August 31, 2006
Includes Seven National and Six Kansas Register Nominations

The Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review held its regular quarterly meeting at the Kansas State Historical Society on August 26, 2006. The board nominated seven properties to the National Register of Historic Places and six properties to the Register of Historic Kansas Places. Below are summaries of the nominated properties.


*Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 320 N. Cedar St., Abilene, Dickinson Co.*
Located at the southwest corner of Fourth and Cedar Streets in Abilene, the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church is a Gothic Revival style structure built in 1878. The church features pointed arch windows, elaborately carved paneled doors, and a steeply pitched roof covered with diamond-shaped slate tiles, and is nestled between a business district to the south and east and a residential district of Victorian-era homes to the north and west. This building is home to Abilene’s second-oldest congregation, with members worshipping in this same structure for nearly 130 years. Some of Abilene’s early influential residents were charter members of the church including Conrad Lebold, a successful banker and state senator, and Jacob Augustine, who partnered with Lebold in 1869 to purchase the original town site of Abilene.

*Cather Farm, Beloit vic., Mitchell Co.*
Located five miles north of Beloit in the Solomon River valley of north central Kansas, the Cather Farm consists of 160 acres of farmland, a single-story, wood-frame house erected in 1884, a late nineteenth century barn, and a wood-frame garage constructed in 1919. The Cather Farm is significant for its associations to the area’s agricultural history as a small Kansas farmstead, and for the house’s significance as a vernacular building form with applied Classical Revival detailing. The farm ground has been continually farmed since it was homesteaded in 1883. The property has been known as the Cather Farm since acquired by Iowa and Elsie Cather in 1885. It remains in the Cather family and is registered as a Century Farm with the Farm Bureau.

*Shirley Opera House, 503 Main St., Atwood, Rawlins Co.*
The Shirley Opera House, erected in 1907, is significant for its association with the entertainment and social history of Atwood and as a Late Victorian-era commercial block. The open space of the second story of the Shirley Opera House communicates its historic function as a public space used for performances and gatherings, such as traveling road shows, musicals, debates, local theatricals, dances, political rallies, and graduation exercises. The building represents the important period when public entertainment venues developed in Kansas communities during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Construction of the building coincided with the building of the Rawlins County Courthouse, the creation of permanent sidewalks, and the establishment of a public waterworks. The Aberdeen Steakhouse and Pub currently operates out of the building’s first floor.

*Hand-Dug City Water Well, 301 North 11^th St., Seneca, Nemaha Co.*
Seneca’s Hand-Dug City Water Well was constructed in 1896 and provided drinking water for the community from 1896 to 1937. The waterworks system promoted the use of indoor plumbing and played a valuable role in fire protection. Although it no longer served as the primary source of water for the community after 1937, it has been maintained by the City and for many years was used by a local golf club association to irrigate fairways. The well is an example of a utilitarian structure essential to the collection and transport of water for human use and consumption. It measures 34 feet in diameter and stretches 65 feet deep. Records indicate that some 130,000 bricks, 100 cords of stone, 570 barrels of cement, and over 20,000 feet of lumber were used in its construction. The wood-frame conical structure atop the well, which also dates to 1896, is a unique and intact example of vernacular industrial architecture. The well and protective structure are intact and retain a high degree of their original materials and architectural integrity.

*George T. Brown House, 222 S. Jefferson, St., Junction City, Geary Co. *
The George T. Brown House was constructed in 1895 for the owner of a local lumberyard. It is being nominated as a good local example of the late Queen Anne residential style. Although the Brown House deviates somewhat from the traditional ideal of a heavily embellished Queen Anne house, this house reflects the architecture of the turn-of-the-century in its overall design and form. The irregular roofline, asymmetrical appearance, and walls clad in shingles and clapboards reflect significant elements of the Queen Anne style. The overall form of the house with interconnected interior spaces and a prominent entry hall are also reflective of the style. However, restrained interior and exterior ornamentation is consistent with the late construction of the house in the Queen Anne period. The ornamentation exemplifies the movement in residential architecture toward Colonial Revival around 1910.

*Raymond Community Home, 301 S. Osage, Girard, Crawford Co.*
The Raymond Community Home, built in 1893, is significant for its association with town founder John E. Raymond and as an example of architect-designed Queen Anne architecture. In November 1869, at the age of 24, Raymond was one of 97 citizens who petitioned for the incorporation of Girard. He later served on the city council in 1871 and rose to the position of mayor by 1873. Designed by architect Charles W. Terry, this two-story wood frame house features a steep hipped roof with lower cross gables with polygonal bays and a defining three-story tower with an onion dome. The house is clad with various types of wood shingles and clapboard. The interior of the home was finished to impress visitors with its exceptional woodwork, stained glass windows, and elaborate fireplaces. The many accounts of the Raymond Home over the years call it the city’s grandest house. Raymond continued to live in the house until his death in 1930. The home interprets a bygone heyday of the community – when a dedicated merchant class invested in the community’s permanence by constructing stately homes.

* *
*Gem Building, 506-510 SW 10^th , Topeka, Shawnee Co.*
Although apartment buildings were prevalent in large metropolitan areas beginning in the late nineteenth century, they were not commonly constructed in Kansas until the 1910s and 1920s. By this time, apartments had evolved from tenements designed for maximum occupancy of the urban poor in high-density metropolitan areas to efficient and attractively designed buildings for a growing class of urban professionals. Built in 1928, the Gem Building in downtown Topeka is significant as a good local example of an early twentieth century apartment building. The building was designed by Topeka architect Charles Cuthbert and cost $80,000 to construct. Its location on the fringes between Topeka’s expanding commercial and governmental district to the east and the growing residential district to the west uniquely situated it to serve multiple uses. The building was constructed by the proprietors of the Gem Grocery and Meat Market to house their business and families, and also to subsidize their income.


*Matrot Castle, 6425 SW Huntoon, Topeka, Shawnee Co.*
Seraphin Matrot, who fled France after the Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870s, designed and built a French-inspired Chateauesque castle west of Topeka. Matrot planted and operated a vineyard on the grounds – his choice of the wine business in Kansas was a tough economic one as Kansas had voted for prohibition in 1880. Oral histories suggest that Matrot built the castle in 1883-1886 with assistance from area Native Americans using local materials. The castle represents a restrained version of the Chateauesque style popular in grander homes during the late 19^th century. The twin turrets, pointed arch windows, vertical emphasis, high-peaked hipped roof, and massive brick construction are elements of the style found on the Matrot Castle.

*Sells Brothers Building, 303-305 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka, Shawnee Co.*
Four brothers, known for their property investments and as the owners of a traveling circus company, constructed the building at 303 and 305 S. Kansas Avenue in 1883. The two-story brick commercial building is one of the few remaining Late Victorian era buildings in this section of Kansas Avenue. Many commercial and industrial businesses have operated out of this building including furniture and appliance sales, barrel manufacturing, auto sales, an undertaking business, and most recently an electrical supply shop. The street-level storefront was altered in 1956, but the second floor still retains many of its Victorian-era details including the decorative metal cornice and the brick and stonework. The front-facing second story windows were replaced in the 1950s. Plans are underway to return those windows to their original design.

*Washington & Julia Marlatt Homestead, 1600 College Ave., Manhattan, Riley Co.*
Washington Marlatt, an early Riley County settler, was a founder and faculty member of Bluemont Central College, which opened in 1860 and eventually became Kansas State University. As an early settler, it was Marlatt’s desire to found a college that could provide both a liberal arts and agricultural education to the new residents of Kansas. He also served as president of the Manhattan Town Association and was influential in the development of the city of Manhattan. In addition to being an educator and businessman, Marlatt was also an experimental farmer who wrote extensively on his agricultural experiments. The homestead dates to 1856 and includes a two-story limestone house, two limestone sheds, and a large two-story limestone barn.

* *
*Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St., Lawrence, Douglas Co.*
Located in downtown Lawrence, the Plymouth Congregational Church was designed by prominent Kansas architect John G. Haskell and erected in 1870. Although the brick building is flanked by two twentieth-century additions, this three-story structure with Gothic and Romanesque Revival characteristics retains much of its historic integrity. The church’s organization dates to Lawrence’s earliest pre-Civil War days. The first church service was held on October 1, 1854, in a mud brick boarding house, just weeks after the first groups of New England settlers arrived. With many church members still reeling from the devastation of William Quantrill’s raid of Lawrence in August of 1863, some expressed the desire for the new church building to be simply designed with adequate space to allow for growth. Haskell suggested that the addition of “angles, projections, and towers” could make the building much more attractive “without adding greatly to the cost,” while insisting that “beauty costs no more than ugliness.” The building – complete with towers and projections – cost $43,000 to erect.
* *
Dutton-Thomas-Soule Farm, 7925 Sunflower Rd., De Soto vic., Johnson Co. *
The Dutton-Thomas-Soule Farm, also known as the Palmberg Farm, is significant for its association with the settlement and continued agricultural history of the Kaw Valley region of Kansas, and in particular for its association with the Kaw Valley potato and vegetable industries. This property, located at the southeast corner of 79^th and Sunflower Road, is the largest and only functional farmstead remaining in the West Bottoms area adjacent to the Kansas River northwest of De Soto, and it represents a strong tie to the agrarian history of Johnson County. Prior to the rise of Idaho, California, and other states as national mass producers of agricultural goods, the West Bottoms and similar farming districts stretching along the river to Kansas City represented one of the key vegetable growing areas serving the entire region. The Soules and Palmbergs have sold produce raised on their farmstead at the Kansas City Market since 1928. The farm complex, which dates to 1884, consists of an Italianate-style farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, and ancillary outbuildings.

*Michigan Building,/ /206 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Sedgwick Co.*
The Michigan Building, erected in 1909, was built for $60,000 by Wichita’s first druggist, Oscar D. Barnes, and his son, Maurice P. Barnes, and remained in their family until 1972. The Barnes family played a significant role in Wichita’s commercial history by developing downtown business blocks. Designed by Charles W. Terry, the building is a narrow structure of reinforced concrete, steel, and terra cotta brick that stands six stories tall. It is significant for its historic presence in downtown Wichita’s streetscape and as the home of several locally prominent music stores. Its physical presence contributes to the “canyon” of East Douglas Avenue, a busy downtown thoroughfare lined with towering structures. The music stores housed within the building – the Martin & Adams Music Company, The Adams-Bennett Music Company and the Bennett Music House – drew customers from Wichita and the surrounding region.

The National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places are official lists of cultural resources worthy of preservation and part of a national program to protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties currently listed include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture.

The benefits of listed properties include recognition of significance to the nation, state, or local community; consideration in the planning for federal or federally assisted projects; eligibility for federal and state tax benefits; and qualification for the Heritage Trust Fund grant program.

In order to be considered, properties must generally meet three criteria: be fifty years or older, retain most of the original interior and exterior appearance, and have historical and/or architectural significance at the local, state or national level. The governor appoints the eleven-member Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review. For more information contact the Historic Preservation Office at the Kansas State Historical Society, 785-272-8681, ext. 240. The Society is headquartered at 6425 SW Sixth Avenue, Topeka KS 66615-1099; 785-272-8681; TTY 785-272-8683;
# # #
Bobbie Athon
Public Information Officer
Kansas State Historical Society
6425 SW Sixth Avenue
Topeka KS 66615-1099
785-272-8681, ext. 262