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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

May 7 Historic House Tour offers house genealogy

Monday, April 25, 2011

An upcoming historic house tour will offer a way to learn local history as well as architecture.

The Plymouth County Historical Museum and the Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission are teaming up for the 12th Historic House Tour in Le Mars set for Saturday, May 7.

For a $10 donation, visitors will have an opportunity to tour four of Le Mars' historic houses at their own pace.

Tours start at the museum, where tickets will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

A new feature of the tours this year will be a luncheon offered at the Le Mars Art Center for an additional fee.

The genealogy of a house is great fun to follow, according to Iris Hemmingson, Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission member and researcher for the homes on the tour.

Not only are houses fun to study architecturally, the people who lived in the houses are equally interesting. This year is no exception, according to Hemmingson.

Each of the houses has a mystery within its features. Commission members hope visitors can help solve these mysteries.

The Jerry and Audrey Scholten house at 25 Sixth St. N.E. was built by the Dalton family, very early important English citizens who worked in the banking industry as well as being among the early movers and shakers of Le Mars, arriving in 1873, according to Hemmingson.

The elder Dalton had purchased the stucco house to the east, which was the original Peter Gehlen house, where the first Catholic mass was held in 1870. Daltone began in the coal business and then later owned the Plymouth County Bank, which evolved into the First National Bank. His two sons followed him into the banking business and built the two houses to the west of their parents.

Many may remember the house when it belonged to John and Alice Alesch or Paul and Patty Olson.

Only four families have resided here in its 110 years of existence.

The Peggy and Bob Worden house, 231 Central Ave. S,W., may be best remembered by recent area residents as the Astorbilt, though that restaurant lasted only a couple of years.

To an older generation, it is remembered as the beauty shop operated by Nellie Wells Chenhall, who ran her salon in the front parlor, and then, opening the huge sliding doors between the salon and her dining room, invited her patrons into her living quarters for lunch.

Before that, it was lived in by the Keenan family; Mr. Keenan was a lawyer, and this house figured prominently in the farm riots of the 1930s. But, long before that, was the Spring Family, who probably built the home in 1879 and kept it in the family for 30 some years. They sold furniture, among other things.

Teresa Koopman lives in a 2-story brick cottage by Cleveland Park, at 120 Sixth Ave. S.E., which has its own unique history. Koopman purchased the house from her parents, and has lived in this house nearly all her life. It was likely built as a spec. home sometime between 1910 and 1924. It has a very interesting floor plan and many exceptional features, including the atypical stoop and the novel second floor gable toward the park. The original kitchen is intact. An upstairs bedroom exhibits a storage seat made of huge boards, measuring 18 inches wide and more than 8 1/2 feet long, which had to have been hoisted up before the walls were enclosed or the stairwell built.

People who have traveled Fourth Avenue Southeast probably noticed a corner house at 401 N. Lynn Dr., currently owned by Glenda Drennen The semi-circular room catches your attention, as well as the multiple corners of the brick home.

Designed and built as a retirement home by Henry and Edythe Eilks, it is well suited for couple living.

Drennen moved into this home with her husband, Bob Drennen, who was a local dentist and a person many people will long remember.

This house was built in 1951 and has only housed two owners. The kitchen is still very 50s in nature. The original single space, double-deep garage opening off Fourth Avenue was converted into a studio for Drennen, award-winning water colorist. The present garage was added a few years ago on the North Lynn side.

The Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission will host the Chamber Coffee this Wednesday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Jim Flaherty Insurance, 124 Plymouth St. S.W.

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