April 30 Ottawa home tour explores history, restoration process

Built in 1899 by Lyman and Ida Reid, this Italian Renaissance Revival house is only the second private residence in Ottawa to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently being renovated by owners Cathy and Wayne Duderstadt.

Franklin County’s most recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places will be open for a special tour on Sunday, April 30. Tours of the Reid-Duderstadt House, located at 306 South Elm in Ottawa, Kansas, will be available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Franklin County Historical Society.

Unlike a typical home tour held after a historic home is already restored, the April 30 tour is an opportunity for those interested in architecture, home restoration, and local history to see a restoration in progress. In addition to the guided tour, members of the Duderstadt family will be on hand to answer questions about decisions they’ve had to make and challenges they’ve encountered. They will also display some of the house’s architectural treasures, like pieces of woodwork, French style clay tiles, and original fixtures.

A Neglected House

When Cathy and Wayne Duderstadt bought the 1899 Italian Renaissance Revival House, there was a bathtub hanging through a first-floor ceiling.

“We could see daylight through one of the walls,” said Eric Duderstadt, Cathy and Wayne’s son.

After serving as a family home for decades, the house at 306 South Elm sat empty and neglected for several years. A variety of animals were nesting in the house. A long-leaking roof damaged ceilings and walls. As the city began to discuss what to do with the property, the Duderstadts came to the rescue.

“My mom has admired this house for years,” Eric said. “We lived nearby and walked by it all the time.”

When the Duderstadts bought the house in 2015, they wanted to save not only the house, but also the house’s story. Along with evaluating the house’s many needed repairs, they began researching the house’s history. Earlier this year, the house became the second private residence in Ottawa to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the Grandest Houses in Ottawa

Ida and Lyman Reid, original owners of the house at 306 South Elm in Ottawa.

The house at 306 South Elm was considered one of the grandest houses in Ottawa. Built by Lyman and Ida Reid, construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1899 at a cost of $18,000. The Reids came to Ottawa from Ohio with the hopes of improving Lyman Reid’s health. Lyman worked as a bookkeeper. Ida hailed from the Warden family of Pennsylvania, which had connections to Standard Oil Company.

The construction of the 6,000-square-foot house was closely followed in the local papers, which listed those involved in the house’s construction—from the contractor (O.W. Uhrich) to the plasterer (Charley Rowland) to the plumber (A.P. Elder) to the frescoer (A. O’House)—by name. Notably missing is the name of the architect. The house is credited to Clarence Washburn, son of famed Ottawa architect George Washburn, but this detail cannot be definitively proven.

In its day, the house was admired for its quality, modern conveniences, and good taste. Despite its recent state of neglect, the home’s good bones remain. Woodwork in cherry, walnut, oak, and pine still trim the house. Original gas fire places, mantels, the grand staircase, gasolier lamps, stained glass windows and Lincrusta wall coverings remain astonishingly intact.

FCHS Fundraising Tour

Eric Duderstadt stands next to one of the Reid-Duderstadt house’s stained glass windows.

“Under Renovation: The Reid-Duderstadt House Tour” is offered as part of the Old Depot Museum’s current exhibit, Historically Significant: How History Shapes Us, Our Communities, and Our Future, which is on display through May 14. Tickets for the house tour are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Old Depot Museum or online at https://squareup.com/store/old-depot-museum. Ticket holders will also receive free admission to the Old Depot Museum that day. For more information, call (785) 242-1250. Please note that because this is a tour of a private home, visitors should be prepared to climb stairs, and the house is not accessible by wheelchair or baby stroller.

Founded in 1937, the Franklin County Historical Society strives to preserve, present, and promote the history of Franklin County. The Old Depot Museum shares the history of trains in small towns as well as the history of Franklin County. It is part of the Franklin County Historical Society.

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