307 country street
By WGS VP, Mabel Buboltz
1911 – Stella Wells Latchem from George and Eliza Eroe for $4,500 – just land.
1919 – To B.B. (Bernhardt) Nissen and Mary. (B.B. Nissen’s nickname was ‘Barney.’)
1927 – To Herman Mueller.
1935 – To Bertha Mueller (Herman died).
1938 – To George I. Drake (Depression years).
1958 – To Dora V. Drake (George died).
1981 – To Mabel E. Drake Buboltz (Dora died).
Mabel’s house at 307 Country Street, as it appears today
Dr. Latchem rejected Victorian frills in savor of a single design with oak woodwork and floors, large windows and a Craftsman design interior. Many Prairie style homes of the Midwest copied Craftsman Style House plans.
Mission Style furniture was used. Around 1900, Wisconsin born Gustav Stickley introduced oak furniture that was dubbed Mission Furniture. Frank Lloyd Wright and Stickley, about the same time and place, were friends. Stickley chose solid oak wood rather then veneers and he had exposed wooden pegs and mortise-and-tenon joints in construction of tables, chairs, sideboards and rockers. He even used light cherry wood as he liked light color woods.
The Latchems used Mission furniture for their home. A daughter-in-law visited me in the 1980’s and sent pictures of the home interior as it was back in 1911 or 1912. Some people thought it clunky and old-fashioned.
The home style is like many Walnut houses – 4-square structures with hipped roof and wide overhangs.
Wide oak molding was used around the large interior windows and doors and narrow oak flooring.
There is a simple interior arrangement on the ground floor with wide entrance hall the length of the first floor that has two long, narrow side windows of beveled glass and a door with upper panes of beveled glass. There is a living room the length of the house on the south side with 2 sets of French doors opening to a porch. Another set of beveled French doors open to a wide entrance hall on the north.
There is the large original red brick fireplace that has an egg-and-dart design in the terra cota mantle shelf.
A spacious dining room, butler pantry with a swinging door, kitchen, a clothes closet (now a partial bath) and three porches complete the first floor.
The open stairway in the entrance hall has Mission style oak paneling, a stair handrail with square wooden banisters between the handrail and the 16 steps. My Doctor tells me the steps to the basement and to the second floor are good medicine for the heart and muscles.
I added French doors at the dining room and hall entrance to conserve heat. When the house was built using a wood and coal furnace, heavy wine-colored velvet drapes were used to close the opening.
The second floor consists of four bedrooms, bath, screened sleeping porch and the wide hall that is consistent with the first floor entrance hall. There are no bedroom ceiling lights – just several wall scones to a room. The bedroom closets have windows. There is a large linen closet.
There is a full, floored attic with two dormers. The dormer windows and house windows have top window panes with mullions to separate the panes.
The living room, the entrance hall and the dining room light fixtures are the original. At the time of construction they were called the “jewels of the house.” The living room chandelier has a large brass base from which extend six log brass chains with fixtures that hold etched glass shades. All six can be turned on or just the one that is in the center. There are four wall lights – scones of brass with glass shades.
The entrance hall light is the original. The brass base has three drop chains with petal-shaped fixtures to hold the bulbs. The tree maroon glass shades were made special for the fixture.
The dining room chandelier is special according to the refinisher. Gustav Stickley designed a chandelier that has a splayed (spread out) solid brass frame with a crossbar design. Four brass link chains extend from a brass ceiling base to the crossbar frame. Fastened to this frame are four more short brass link chains that are fastened to four light shades. Each of the shades is made of four pieces of slag glass enclosed in a frame.
Slag glass is made by refusing bits of glass. The glass is not clear – it is opaque, marbleized glass. It is rather a topaz color to opaque.
The dining room and entrance halls upstairs and downstairs have push-button light switches – still.
An electrician told me the basement wiring was wrapped with silk threads.
There are two large connected rainwater cisterns I still use. The water is pumped into a large retaining tank (original), then it goes to the water heater and all hot water is soft water.
The B.B. Nissen’s son, Julius, rented the house from my parents for a few years. He was known as “Judy” and worked as the Standard Station tank man that delivered to the farms. His son Ward, and daughter Marilyn, graduated from Walnut High School. Everyone liked Judy.
Dr. Latchem and Stella moved to Rochester, MN where he was at Mayo Clinic. They had one son.