Tantalizing bits of information about the house continue to surface. In addition to a few recent finds (shown below) we’ve learned that the house was reputed to be the scene of numerous poker parties at some point during the years of prohibition (from 1881 to 1948 — much longer in Kansas than the rest of the country). I’m guessing that the mysterious trap door to the basement had something to do with the gambling and presumed drinking on the premises.

Everyone knows that there are no real secrets in a small town (just open secrets), and the best ones are repeated endlessly! People still talk about a night long ago when one of the community’s respected members attended such a party in the house. As the story goes, the man won a considerable amount that evening and was no doubt in high spirits as he walked with his winnings toward his home many blocks away. He never made it.

His body was discovered in a park outside of town. The money, of course, was gone. I might possibly post about some aspects of this event in the future.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some other kinds of details — a few of which shed light on less sensational, but still interesting, aspects of the past:

When a wall shelf was removed in the dining room, an earlier wallpaper was revealed. I’m having a hard time guessing the period of it. 1905? 1930? 1950’s “traditional”? I just can’t tell. Are there any wallpaper aficionados out there?

A detail of the paper (a bit washed out from the camera’s flash).

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to see what was under the carpet in the bathroom. I was fairly certain that I would find marble, but wanted to know for sure… and see what color it might be. It turns out to be a utilitarian gray. Unfortunately someone used an aggressive carpet glue to attach it. I can’t wait to rip out the carpet and get the marble cleaned up. Then we’ll need to find an 1880’s vintage toilet (already scouring eBay)!

Also in the bathroom, this handsome toilet paper holder which has been mounted vertically. The knob at the top unscrews so that the roll can be replaced.

A portion of the kitchen’s former linoleum floor may still be seen at the foot of the stairs. I’m guessing this is from the 30’s or 40’s. I wish the rest of the floor had not been covered over; I could live with this!

One of two antique beer bottles found in the house (one hidden between floor joists in the attic)! The Claussen Brewing Association was in business in Seattle, Washington, between 1901 and 1915 (closing when Washington, too, embraced prohibition). Interestingly, George Keys, the builder of the house, moved to Seattle in 1924.

This is how the front porch looks now after Jim’s restoration of the water-damaged soffit, fascia and porch supports. He is currently restoring some of the brackets (a pair of brackets above each porch support) and replicating those which were too far gone. They will be installed this Spring.

An old photo showed glass insulators beneath the eave of the front gable, so we found some to match and threaded them onto the two original threaded pins. This is where electricity entered the house when it was first available locally.

The former owner left some things behind for us to do as we wished with. It’s been fun going through them and we really appreciate it! We found several old movie posters including this one from 1965. I’m going to frame it.

Fun fact: When Jim gets annoyed by our cats, he doesn’t say “Darn”.

Just one more poster! Herbie Rides Again from 1974.

Another attic find… more kerosene light fixture parts! None of them make a complete fixture, but we’ll try to restore them if possible. This is a long-term goal and not anything that will happen in the near future. That’s it for now!
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