1871 Italianate – Chetopa, KS

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Added to OHD on 8/30/16   -   Last OHD Update: 11/3/19   -   56 Comments

706 Maple St, Chetopa, KS 67336

  • $24,900
  • 4 Bed
  • 1.5 Bath
  • 2700 Sq Ft
  • 0.65 Ac.
Victorian home, brand new roof, on 1/4 city block facing major highway. Fixer-upper with lots of exquisite woodwork still in place.
Contact Information
Jerry Chestnutt, Chesnutt & Chesnutt,
(620) 795-2365

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

56 Comments on 1871 Italianate – Chetopa, KS

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11723 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I’m not sure the roof is enough to make this a Second Empire.

    We need some interior shots! Anyone local want to take a peek?

    • L Adams says: 61 comments

      Really would like to see any historical photos of the exterior, as well as those interior pics. That roof line doesn’t look quite right somehow and I wonder if there was a cupola, at one time, maybe?

    • JimHJimH says: 4867 comments
      OHD Supporter

      In 1886, he erected his fine home of veneered brick, which is one of the most attractive in the city.”
      Biography of J.B. Cook in History of Labette County, 1901.

      There are other references to the construction in the 1880’s from early accounts. This was the period of growth in Chetopa, due in part to Cook’s recruitment of residents, and sourcing of over $1MM in mortgage money. Although late for Second Empire, Cook and others in town seem to have had an affection for the style. Perhaps this house has much of the same Eastlake style interior woodwork seen in this other example, probably from a later date as well.

    • Amy Clark says: 2 comments

      HIGHLY INTRESTED. Want to BUY this home. PLEASE send pictures or call me so we can see the inside. Prepared to buy.

    • Laird Sasser says: 3 comments

      I grew up in Chetopa (1950’s) and this building didn’t have that “overhanging” roof.

  2. JimHJimH says: 4867 comments
    OHD Supporter

    It WAS a Second Empire! Don’t know what to call it now, except kinda sad.

    Col. J.B. Cook’s house, more recently a funeral home:

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11723 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Wow. That is so sad to see it that way now when compared.

      • Ross says: 2524 comments

        I wonder if the original roof is just hidden under the absurd new roof? Like, did they just build OVER the old roof?

        Obviously, the tower roof is gone.

        • Paul Tyler says: 42 comments

          Ross looks like it is 2 hours away from you.. Maybe you could drive to the house and take pics of the inside for us. As we are all dying to see what the inside looks like. What do you say?? 🙂

    • Cathy says: 2194 comments

      Whoa… remuddled, big-time.

    • JimHJimH says: 4867 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Jeremiah Brown Cook (1834-1921) was a pretty impressive guy. After commanding a cavalry unit in the Civil War, he moved to Kansas and built a large real estate and loan business in this little town. He also was mayor and promoted a railroad in his spare time. In one of his biographies: “In all Southeastern Kansas there is no better known figure than Col. J. B. Cook of Chetopa.”
      Cook retired comfortably in his 50’s, and lived here with his wife Hannah until her death; they had no children. Then at age 60 he took a 29 year old wife, and after a honeymoon in Chicago, he went back to work. Rose gave him 2 sons, and J.B. carried on until his death at age 87.

      I found a fascinating marketing flyer Cook put out around 1900 which gives prices on goods (oak dining room chairs 50 c. to $1.25, good cows $20 to $40) and real estate (5 room house and 3 lots $512, 105 acres – seventy in cultivation – $1800 one-half cash).

      Cook’s wife Rose and the boys lived here until they sold the house in 1933:
      Miami Daily News-Record – Miami, Oklahoma
      Sunday, April 2, 1933
      New Funeral Home
      Charles B. Fritz, pioneer undertaker of Bartlett, Kas., with branches at Edna and Altamont, all in Labette county, has bought the old Col. J. B. Cook residence in Chetopa located at the corner of Seventh and Main streets, and will transform the building into a modern funeral home with residence in the building, following which he will move from Bartlett and make Chetopa his central location. Mr. Fritz has been in the undertaking business for many years in Bartlett, and does business in Northwest Craig in addition. He will also transform the quarter of a block comprising the Cook property into a floral park and upon completion will have one of the most modern funeral homes in Southern Kansas. He will still operate the branches at Bartlett, Edna and Altamont. The J. B. Cook home was built in Chetopa in the middle ’80s and when completed was one of the most modern homes of that period, costing $10,000, which was a large amount to invest in a residence at period of Chetopa history.

    • Poor girl.

      For this, price, though… It’d take some doing to restore her but at least we know how she’s meant to look!

  3. Nathan says: 43 comments

    Very bizarre mansard. Looks like a hat has been placed on an italianate house? It’s it original? Opinions anyone?

  4. SeanSean says: 161 comments
    1928 Spanish Revival
    Long Beach, CA

    That “Mansard” roof looks like something off a circa-1980s fast food joint or some third-rate legal office. 🙁 But what’s under its oppressive weight looks pretty nice.

  5. CharlestonJohn says: 1045 comments

    Since a Second Empire is really just an Italianate with a mansard roof, I agree with you in calling it Italianate. The roof really isn’t a mansard anymore since the dormers are gone and the attic probably isn’t habitable anymore. They say the mansard roof was originally popularized to provide additional living space in the attic stories of Parisian buildings. This was a way to avoid property tax that was assessed base on the number of floors below the roof line. Regardless, I hope this house finds a new owner willing to restore a proper slate tile mansard roof with dormers. The front porch could use some love too.

  6. Joe says: 733 comments

    This sure is an interesting one. I had trouble getting the image from the link above of the house before so I searched, chetopa kansas house photos, and came up with this one:
    This also has another interesting old house in chetopa.
    It appears that the house had no front porch at all, the roof at that level makes it look like its wearing a 1960’s ladies bathing suit. I wonder if the person who “fast-fooded” it went on top of the original curved structure and left the porthole windows underneath the new roof. That would allow someone to restore it more easily. It does seem to still have the corbels, (I think that that is what the brackets under the third story are called. I am not sure and am guessing the spelling. If someone out there knows the correct term and spelling, I’d like to know. Mansard roofs fascinate me. I would love to see interior shots to know if there is anything left there.

  7. Montana Channing says: 256 comments

    i hope when they say new roof they mean the flat part on top as that ugly added thing is missing quite a few pieces. what a butcher job on an incredible house. i would love to see interior pix also. it would cost a ton to put it back to original but for the price of a cheap Hyundai, it would be worth it.

  8. Tara Terminiello says: 22 comments

    Love this site and love the comments the people make. (admin edit: sorry, no politics)

    I think its interesting that this subject attracts such obviously educated people because if youre into architecture and history, you are probably into art and culture, and probably travel and literature..{.everyone writes so well}

    ……….anyway, back to my initial question. Whats the difference between Second Empire and Third?? Is the Addams Family House on the old TV series Third Empire?

    • John Shiflet says: 5392 comments

      Here’s an explanation (Wikipedia) about the French Second Empire and the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_French_Empire Architectural historians in the 20th century sought a suitable style term for mansard roofed houses built in American during the Victorian era and “Second Empire” seemed to fit best the time period when the bulk of mansard roofed houses were built in the U.S. and Canada. (quite popular in the province of Quebec as might be expected) Other terms are sometimes used such as “the General Grant style” because of the style’s popularity during his presidency. I’m not aware of a “Third” French Empire style.
      I visited Chetopa back in the early 2000’s (I was born in nearby Parsons) and found it a sleepy little community. The funeral home business was still located in this house at the time. The house’s original roof configuration could be restored to its former appearance if someone wanted a labor of love category project. The big question is what is the interior like? Chetopa, and nearby towns in southwestern Missiouri, (Joplin, Carthage, Monet) and northeastern Oklahoma, are in an economically sluggish region. Extensive mining operations to extract lead and zinc brought wealth to the area in the latter 19th century. Old houses tend to be affordable in the area due to slack housing demand. The region’s younger folks often move away to bigger cities offering more opportunities.

  9. tc says: 312 comments

    Do you think there was a fire? The original drawing shows at least one chimney. I’ve seen a couple houses that rather than rebuild after a fire they simply flat roofed. Sad.

  10. Mary B. says: 32 comments

    The fireplace flue is also missing from the roof (should have been above alcoved windows on right side roof – see the old pictures to compare). I wonder if there wasn’t a roof fire at some point – why else would you take the top half of a roof and all chimneys off?

    • Paul W says: 539 comments

      Its pretty common to remove chimneys when one updates to energy efficient HVAC. They are often in disrepair and people do not see the “value’ in spending money for tuckpointing and relining them if you have fireplaces. They are just taken down below roof level and decked over.

  11. Julia says: 14 comments

    I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…but it would take a LOT of burning sage to get me to live in a former funeral home…

    • Cathy says: 2194 comments

      Heh, me too, I think. In HS I babysat in a Victorian house in which the downstairs was a funeral parlor and the family who ran it lived upstairs. It was almost as bad during the daytime as at night. Nights were a tad spooky if I thought about it too much, but if there was a funeral going on downstairs during the daytime, I had to keep the kids – all boys – quiet, so that the people downstairs wouldn’t hear them running around, or their voices. Phew.

    • Tina Reuwsaat says: 55 comments

      I would be more worried about that semi truck with the tornado behind it coming down the street.

  12. Pamela Ky girl says: 49 comments

    It is an interesting home. I wonder about living in a former funeral home myself. The Victorian home we live in someone said it was a funeral Home in 1910 or so. It was built in 1873. I want to find out for sure just have not had an opportunity to investigate. We bought our home December 18th, 2013 & it has been remodeled but still has the wood work & beautiful ceilings, floors too. I really enjoy seeing these homes & it is awesome to learn so much too. I must agree so many of you folks are informative which makes it a joy to get an email, sit, learn, & read in the evening after supper.

  13. GoddessOdd says: 335 comments

    Incredibly sad house, and not the funeral home part…sad to see the decisions made about this historic house. I imagine restoration now would be HUGELY expensive, if it were even possible to bring her back to her former glory. Sad, just sad.

  14. Scott Cunningham says: 390 comments

    This is the ultimate fixer upper. $24K is a giveaway price. If the bones are good (foundation and roof), and the neighborhood is passable, its worth consideration as a project. I’m betting there is little worth saving inside. I’d consider stripping it to the studs, then redoing the whole house, with updated wiring, thermal windows, HVAC, plumbing, and insulation (probably a 100K project). Would also replace the turret, fix the mansard roof, new bath and kitchens, touch up the exterior details, etc…. You would end up with a $150K house with 100% modern infrastructure, with the layout and style of an 1800’s estate. Not a bad deal.

    • JimHJimH says: 4867 comments
      OHD Supporter

      ScottC, you might lose your bet on there being little worth saving inside. Listing says “lots of exquisite woodwork still in place”
      Tourism note says “a showpiece of historical and architectural spendor” and they probably weren’t referring to the exterior. Let’s hope we get to see some photos.

    • Ross says: 2524 comments

      A historic house stripped to the studs is a house with no soul left.

      My house is 1894, and was a wreak when I purchased it. I would not dream of stripping it to the studs. Nor of tearing out the original windows and replacing them with thermal windows.

      I will not be insulating the house, either. Or adding storm windows. But, by making the house really tight, and with new high-effenciency boilers for the radiators, and a thermal “lid” on top to keep the heated/cooled air from leaving the house, my house will retain its soul, AND be energy efficient.

      Beautiful, too!

      All the wiring/plumbing will be new as well, carefully threaded through the old walls.

  15. Ross says: 2524 comments

    Kansas is one of the few states offering grants to restore historic homes.

    My 1894 house was awarded a $90K grant last year for exterior work (built-in gutters, roofing, siding, and windows). And I am applying for a second grant to finish the exterior work.

    The house in this post could well qualify.

  16. Paul Tyler says: 42 comments

    Ross looks like it is 2 hours away from you.. Maybe you could drive to the house and take pics of the inside for us. As we are all dying to see what the inside looks like. What do you say?? ?

  17. Michelle Garvin says: 30 comments

    This poor sweet baby. 🙁
    It looks like a pizza Hut threw up on it.
    That is just wrong.
    Look how pretty it would be with a normal roof.
    Who would do that? That can’t be right. It hurts to look at it.
    I would like to see inside of it.
    Someone save it. It wants to be pretty again.
    The idea of a funeral home doesn’t bother me. Dead people are easier to deal with than a lot of live people.

  18. Carla says: 8 comments

    Hey, guys. Nice to see this discussion and some people who truly appreciate the house! The house has good bones but really needs some TLC. You can see inside pics in this ebay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/232060392416

    • Ross says: 2524 comments

      Thank you Carla!

      FABULOUS staircase!

      Gorgeous mantels and trim, too!

      • Carla says: 8 comments

        I fell in love with the staircase too. I am the current owner, trying to sell it. But I had not heard about Kansas grants to restore homes. Would you be able to send me some links to those? carla 68 at gmail. I would appreciate your help.

  19. John Shiflet says: 5392 comments

    Thanks Carla, from me as well. I took a photo of this house back in 2000 when it was still a funeral home and had wondered what the interior looked like. I’m quite surprised to see it’s largely intact inside. That serpentine curved balustrade (upstairs?) is phenomenal-wish I could see how it fit into the spatial arrangement inside. Although even the seller(s) admits Chetopa is a remote town, for the very low price you get a very restorable formerly grand mansion from the 1870’s.

  20. KfideiKfidei says: 335 comments

    Thanks Carla, I am quite surprised that so much of interest remains inside… the staircase is really something, and to think that all that beautiful craftsmanship might be lost. The environs look very dreary, looks like a lot of traffic on the facing street, and a dying house next door. I have yet to see a photo of this house taken on a bright and sunny day. The eBay listing says “ended”, so I cant tell if it had a reserve on it, or how high the bidding went, did anyone see this while the auction was live? (I didn’t even know you could shop for homes on eBay, so I am not conversant with methods to check the history of past bids).

    I am waiting for Hurricane Matthew to make landfall in just a couple hours, so I might be in immediate need of a house, but even at 24k, I just don’t think I could handle this one…but I would LOVE to have that staircase…

    • Carla says: 8 comments

      Thanks for your comment. I ended the auction because it went under contract immediately, but the buyers backed out so now it’s for sale again. I agree the staircase is spectacular!

  21. Rufus says: 1 comments

    Well, While you were all just talking about this place,I went ahead and bought it. It is wholly livable, needs some patch work from roof leak, nothing major, and the roof windows are still there covered by scab roof. Got great deal. Thanks to Jerry Chestnutt for working me on this.

  22. GoddessOdd says: 335 comments

    Congratulations Rufus! May she live long and prosper, glad to see someone will give her the love she deserves… Please keep us posted, if you wouldn’t mind, and i know all of us would LOVE to see some photos! Happy Thanksgiving

  23. Mark Nobles says: 1 comments

    Well-ruffee and I just spent the whole day moving in and cleaning this house so much potential it’s unbelievable the woodwork is out of this world and I cannot believe somebody did not buy this house on day one of its listing

  24. Dena says: 1 comments

    Congrats to the new owners! I’m planning a move to that area in the next year and since seeing this grand old lady’s ad, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a way to buy it in advance of my actual move (it was really not do-able…). It makes me so happy that she was purchased by people who will appreciate & care for her. Please share your progress!


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