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Historical Charles Curtis Home

bus   cchome   windows  

(Curtis House photos attributed to Carol Yoho)

     The three lots at SW 11th and Topeka Boulevard, where the Charles Curtis house now stands, first went on public record August 10th, 1859, when the Reverend Samuel Young Lum was given a warranty deed to the property from the City of Topeka. Several people have owned the property from that time until May 1878; when Joseph C. Wilson bought the three lots for $120 each.  Tax records from 1879 indicate that he had enlarged the original home by then. At the time the house was built it was described as "not surpassed by any residence in the city". 
 
   The Charles Curtis House located at 1101 Topeka Boulevard in Topeka, Kansas; is an example of the early Eclectic style of architecture in Kansas. The two-story structure is an irregularly shaped building with a full basement. The irregular plan projects a free flowing appearance which is enhanced by the rounded corners and gently curved lines.
    The building is constructed of red brick laid in a common bond pattern. In contrast, the exterior trim is painted white. Horizontal white stone bands accent the first and second floor lines and the roof line. At the second floor level these bands form the sills and lintels for the windows. The roof of the main portion of the house consists of two four-sided bulbous domes, each with a spire. These domes rest on a decorative cornice, which features coupled brackets and a broad overhang.
         The home was added to the Historical Register by the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution) in 1976.        
 

room  


      The windows in the Curtis house are of a great variety of sizes and shaped. At the first floor level the majority of the windows are of the rectangular double hung sash type and generally occur in single openings. A large bay window (pictured above) situated on the North side (at the top of the staircase from the first floor) ends at the second floor line.  There are many stained-glass windows throughout the house.  Just who might be responsible for making the stained glass windows has not been found out; it was thought the windows might have been made by Tiffany's, but this has not been verified.

Several windows have semicircular arched tops with arches of radial brick. Note the staircase, all of the work is hand done and the rail columns are detailed differently, each three are different; then the pattern repeats. Stone keystones are used in some of the arches.  Flat stone lintels are used at the windows (pictured below left) on the East porch. Second floor windows range from simple rectangles to openings with with shallow arched tops. All second floor windows have stone sills and stone lintels.

room      room      

     The second floor windows are either singles or grouped in two's and three's. Attic windows occur in narrow eye-brow like openings around the perimeter of the bulbous domes. A large porch supported on square masonry columns is located on the East side of the house. There are three fireplaces in the Curtis house, two on the first floor and one on the second floor.

The Charles Curtis house has the largest intact of parquetry for the area (parquetry - inlaid woodwork in geometric patterns, generally floors).

In January 1880, the residence was sold to Mrs. Emma Redden; then she sold the house to Charles Curtis after he became Senator in May 1907.

    Originally the Curtis House was thought to be the work of Seymour Davis, but more research shows that Davis was not in the Topeka area until the mid-1880's, some seven to eight years after the house was built. However; Davis did prepare plans for interior alterations to the front entry hall, probably in the 1890's and that would explain the traditional association of the Davis name with the house. The original architect of the house remains unidentified.


   stained glass   stained glass

          The Charles Curtis Home is an example of a rather unique and distinctive residential architecture incorporating bulbous domes, Romanesque arches and Renaissance massing.  It is an early example of Eclecticism in Kansas building.

face      

    The 'face' on the hand carved banister rail was done by the artisan carpenters to represent the spirit that was thought to be protecting the house when it was built and to continue on protecting the home.
      

room     

To really appreciate the beauty of the parquetry floors, the stained-glass windows; in my opinion you just need to visit the Charles Curtis homes for yourself to walk each room and feel the history there for yourself.   Are you going to be visiting Topeka in the future?


Location - 1101 SW Topeka Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas
Directions from I-70
Going East?        Exit 361B  8th Street  Exit
                      Stay on 8th Street until 10th Street, turn right at the light on 10th; stay on 10th Street
                      from the light at Kansas Avenue, the Curtis Building will be on your left, continue on     
                      until you reach the light at Topeka Blvd, then turn left, go 1 block to 11th Street, The
                      Curtis House is on the right side corner.                    
Going West?      Exit  362C 10th Street Exit
                      
stay on 10th Street
                       from the light at Kansas Avenue, the Curtis Building will be on your left, continue on
                       until you reach the light at Topeka Blvd, then turn left, go 1 block to 11th Street, The
                      Curtis House is on the right side corner.


    There is a birthday celebration that is  usually held close to  NOT in 2014 January 25th every year for Charles Curtis.

    Personally, I would like to see the Charles Curtis Home on the Antiques RoadShow; just to see what their specialists would be interested in the most, the stained-glass, the parquetry floor; there are just too many good things to mention, just go see it for yourself.
     If you are interested in seeing the Charles Curtis House on PBS's Antiques RoadShow; contact them 
Antiques RoadShow, or write them a letter at

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW
WGBH
One Guest Street
Boston, MA 02135

SORRY- many apologies; apparently Antiques RoadShow did stop by the Curtis House and asked to be able to film it; so that it could be included in one of their segments, but the owner refused their request.

In My Opinion; this was a bad move on the part of the owner, because the Curtis House (AND Topeka, Kansas) would have gotten a lot of FREE publication from being on Antiques RoadShow and with their many repeats, continous publication, many, MANY people would think to themselves, I did not know about this place, we need to go and see it and therefore visit Topeka, Kansas.

I would hope that the owner would have a change of heart and ask Antiques RoadShow to stop by, but who knows when Antiques RoadShow might even be close again.  When they were here before, they instead filmed a segment on minature horses/ponies, so they have been in the Topeka area. 

homeReturn to Home Page  http://www.vpcharlescurtis.net/index.html

Overview of Charles Curtis life         

Web Site History/the designer  

Timeline A:  The Indians in Kansas

Timeline B :  The timelines of Kansas and the USA

Timeline C -  Major events and Famous Firsts

Biography ACharles Curtis and his extended family genealogy.


Biography B :  Charles Curtis (before going into Politics)

Politics  and Beliefs of Charles Curtis

Legacy   left by Charles Curtis

Memorials  and donations

Signature Bldg.  New Kansas State Office Building named for Charles Curtis

Resources  and recommended books for reading.

Sponsors

Updated January 03, 2014
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