Adobe house gets a makeover
Named one of the eight wonders of Kansas architecture by the Kansas Sampler Foundation in 2007, the Peter Paul Loewen house in the Hillsboro museum complex is set to undergo needed repairs.
Better known as the Hillsboro Adobe House, it was built in 1876 on a farm southwest of Hillsboro. It is said to be the last remaining clay brick structure constructed by immigrant Russian Mennonites left in North America.
Earlier this year, the city received a $69,000 grant from Kansas State Historical Society to pay for improvements on the 141-year-old building.
Cracked stucco and plaster, loose masonry in the root cellar and chimney, and rotten wood window frames and doors will be replaced. Lighting will be upgraded in the house and barn.
Gutters will be installed on the barn, and a sump pump installed in the cellar.
“This work will keep the adobe house in good condition so that visitors can enjoy it for decades to come,” director Steve Fast said. “Most of the work being done is cosmetic, which shows how well-built the house was and that adobe is actually a very durable building material.”
Stones from the original cellar line a new root cellar that was dug when the house was moved to Hillsboro in 1958. Water seeps through seams in the rocks, which is causing the house to settle and some of the rocks to fall.
“I wish they would have never put in that root cellar,” Fast said. “This fix will be temporary. It will have to be redone sometime in the future.”
Fast said local contractors were not interested in bidding on the project. Masonry work is being done by Dillis Owen of Wilsey, and windows and doors will be redone by a Newton firm.
Work is expected to take two to three months. Meanwhile, the museums will stay open, although some parts will be temporarily closed.
Museum hours are 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and by appointment at (620) 947-3775.
Last modified July 19, 2017