Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Thomas P. Kennard House in Lincoln, Nebraska

Thomas P. Kennard was Nebraska's first Secretary of State, and his1869 Italianate home is the oldest structure still standing on the capitol city's original plat. The house was open to the public last December, and I loved revisiting. Stepping through the front door was an exercise in time travel to this historical novelist. To get an idea of the "buzz" that this house would have created when it was going up, take a look at the photo to the right, which shows a view of the house from the new state capitol building. Would you say that locating a state capitol in this place was an exercise in faith in good things to come? Can you imagine moving to this treeless plain from Indiana? I wonder at Mrs. Kennard's reaction. I wonder if she ever climbed the winding stair (or ladder) to that cupola and looked East and longed for home. And trees. I wonder if I'd been

I love taking advantage of the opportunity to see this lovely old homes and to imagine the lives of those who lived in them. That's my granddauhter heading up to the front door.

The corbels and other architectural elements on the exterior are lovely ... but I'm glad it isn't my job to keep them painted!

The first thing I noticed stepping inside was how very dim the lighting was compared to what I'm accustomed to in 2015.

Isn't that walnut bed gorgeous? I love everything about this room ... the burled walnut headboard, the hair wreath in the oval frame on the opposite wall ... and the very early treadle sewing machine that is just out of sight at the lower left of the photograph.  The needlepoint upholstered chair is sitting at that machine. I have a needlepoint chair from that era that belonged to Jennie Venetress Kingsbury, my husband's grandmother. I did the needlepoint on the chair, and I can see it just over the top of my laptop screen as I type this blog post.

I have a pair of redwork pillow covers like those on the bed as well that I enjoy sharing with folks when I give a quilt history program. Mine are dated 1869.

And here's something that makes me want to go back to this house ... do you see the date on the drop of the bedcover? I didn't even see that when I was standing in the doorway taking this photograph. Is that date stuffed work? I don't know ... but if my eyes aren't fooling me, that date is 1869. Who made it? For what special occasion? Inevitably, a visit to a house like this fills my mind with questions.

Do you love visiting historic homes? Do you have a favorite memory?