Have you ever walked downtown and admired some of the beautiful historic homes, wondering what they look like on the inside? The Holiday House Tour gives you the opportunity to tour six downtown homes, learn their history, and meet their owners! This year Downtown Washington Inc. is putting on the tour, and the downtown Post Office will be open for visitors. Refreshments will be served (cookies from Joe’s bakery – yummy!), and there will even be a trolley to take you to all the houses. Who is on the tour?
The Stoyer home was built in 1855 by George Tamm who was a shoe maker. He had his business on the main floor and the family lived above until the turn of the century. The Stoyer’s have a large framed photo hanging in their dining room of George Tamm standing in front of his shoe shop while his wife looks on from the balcony. In the 1900s the building housed the local newspaper, The Washington Citizen. They were responsible for adding the western addition to the building. Many businesses have occupied the main floor throughout the years including a record store, a trophy shop and it is currently the home of Trashy Roots Salon.
The building was completely renovated by Rodney Stoyer from 2004-2008. A lot of time and care was put into the renovation to keep as many of the original features of the house as possible. Each piece of hardwood flooring was removed, refinished and relayed. The Stoyer’s bedroom on the third floor was a closed off attic before the renovation. By adding the stairway from the living room, Rodney was able to open the third floor into a master suite. The Stoyer’s love living downtown and the river views they can see from their kitchen and bedroom. One of Kristy’s favorite features is the large windows in their living room and dining room that look over Jefferson and Second Street. Their style can be described as modern and minimal.
Trashy Roots Salon will be having an open house during the tour for those who would like to see where George Tamm’s original shoe store operated.
The Marquart home was built in 1855 by CH Kahmann, who was a real estate speculator. It was originally known as ‘The Pacific House’, a name derived from the new railroad line and later changed to ‘The Exchange’ in the 1890’s. The building was originally built to accommodate the influx of people coming to the area due to the Pacific Railroad and in the beginning most of the guests were employees of the railroad. Over the years the building has always housed a tavern and an operating hotel into the 1930’s. The original structure was 2 stories and the 3rd story was added in the mid 1900’s.
The Marquart’s love living downtown and take advantage of the location during downtown events, shopping at the Farmer’s Market and enjoying the parades from their deck. While this building is quite a unique place to live, the large deck is one of the most unique features of the house. It features a view of the river on the north side and the view of Borgia church on the south side. The Marquart’s say they’ve had several people contact them to use the deck for photo shoots, including brides who want only the church steeple in the background. Their decorating style can be described as sentimental traditional.
The Bogue home is the newest house on the tour, being finished just over two weeks ago! This house is part of Andy Unerstall’s Rhine River Townhomes Development, located on the old Franklin County Concrete Plant property. Bryan Bogue, who has always had a passion for architecture and design, did all the interior design himself. With the use of modern materials and technology, he has managed to create a contemporary space, which is warm and inviting at the same time. The most unique feature of this house is the solid concrete construction, which makes the townhome extremely efficient and eliminates outside noise. Bryan said the quality of construction is the best he’s ever seen, thanks to Andy and his crew. When it comes to decorating his townhome, Bryan decided to stick to his minimalist philosophy and keep the style contemporary with a bit of traditional elements mixed in.
The Connor home is one of the 16 houses in the Rhine River Townhome Development build by the Connor’s daughter and son-in-law, Andy and Collene Unerstall of Unerstall Construction. Located on Front Street, the townhome has a beautiful view of the Missouri River. One of the Connors’ favorite features of the townhome is the location,and being able to take advantage of the walking trails, restaurants and locally-owned stores. The exterior of their house has the look and feel of a traditional historic home, but Andy has incorporated the latest innovation and technology to make it comfortable and lasting. Mike and Mary designed the interior to meet the needs of their simple, carefree lifestyle. Mary describes their decorating style as ‘Simply Christmas’, with lots of traditional holiday classics that can fit into their contemporary scheme.
The Niehaus home, a Missouri German architectural 1 ½ story brick house was built circa 1855 and was originally owned by Henry Thias. Nick and Amy Niehaus began renovating the house in 2009 and they are still working on it. The house has original hardwood floors and original transom windows, while the kitchen features a summer front backsplash and stained glass pantry door. The unique backyard pergola was crafted from the home’s old floor joists. The Niehaus’ kept the interior design traditional, featuring many family antiques and heirlooms, as well as other treasures that were found throughout the Franklin County area. This house can be seen on the 1869 Bird’s Eye View of Washington and was also awarded the Curb Appeal Award and the Historic Preservation Award in 2011.
Guests are asked to enter the home via the driveway off Olive St. and they are invited to enjoy hot cider by the outdoor fireplace.
The Johnson home was built around 1905 and renovated in 2011. This house has a lot of history with the Elbert family. Herbert and Veronica (Fronie) Elbert were married February 20, 1936 at St. Francis Borgia Church. They purchased the home just prior to their wedding from the estate of John B. Aholt (Fronie’s father) and lived there their entire married life. Overall, the home has been in the family for over 67 years! The Elbert’s were blessed with 2 sons, Charles and Richard. Richard recalls that the original heat source in the house was a coal furnace with an open grate in the hallway, a fire place for a young sleigh rider to warm up on a winter day. A back bedroom was added to the home in 1947 for the boys, with the basement being hand dug by their father Herbert. The current owner was a classmate of Richard Elbert. Many fond memories forged a bond, which made the renovation a labor of love. Great care was given to retaining the historic feel of the home. The transoms, pocket doors, the stairwell banisters and wood floors were preserved, while all the systems were replaced, increasing the insulation and further improving the low maintenance features of the house. One of the Johnson’s favorite features is the exposed brick walls. This home is filled with many memories and a lot of family history. When it came to decorating for Christmas, the Johnson’s kept it a little Victorian and a little country.
Loved the houses? Join us on the tour this Sunday, December 9, 4-8pm. All ages are welcome to tour the historic homes and public spaces. Trolley rides will be available and refreshments will be served at the Old Main Post Office. Tickets are available at the Downtown Post Office, museum, Hillermann’s and Schroeder’s. You can also purchase tickets onlinehttp://downtownwashmo.org/tickets/2012-holiday-house-tour/. The cost is $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door.