Couple to remodel historic stone home
Tobe and “Red” Moore were camping with their family at their new property off Sunflower Road when a man stopped for some information.
Greg Kite of the Historical Preservation Alliance of Wichita and Sedgwick County was inquiring about the 19th century stone home located on the property just south of Marion on Sunflower Road.
“Kite said he had been watching the property for years and was wondering what our plans were for it,” Red said. “He was hoping that plan wasn’t to tear the house down.”
The Moore do not intend to tear down the house. They plan to restore it to its original state, with the exception of the kitchen, and live in it.
“According to Kite, if we were to remodel the house, the historical society would match our amount spent up to 50 percent,” Tobe said.
According to Tobe, people inquire about the house all the time.
“I’ve had several people offer to buy it,” he said. “They’ve asked to take pictures of or with the house. Even old owners have approached us with photos and stories of what the house used to be like.”
The first step, Tobe said, is to get the house registered with the historical society and figure out what rules to follow to meet remodeling requirements.
“I retire in a couple of years,” Tobe said. “We plan on starting any work then, if I’m crazy enough to continue to let Red talk me into it.”
The couple currently uses the property for family functions like annual holiday campouts.
“We’ve cleaned up the outside, and people have been using it as a picture location. We’ve used it for our family photos this year,” Tobe said.
The house was named Riverside Home because of its proximity to the Cottonwood River. The Moores bought the property mostly for hunting and fishing.
At the sale, they received a packet of photocopied documents containing deeds dating to 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant first deeded the property to Evin Hoops.
“I think there are 42 of these documents all-together,” Tobe said.
The documents do not reference a house being on the property, so Tobe does not know when it was built. He guesses it was sometime around 1883, because of a drawing and a journal entry by property owner at the time Joshua Peers.
“The time on the drawling fits the same style of other like buildings in the area, so I believe it was built by Peers, but I can’t be sure,” Tobe said.
The house was built in the same style as the Historic Elgin Hotel in Marion, built in 1886.
It features hand cut stones with ornate carvings, a large wrap-around front porch, an octagonal room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a full basement.
Tobe said he tried to buy the property from Leland Seifert after the Moores sold their house at Marion County Lake in 1999.
“He was angry at the county for not allowing him to put a trailer house on the property to live in while he redid the house,” Tobe said. “So he didn’t want to sell.”
Tobe built their two previous houses. Red said she had complete faith he would fix Riverside Home.
“It’ll take a lot of money and a lot of work,” Red said. “But I really want to restore the house to what it used to be, with modern conveniences, of course.”