1880 Italianate – Abilene, KS

SOLD / Archived Post
National Register
Added to OHD on 3/9/15   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   Comments Closed

106 N Vine St, Abilene, KS 67410

  • $405,000
  • Sold for $395,000
  • 5 Bed
  • 3.5 Bath
  • 10105 Sq Ft
  • 0.91 Ac.
Honored as one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation... The Incomparable Historic Lebold Mansion!The stately Italianate mansion is located near the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Family Home in Historic Abilene, Kansas, this magnificent 23-room Victorian Mansion was built in 1880 & has been professionally & authentically restored. Many updates by current owners. Hand painted & papered decorative ceilings, exquisite formal draperies, gold crown moulding, beautiful hardwood inlaid floors, original gilded bronze hardware throughout & more. Featured in national magazines & listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elegant vestibule introduces you through double doors w/ etched glass & original woodwork. The focal point of the stair hall is an elaborate walnut newel post w/ gas source for lamp; Gorgeous original parquet wood flooring; Rich wallpapered walls & ceilings & gold crown molding. Library: Exquisite historic restoration w/ elaborate papered ceiling; Ornamental fireplace and Gold crown molding. Front Parlor: Restored in the Renaissance Revival style w/ Scalamandre wall paper (Scalamandre textiles have been used for numerous historical restorations including the White House & William Randolph Hearst?s castle, San Simeon) 10? windows & original pocket doors; Access from entry hall though double doors; Original wood floors; Pennsylvania Dutch stencil adorns the ceiling in the front parlor. Majestic back parlor/music room features an ornamental fireplace, stunning inlaid wood floors & a spacious bay window. Adorned in the French style, with a breathtaking hand painted mural ceiling & a dramatic chandelier gives it a palatial effect. Meticulously restored in Greek Revival style the formal dining room has rich hand-painted Lincrusta wall paper, Gold crown molding & opulent chandelier; Easy access to large kitchen & back parlor for entertaining; Renovated half bath w/ new sink & faucet. Elaborate detail of the formal dining room ceiling is stunning w/ masterful hand painted medallion & gold accents. Beautifully renovated kitchen w/ one antique stove/oven; Ornate tile flooring; New door w/ ornate glass in entry from formal dining; New walk-in pantry and Access to enclosed back porch. The upper level encompasses amazing original woodwork design atop the grand staircase. Spacious main hall landing w/ access to four/five large bedrooms, master bath, dressing/sitting room & tower room/study. The grand master suite boasts luxurious carpeting, oversized closet, & a spacious sitting/dressing room w/ wonderful morning sunlight. The gentleman?s bedroom is appointed w/ ornate cornices, rich tapestries & open to sitting room/ possible 5th bedroom. Boys nursery has an oversized closet; Girls nursery has a built-in wardrobe; Both nurseries convenient to children?s bath. Upper level now features a new bath with antique claw-foot tub, tile flooring, new sink , toilet & fixtures, wainscoting & is convenient to bedrooms. Distinctive design features include unique limestone façade, awe-inspiring 5-story tower w/ breathtaking views of the plains & the city & porte-cochere. Expansive grounds w/ ornamental iron fencing. Oversized detached three-car garage.
Contact Information
Linda B. Weis, Weis Real Estate,
(785) 313-0567
OHD Notes
12/13/19 Edit: Back on the market.

State: | Region: | Associated Styles or Type:
Period & Associated Styles: , | Misc: ,

60 Comments on 1880 Italianate – Abilene, KS

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  1. Scott CunninghamScott Cunningham says: 397 comments
    1856 Tudor (fmr Victorian)
    Leavenworth , KS

    Impressive!! A well built, well maintained, and well loved home. I love the ceiling wallpaper, but the excessive frilly wall wallpaper selection is a bit much for my tastes. In any case, its still a very impressive home. Lets hope the new owner treats it as well as the previous ones.

  2. lara janelara jane says: 465 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Whoa. Like… Whoa.

    This is so over-the-top and lavish that I’d never feel comfortable (except maybe in the kitchen [those STOVES!] or bathroom or laundry 🙂 ) but man, I can certainly appreciate the splendor and beauty!

    It’s perhaps not the ideal location for a big dream house, and the lot is on the small side for this square footage, but the yard and fence are very pretty.

  3. Polished Hippy says: 57 comments

    Truly amazing restoration. A high-end house with a vintage kitchen installed? I’m impressed. That stove is phenomenal.

  4. Erin says: 13 comments

    The stoves!!! Magic Chef 6300’s if I’m not mistaken. (my dream stove) 1930’s era. I believe they run between 8 to 18K each. They have two!!! I’m super jealous of this kitchen….

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 7675 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      So cool. Actually they are late model 1000’s from the mid 30’s. A lefty and a righty suuure do look super groovy butt up together. I believe they were marketed as “The Milicent” model – Hehehe. Very collectible and very expensive in fully restored condition.

      Some reeeeally great electrified gasoliers in this house. Wonder if the decorators installed those or if they came with the place. The simple kitchen model is my favorite. I’m getting a real “Giant”, “Benedict house” vibe from the place. Must be the EPIC porte cochere, or maybe it’s those meaty arches upstairs. So many great features here. Would be very grateful for basement, attic, and (sigh) tower shots of this fine specimen. Yummy..



      Such a great film. I know Stevens had the “house” built as a prop, but for me, as a kid seeing the film for the first time, I was in love; (with the house too 😉

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 7675 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        OK; so I’m pretty sure the white and brown cabinet thingy in the sewing room shown in the last frame is a wood burning stove. It is probably European, probably French, most likely made to be used in a dining room, with the doors to the side containing racks for food warming, (similar to the radiator models), and MIGHT be “Godin”. I’m not convinced though as I can only find one attribution on the internet, and that entry is very generalized and does not provide specifics or specific detail images of the stove cited. It may be an imitator of Godin, but the quality seems nearly equal, (just from the pic), and I can’t rule it out; [it’s driving me nuts].. Aneehoo, here is the, (limited), article I found: http://www.antique-antiques.com/antique-stoves.shtml Really, I can’t say whether the stove in this house, or the one cited in the article are truly Godin. If anyone in OHDland knows anything about these stoves, PLEASE COMMENT.. THX 🙂

  5. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    Welcome back Kelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow, incredible house. I have been by it many times (Abilene is an hour from where I live).

    I would buy the place just for the kitchen. Zounds!

  6. Baltimorean says: 19 comments

    Kitchen drool. Stoves! Sink! Possum-belly baking table!

    Also…those beds are gorgeous.

  7. says: 453 comments

    I’d scrape off all that old fashioned wallpaper, slap a coat of white paint on that woodwork, and install some wall to wall shag carpet, and it’ll be good to go.

    J.K it’s really beautifully preserved.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12797 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Ryan! THE Ryan?!

      • says: 453 comments

        LOL Yup, I am close to having my own interweb access again. But I think I broke my new laptop already, so….

        • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12797 comments

          1901 Folk Victorian
          Chestatee, GA

          A number of people have asked about you, hope you’ve not broke your laptop already!

    • lara janelara jane says: 465 comments
      OHD Supporter

      No way! Could it be?!?! I hope there’s a thrilling tale behind your absence!

      • Melissa says: 234 comments

        Oh! I hope you are around forever – or at least a while! I have enjoyed your posts!!

        Welcome back, Kelly!!!

  8. Robb H says: 186 comments

    I can’t believe this place is back on the market. I believe it just sold a year or two ago. I may have the file still on this house.

    • L Mayo says: 12 comments

      time flies —we actually sold to the current owner/seller in Sept 2010 — at that point the Lebold reverted to a private residence —

      we were the last of 3 owners who worked on restoring the house while sharing/touring the house with the public — the current owners have continued the restoration and no doubt the next owners will find their own way to contribute to the continued restoration of this incredible property —

      as they say many hands make light work and the work has been very rewarding —

      Kurt & Kathy Kessinger started the early restoration in 1972 & got the house listed on the national register —- they also offered the 1st tours

      Fred & Merle Vahsholtz did the next extensive phase of restoration starting in 1976 — the tours continued until Merle’s death — at which point her children sold the home to our company Victorian Interiors Restoration Service in 2000 —

      Our restoration concept was to use the many rooms of the Lebold to illustrate the evolving & changing tastes throughout what we now call the Victorian era —
      to that end each room was appointed with artifacts & furnishings contemporary to a different era — patrons who toured the mansion enjoyed a walk thru decorating time and Abilene history —

      several issues of Victorian Homes Magazine & Victorian Decorating/Lifestyles featured the Lebold under the stewardship of both the Vahsholz family and ourselves —- check these out for a glimpse at the various incarnations of this
      remarkable house —

      • JeffL says: 1 comments

        Hello: I am Jeff LeBold. My great grandfather built the LeBold Mansion. We are coming to Kansas this month. I have been trying to get in touch with the realtor, but haven’t gotten a word back yet. I toured the mansion when the Vahsholz owned it. I would like to show it to my children. Do you happen to know who owns it now and how to best get in touch with them? Thank you for any help with this.

  9. KarenB says: 348 comments

    Very well maintained home and many fine details. However, to my taste so many of the fine details are overlooked because of “victorian more is better” way of decorating. I truly enjoyed and appreciated the exquisite ceilings. I’m certain the house is a fine well preserved example of the era just not my cup of tea!

  10. Chris says: 40 comments

    Overall a beautiful house. For me, the highlights are the exquisite ceilings and that AWESOME kitchen with it’s sink & stoves, the laundry room (watch your fingers on the wringer!). Could use a good detailing and polish on the woodwork, but I think that comes with actually living in a house rather than keeping it as a museum piece.

  11. John Shiflet says: 5916 comments

    The LeBold mansion has been a local landmark in Abilene, Kansas since its completion in the 1880’s. (a small dugout room in the basement is said to date even further back) Fast forward to the late 1990’s and San Francisco decorators and Victorian Decorative Arts storeowners Gary Yaschulk and Larkin Mayo headed to the Midwest looking for a house worthy of their talents and to install their inventory of authentic Victorian decorative arts products. After looking at one candidate in St. Joseph, MO (the Hax Mansion) they settled on the Lebold mansion in Abilene. The results of their interior work on the LeBold mansion were published in several magazines, including VICTORIAN HOMES. It’s appears the ownership may have passed from the talented decorators (wonder where they are now?) and is for sale again. One should keep in mind the over-the-top interior details were made to turn the entire houses into a showplace of their talents but such a house originally would have probably had fewer rich touches. Victorians, even those with ample budgets, would usually spend the bulk of their decorating budget on the “Public” rooms downstairs. (entry hall, parlor(s), dining room, library) That makes sense because in a typical Victorian era household only family members and servants were allowed upstairs. Often salesmen and other unannounced visitors would be confined to the entry hall or deliveries would be made at the back of the house near the kitchen.
    But given the objectives of the talented decorator couple, their artistic touch is seen throughout this grand home. Few original houses of this period were ever so lavish throughout and future owners might want to tone down some details. (keeping in mind that some of the hand-printed wallpapers were very costly) In any case, if one is not into “High Victorian” decor, this is probably not a good choice. My tastes are in the “more IS more” category so I can appreciate the total look but otherwise would want it to more accurately reflect the period. It’s a unique house in many ways.

  12. RossRoss says: 2457 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    This house presents an interesting preservation dilemma.

    The owner lavished great expense in papering most of the rooms. Yet their selections will appeal to only a very small minority of buyers.

    If I were interested in this house, I might not make an offer because it would feel kinda criminal to remove most/all the expensive paper.

    The kitchen is my favorite room, in part, because it is not papered.

    • JimHJimH says: 5764 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Ross, if your point was that the recent wallpaper is inappropriate and unattractive, I agree! Seems a good example of the Painted Lady esthetic making its way into the interior.

      • TimothyTimothy says: 140 comments

        The wallpaper does come across as being a little bit overwhelming. I personally prefer a less vibrant choice. But for some reason the owners never contacted me for my input… 🙂

    • L Mayo says: 12 comments

      hi Ross — remember then as now paper is a temporary occupant of the old house — its why the wallpaper sandwich is so thick in most old houses — you should never let the last owners temporary taste impact your decision to buy — its replaceable and or removable and of the moment — and as such should be ignored —

      the house was papered to suit its use as a decorative arts museum — the rooms were each done in a different style to illustrate the var ious design movements of the era — much like the rooms at the Met — each was filled with corresponding furnishings drapes lighting & artifacts — all no longer present —

      you are correct that it was expensive — paper ranged in price from 65 to 325 per roll —papers are all historic reproductions from most of the hand-printers operating while we owned the Lebold — nearly all are no longer in production —

      while many posters find the papers overwhelming they are both period appropriate and in their documentary colors — what we find unattractive today was the norm at the Lebold’s inception — if you are able save the photos & change them to black & white you will be amazed that they look exactly like historic interior photos of the period —

      Interesting side note the paperless kitchen is the one room that saw wallpaper thru out most design periods —at 1880 the kitchen would have looked much as laundry room photo looks —sanitary tile paper above a wood wainscot paint on the upper wall and paper or tin on the ceiling —

      BTW looked at the link to your Emporia house —Wow what beauty —hope you are making great progress – Regards –L Mayo

      • says: 102 comments

        Well I LOVE the wallpaper! It’s very busy, and busy with the carpets, but it just works! I think all I would take out is the wooden couch with the black leather and those chairs at the kitchen table. Everything just works for me, together. I LOVE this! I also LOVE LOVE LOVE that carpet (the pinkyred with the flowers). Oh wait! One more thing! I would put a lighter colored runner down the stairs to try to lighten the entryway a little. And I have SO many knickknacks I would put around! Limoges and Haviland, and I would go out BEGGING for some Dresden shepherdesses to put around (don’t have any of them, alas)! Sigh! I LOVE Victorian (along with almost everything else)! Absolutely beautiful and stunning work on this one. (My late cousin was married to a Lebold, but don’t know where he was from.) Oh, and I almost forgot! I don’t think I saw a ceiling fan in the whole place!

        • Michelle Garvin says: 27 comments

          I love it, too. The stuff in the entry foyer is not my absolute favorite, but it is okay. The rest of it is amazing. And that linoleum rug is to die for. I could be very at home in this. The only way it’d be better is if it was on an acreage, with a big red barn.

  13. MW says: 947 comments

    Man, I think looking at the huge number of various finishes all mixed together, while extradorinaiy and quite admirable, was about to send me into a seizure. But then the sight of the more sedate kitchen and those kick ass stoves brought me back to my senses. Again, the restoration work looks quite stunning and admirable. But, for myself, it might literally be a bit stunning. Not sure I could live in that on a daily basis. Still, seems like a heck of a lot of house for the money.

  14. Robb H says: 186 comments

    There are a lot of pictures on the Internet if you just do a general search of Lebold mansion or house. I am still looking for my folder on this house.

  15. Marcia AmesMarcia Ames says: 23 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Oh My Heart! I think I’m in love. Time for that lottery ticket……………

  16. Paul W says: 464 comments

    This is an example of creating a high end “homage” to the gilded age of Victorian design and willing to lose money at the end of the day. There is absolutely no way you could duplicate this home for the asking price. There is a 150K in the chandelier’s alone in this house. I mean the Thackara 2 light in the kitchen is a 4000.00 light when you can find one on Ebay.

    Its a prime example of make your money one the coasts, move to the Midwest, restore a not-bad-to-start-with mansion that would easily have cost them 3-4 mil in San Francisco even back in the late 90’s if you could find a house this size, do exactly what you want, the way you want and live in period “gilded age” Victoriana.

    Make no mistake, this house would be millions in most major cities and there is the rub, you can do the restoration you want, but getting what you really put into it is impossible to do. It’s hard to place a “value” however on living in a house done exactly the way you want it, and wake up every morning transported to the Victorian era.

    Unfortunately, there are not enough people out there who can afford to do this, because, as we all know, there are many houses sitting languishing, that will never be restored, much less brought to this level of Victorian design.

    I can only hope the next owner, appreciates it as much.

    • Scott Cunningham says: 397 comments

      Paul, you bring up great points. This whole old house thing is not something to be approached as an investment opportunity. It’s more of a lifestyle you buy into. No, you won’t get your 100% of your money back in many cases, but who cares. To get to live in a place like this is an amazing opportunity that old home adficianados jump at and enjoy.

  17. Mel says: 2 comments

    I just came here to gawk at the stove! In love

  18. Cody H says: 133 comments

    Although all the different wallpapers detract from the overall appeal from this house, I don’t think that the patterns are to blame…I think what confuses and disrupts the flow the most is that they used multiple patterns and layers in almost every room. I mean, does EVERY public room have to have a dado, a fill pattern, a frieze, AND complex, multi-pattern ceiling treatment? I definitely think we could all agree on no in this particular case. The rooms with only one pattern on the wall and a single ceiling treatment are more visually appealing than the ‘onion’ rooms. Décor flaws aside, this is an otherwise fabulous high style Victorian mansion that I’m sure any one of us on OHD would be happy to own. Absolutely stunning. I was flabbergasted.

    • L Mayo says: 12 comments

      Hi Cody — no they don’t –IN SOME CASES — and in this particular case the front parlor was done in the earliest style no border full unbroken wall stenciled ceiling — the music room was done to the mid 80s dados were in use & ours was used to defray the cost of the wall fill which was 325 per roll w/ a 42″ repeat if memory serves (the 65 per roll dado allowed us to save about 2000) and that allowed more money to go to the painted ceiling canvas which is a replica of an early wallpaper ceiling set–
      entry hall was papered in the style of the late 90s so no dado
      dining room has a lincrusta dado typical of the period —
      most bedrooms full drop walls w/ companion frz again typical of the times
      the Turkish & Asian rooms had them as was usual in those styles —

      when the house operated as a museum the impact of the papers was quite different as all the rooms had massive cabinet pieces and much art on the walls —historically wallpaper was never seen unbroken as you see it in these photos —

      hope this offers you some insight into our thought process —Regards L Mayo

  19. TimothyTimothy says: 140 comments

    In the vintage photo (picture #2), what is the circular object on the back of the roof? Is it actually on the house or simply something in the background that appears in the picture?

    • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      …obviously, a UFO.

      • TimothyTimothy says: 140 comments

        Hi Ross! I can count on you to give me a chuckle!

        • RossRoss says: 2457 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
          Emporia, KS

          OK. So, MAYBE it is not a UFO.


          Another possibility?

          The OIQ (object in question) could be a windmill.


          Windmills were common in Kansas (and other states) and pulled water from the ground. This was vital in an age before piped-in water became the norm.

          That said, the OIQ does not look like any windmill I am familiar with, so…a UFO seems more likely.

    • JimHJimH says: 5764 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Yup it’s a windmill, probably 100 feet behind the house on a high mast, with a long exposure time that turns the spinning blades into a disk.

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 7675 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      Having been born in 1970, I well remember the days of the original satellite TV dishes; those huge, cumbersome suckers seemingly everyone had overnight for the free HBO n such. That, and the vinyl basement windows kinda ruin the old timey effect of the image. Hehehe..

  20. David Hazekamp says: 74 comments

    Some great comments here on this Italianate which I have always thought was fabulous for the Italianate design! It makes me chuckle about the definition of the interior ie: high end Victorian, Victorian more is better, talented decorators, expensive used several times. I have seen many period Victorian homes that were decorated lavishly and some were done on a budget and were period in design. I believe parts of the interior would have been great but how it was pulled together with the outcome looking as what the others state as over the top, more is better etc. is actually an insult to the design and decorated style of the Victorian period. Looks more like a Bordello then a actual elite aristocrat’s home of the times. I have heard of these designers unfortunately this is not one of my favorites. I remember the layout in Victorian Homes. I was somewhat disappointed. I love the focus on the stove’s and the chandeliers which are great! Sad though that there not about the actual home. The staircase is one of my favorites. Kelly you are amazing. I wait for this in my emails everyday!

  21. Paul W says: 464 comments

    David, I think its a question of ones “design ethic”. I do not know if you have seen this home before Gary and Larkin got it. The prior restoration was probably more ‘accurate’ to the original design ethic of the house. Ultimately, however, it is the owners house and they determine its direction on restoration.

    My personal view is, that I let the house take me where it needs to go. Sometimes an old house “surprises” me with things under layers of paint or wallpapers I didn’t know were there. Such was the case with the Nagele-Merz house in Cincinnati. I never expected to find period Neo-Grec stencil work in, what at first glance, would appear to be a nice but simple second empire cottage. It was only after I found it that I found out the whole neighborhood had been weekend cottages of some of the wealthiest families and they lavished a great deal of attention on their “cottage” interiors as they did with their large mansions in town that I understood why, what I found, was there. My only reasonable choice was to restore it that way, since I consider we are all but “temporary stewards” of our homes and we should try to preserve things of critical historic significance. It was not the path I planned originally, but the house dictated where it needed to go.

    I will be spending a lot of my summer meticulously restoring a parlor with a Persian inspired hand painted and stenciled room that is in a color that I personally do not care for. However, my goal is to restore it. To do anything else would be like going into a museum and painting over a mid day sky because I thought it would look better as a sunset and that artist should have done it that way.

    Restoration to me, is finding out what is there and going with it, but if there is nothing there and nothing in terms of photos or recounted history to guide you, then you base on trying to be “period”. Now one can argue that these interpretations are “over the top” with this house ( and they are), but the juxtaposition of papers in this fashion is well documented in historic photo’s of other higher end houses.

    Of course at the end of the day the owner personal taste plays a lot into the final result . Tiffany did some interiors that personally I was not a big fan of, but, I appreciate their design ethic and often when working for a client you are dealing with their sense of design and at best you can but “steer” them in what you feel might be a more suitable direction.

    • David says: 74 comments

      Paul, You have no argument from me. I understand ” period ” and ” purest “. I just don’t agree with it pertaining to this lovely home. It seems such a waste for all that money spent that it turned out like this. As you stated it is a manner of opinion and what the owners want. I have been in the retail end of the furniture and antiques business for over 35 years myself and have worked with several decorators through the years. It doesn’t always mean that they do a great job just because they call themselves decorators. I hope the next owners do some restoration that will meet the requirements of what this grand home deserves. As stated Bordello has never been one of my favorite looks.

    • Scott Cunningham says: 397 comments

      Paul, I think you have hit on something. Homes are to be decorated according to the tastes of the owners. Some will be purists and insist on authenticity. Others view their homes as a canvas on which to create based on what they enjoy. I tend to find myself a bit in the middle. While I enjoy themes or period styles, I have no obligation to follow them blindly. I have a big place that used to be a Victorian but wa converted to a tudor. I’m comfortable integrating in aspect of both style. On this home they obviously embraced the high Victorian style and went all out for it. Some may find it excessive and busy, but others may love it. To each his own.

  22. Robin Wells says: 4 comments

    Nothing exceeds like excess. Beautifully done, and a good reminder of why the pendulum swung to Arts and Crafts.

  23. Kim Wallace says: 1 comments

    This house had its most recent complete restoration done by Fred and Merle Vahsholtz. They bought it in 1975 when it was a total wreck and condemned by local authorities. This was a retirement project for the Vahsholtz’s. After one year the house was open for tours. Of course work continued for many years on completing the project; for that matter, when is there ever a completion date! My Great-Aunt, Joan Gatewood restored the Pennsylvania Dutch stencil in the music room.Mrs Lebold came from Pennsylvania. As more information came to light, revisions where always in the making. This was restored as a family home but as authentically as possible given it was the the 1970’s and information was scarce. Over time many facts came to light including pictures of the mansion over subsequent years.
    This restoration was much more modest as it was a home to be lived in but still authentic enough to be registered on the Register of Historic Houses. It was a popular destination for tourists by appointment only. As a granddaughter, I and many other relatives gave numerous tours over the years.
    The stone is the original color as quarried as can be seen in the many local homes of the same stone. And that is a windmill behind the house. For pictures and a comprehensive background of the house and its role in Abilene history you can read about it in a book “Mansion of Dreams” by Carolyn McKinney and Robert Vahsholtz. It is available in the Abilene library or can be purchased through kingmidgetswest.com for $25 plus shipping. Remember the house was used as a showroom for clients looking to buy the wallpaper by the gentlemen that bought the mansion after Mrs Vasholtz’s death. It would be a shame to change that wallpaper but is extravagant for the Kansas prairie! I am lucky to have the memories of its simpler days.

    • JimHJimH says: 5764 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Kim, thanks for the restoration story and Bravo! to your grandparents for preserving this piece of local history. Hopefully the house will still be standing a hundred years from now and its chapter as a wallpaper showroom will be long forgotten, though some may be debating what’s original and what’s not.

    • Tammy Krassy says: 2 comments

      Hi Cuz!!!
      I am wallowing in the nostalgia of summers at Grandma’s house giving tours of the mansion. I love what they’ve done to “my” room. Mixed feelings about the kitchen though – great tile, cool stoves and sink but it looks cold and sterile. And really, that stair case should never be photographed without a grand or great grand child parading down it in one of the old wedding dresses from the attic.

      A shout out for Merle Vahsholtz, a great dame who took that complete wreck that had been divided into a warren of efficiency apartments and brought it back to grace. Since then, her gem sure has been polished and gaudied up but I think she would approve.

  24. Tommy says: 442 comments

    I’d leave it just as it is, buy a red velour smoking jacket, a box of Cuban stogies ( I don’t smoke), a good quantity of Port and a girlfriend named Evangeline and live out my days in sensuous luxury… oh yeah, Tommy Q

  25. Paul W says: 464 comments

    Mr. Mayo, Good to know that your talents are still out there and your are still doing some client work. I had an opportunity to see your SF store back in the day and was truly a “kid in a candy store experience” for me.

    You are right about one thing , creating period interiors is more difficult. There are ‘decorative painters’ out there, but only a handful understand period technique and materials, and how to get it right. We plan on later this year to start a workshop program to teach some of this, as this information is ‘getting lost’ again.

    In our own period inferior’s business we find we pretty much have to do it all, drapes, upholstery, stenciling, not to mention hand replication of plaster details and decorative arts restoration.

    Credit where credit is due you paved the way on the Revival of Historic period interiors, not just in SF but across the country. For that you are heroes in the preservation field.

    Glad to know you are still out there.

  26. says: 1 comments

    They also used to give daily tours through there. I went through there several years ago. It is a beautiful place. Abilene, Kansas has several beautiful old homes. The Seeley Mansion being one of them. another one was turned in to a restaurant and burned a few years ago.

  27. Larry Bradshaw says: 1 comments

    Hello there! I’ve read the many comments and I’m grateful for your insight and personal feelings regarding this jewel of a Victorian. Having just retired from university teaching design and drawing and color, I found this place and I am still in awe! There is nothing I would change as it hits all the marks as a designer. I’m truly in love as my sensibilities as an artist has always dealt with pattern. Pattern is great! This is my dream home!

    • L mayo says: 12 comments

      Hi Larry — glad you like the work thats 4 generations of owners 1972 to present — perhaps you can be the next caretaker to continue the preservation — we were the caretakers from 2000 to 2010 — its an amazing home at an amazing price considering the structure & the condition — I’m sure the home would welcome your interest & attention —L Mayo

  28. Robb H says: 186 comments

    I had the chance to visit this beautiful property last week as we were considering possibly purchasing this property as my new employer is based out of the area. All I can say is what you see in the pictures are not what you will see today. The house still has all of its wallpaper but is now minus some of the chandeliers as the past owner took some with them when they moved. The kitchen no longer has any of the stoves. The landscaping was very neglected/overgrown. The one side of the house needs paint and some wood is missing. The house is not being properly temperature controlled. It was warm/humid in the house. I am hoping it will not effect the beautiful wallpaper. The basement has a strong mold/mildew odor to it as no dehumidifiers appear to be running. There was an original to the house dresser in the basement that had mold on it. I so love this house and I do hope that someone will soon come and purchase it as it is beautiful. We could have made it beautiful and restored the grounds and did the much needed upkeep outside but there were other elements that concerned us so we most likely will be passing on this house. A great house with some great restoration.

  29. Scott Cunningham says: 397 comments

    Great justification to put in an offer well below the asking price….

  30. Nanc scholl says: 1 comments

    This is a beautiful old house that disperately needs someone to live in it. No house should be left un-lived in. Although the decor may not be what you would desire it is a wonderful example of one’s tastes and design and, in my opinion, is just what the house needed. It has been fortunate to have had three owners who loved it and brought it back to its glory. Having lived in the town for over 25 years, and assisted the second and third previous owners with tours, it is a home that anyone would be proud to own and live in. So I guess I can only say, please, please, someone love it as much as so many of us citizens of Abilene do and choose it for your next home ! ! ! Giraffe12

  31. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12797 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Back up for sale at $635,000.


    • JimHJimH says: 5764 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Still a great house, though now without some of the vintage fixtures and appliances of the prior owners. To each his own …

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