. Patrick McGill says: 15 comments


    You are welcome to knock on the door anytime. The house is still a construction zone though and if you wait a few months you will see a big difference. Am putting the finishing touches on the downstairs bathroom now. As far as the paint, it won’t be red but it won’t be white either. We workewd out a color scheme with a professor who specializes in victorian painting.

  62. Pat McGill says: 15 comments

    I have a couple of rooms I should have done in a month or so. I will post some then.


  63. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Happy New Year! Forge on, it’ll be worth it many times over, for many, many years to come. Patiently awaiting photos. WOW!! jc

  64. Steve says: 1 comments

    Hello – first time poster – just wondering if you had any pictures of this beautiful remodel?

  65. susan mecca urbanczyk says: 1127 comments

    Want to see the home too!!!

  66. Mona says: 19 comments

    I have been reading all about your beautiful house all afternoon, and was so hoping to find new pics before I got to the end. PLEASE post new pics!! We are all dying of suspense! 🙂

  67. C. Nazworthy says: 1 comments

    I grew up in that house at 607 West Main Street, Marshalltown, Iowa. Lot of loving fond memories were made there in that beautiful home. My grandmother, Gaynelle Jacobson, loved that house with all her heart! So did I. Hated to see it leave our family.

  68. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Well, what’s it gonna be, pictures, or pounding nails? Seems some bodies want more pictures. But, some bodies gotta measure twice, & cut once! More decisions. You’ve found the right home, and I suspect you’ll make everybody happy when it rises from it’s remodel cocoon. Hammer & saw, hammer & saw. {;-) jc

  69. Mona says: 19 comments

    Awww, that is AWESOME C. Nazworthy! Do you by chance have any old photos of the inside and/or outside of the home that you can share here with us, to get a better idea as to what it looked like back when you lived there?

  70. Joseph Hager says: 1 comments

    Wow! So sad it became a rental property and got trashed! I hope the new owners give it the time, money, and inspiration that it deserves. So much is special about this house!

  71. Dani says: 1 comments

    Did anyone ever post updated pictures?? I would love to see how it all turned out. Maybe I will stop by next week and say hi. The story is so intriguing!

  72. Jim Cook says: 7 comments

    Still a Queen. I drive by every time I’m in town. Keep hammering and sawing. The house says “Thank You”, and Keep the Faith!. 😉 jc

  73. Cal says: 2 comments

    Designed by local architect, Frank Crocker. Contract let, April 6, 1901

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