My Home at 804 Antique City Drive
by WGS Member Esther Loewenstein
EDITOR’S NOTE: These feature articles on homes are taken from a WGS lecture presentation given by 3 of our members. Much work not only went into the research and presentation, but the writing of this information so we could print it. My thanks to each of them for the extra time given so we could share their research with others.
Esther’s house at 804 Antique City Drive, as it appears today
The property my house resides on was part of the United States Government’s Land Act of 1855. This parcel of land, containing 160 acres, was granted to Hiram W. Chase; the original entry was made November 1, 1855.
The first recorded sale was from Hiram W. Chase and wife to B. F. Allen on August 29, 1868, which conveyed the property and other land to B. F. Allen by warranty deed for $6440. This began a division of the land as it was divided and sold to others.
Much could be said about Benjamin F. Allen. According to information given to me, he was a land speculator. His name probably appears in many abstracts of the area.
According to Roma Arndts’s book, Walnut Memoirs, the original plat of Walnut was surveyed and platted by this Benjamin F. Allen, sometimes known as the Allen Company.
According to my abstract, Benjamin F. Allen ended up in bankruptcy in the District Court of the U. S. for the state of Iowa. His land purchases, sales and mortgages are recorded in my abstract.
Many people are mentioned in the abstract, as the land was sold and purchased many times. But on February 28, 1918, Fred A. Bigelow and his wife Annie E., owners at that time, sold the property to Benjamin F. Deen.
At that period of time there were some interesting facts in my abstract. In February of 1928, the Extension of the Town of Walnut north was desired and this included the Benjamin F. Deen property. This extension was voted on March 26, 1928 at a regular election and passed, 290 for to 30 against.
In the court approval I found these facts. Before the land could be annexed, the people who owned the property being annexed had a right to a hearing.
There was quite a list of people who could have appeared or have been represented by someone, but only J. W. Nichols, Benjamin F. Deen and W. L. Troll appeared represented by their attorneys, Geo. W. Wright and Addison Kestle.
These three parties prior to this time had constructed a sewer extension main which intersected with the west portion of their properties, the same running directly south to the present north corporate limits of the town of Walnut.
Material and work and labor was furnished and paid for personally by the defendants.
These men had also done more. The three property owners extended a private water main to their premises at their own expense, running northerly along the west side of Central Street (now Antique City Drive) and in front of their premises.
The court ruling was as follows: Because of the annexation, it is the duty of the town to keep the sewer line in good condition and in working order.
And secondly, if the town molests or cuts the present water connection, it must furnish them with an equally good connection as they have at the town’s expense.
Further, they are entitled to relief from payment of the funding and refunding bonds of the town of Walnut and further relief of a deduction of 5 mills on the levy for the water works bond. But they must pay real estate taxes like everyone else.
Benjamin F. Deen died May 10, 1932 at the age of 71 and left a life estate to his wife, Ada Deen. Ada Deen died June 28, 1959, leaving everything to her children.
I purchased the house from the estate in July 1959 and moved into the home in December of that year.
The house, according to court house records, was built in 1920. Originally, it had double columns on the front porch, two on either side of the wooden steps leading to the porch and two on each corner of the porch. It also had a wooden railing all around the porch. Also on the porch roof was a little white three-sided rail enclosure in front of the three small upstairs windows.
The house, at the time it was built, had a small back porch and a pantry in the kitchen.
There were cupboards, floor to ceiling, along one wall with a little pass-through area from the kitchen to the dining room and a corner sink. The dining room had a small built-in china cupboard with leaded glass doors.
The living room and parlor were big open rooms. There were pocket doors from the dining room into the living room and colonnades with bookcases with leaded glass doors that divided the living room and the parlor.
Hardwood floors were both upstairs and downstairs and the woodwork on the bottom floor was hardwood. The two big windows in the living room and parlor had leaded glass at the top as did the small upstairs ones.
There were two big bedrooms on the first floor with a shared closet running the width of both rooms with a door opening into the closet in each bedroom.
There was a full bathroom downstairs.
The upstairs was one big room with one small closet. The walls were finished with a kind of wallboard used at that time. There were two side attics typical of a story and a half home.
The house had steam heat with the big iron registers and a big coal/wood/cob furnace in the basement.
There was a coal, cob, and fruit room and a space for doing the family wash. The basement had brick walls with shelves typical of that period and a high basement drain.
There were two basement entrances, one indoors and one an outdoor entrance with the traditional big wooden doors with cement steps leading to the basement.
The garage was built in 1930, according to the court house. It had double doors on both sides and an enclosed toilet in one corner.
There was a barn, like on many other properties in town.
I have completed some remodeling in my 44 years of living in the house. It has been a very comfortable home for my family and I’m glad I was able to purchase the property from the Deen family.