If Walls Could Talk: Treasures in Doctor’s Home Memories | New


* Fourth part of a series

Gothenburg’s rich history is kept alive, in part, by the takeover of many of the city’s original structures. The Victorian homes built by many of the early settlers in the community have remained intact and, in some cases, restored to their original glory. One such house is located at 1402 Lake Avenue and is owned by Jenny and Alan Daup.

The house was built by Perry Emmitt Plumb, better known as Dr PE Plumb. Jenny has a photo of Dr. Plumb and his wife taken outside the house in the late 1800s, a gift she treasures as much as the stories that accompany it.

“The story we were told was that he lived in St. Louis and his wife was at least partially African American. He was white, and it wasn’t well accepted, so they thought they were going to come here and start afresh in a small town that was just getting started,” Jenny explained. “The house was completed in 1899, and we were told they had moved in and still weren’t very well accepted, so she finally came back. You didn’t divorce at that time. So, the story was that he had a housekeeper who stayed here with him.

The house remains where it was originally built and looks very much like it did in Dr. Plumb’s time. “He was the kind of doctor who went to people’s homes and owned the first automobile in town – an 8 horsepower Knox automobile which he bought in February 1902 for $1,199. But he only lived in that house for about 10 years and then he sold it,” Jenny said.

The information Jenny has accumulated shows that Ms. Plumb’s name was Carrie Eldrige and that she was from Wisconsin. Dr. Plumb sold the house to the Hyde family, and they retained ownership of the house within the family for 70 years.

“I got to know some of these family members, and they shared many memories of family reunions here,” Jenny said.

At one time, the upper floor of the house was separated from the lower floor and rented out to provide additional income during the Depression years. “When we moved in, you could still see where a kitchen was in the second residence up there,” she added.

After seven decades of ownership, the Hyde family sold the house to Bob and Jean Rowan who lived there for 30 years before selling it to the Daups in June 2008. “So we’re only the fourth owners, so it’s rather cool,” Jenny said with a big smile.

She gets excited as she shares the story of her beloved home and says she feels honored that her family is now included in this story. When she and Alan bought the house, their goal was to restore it while maintaining modern conveniences. All the woodwork had been painted, multiple times, so they took on the task of stripping it all.

The woodwork is all hand-carved, and one of the highlights of the house is the inlaid parquet flooring in the dining room. As the Daups began renovations to the house, they discovered a treasure trove of artifacts. Old medicine bottles and containers from Dr. Plumb, garden catalogs with notes Mrs. Plumb wrote about the flowers and plants she wanted to furnish her new home, and much more.

“One thing we found was an old inkwell that must have been placed there, as it was in the wall between the plaster and the lath,” Jenny explained. “It was just sitting in there so I think someone put it there almost like a time capsule. We also found tobacco pouches in the walls, a canister of women’s powder, old tokens department store – it was so cool.

Jenny said one thing she and Alan eventually want to do in the house is open up the stairs, where there used to be a built-in hutch. “When we pulled this out, we found an envelope from Miller & Paine behind this built-in, and inside was an order form for the draperies along with a list of all the flowers and bulbs she wanted” , she enthused, saying that was her favorite find. “It is addressed to Mrs PE Plumb. So when we ordered our flowers, we tried to match them as much as possible. »

Since owning the house Jenny and Alan have replaced the windows which they have matched as closely as possible to the originals. They installed all new wiring, new insulation, new drywall, new plumbing, and a new heating and air system. After encountering foundation problems due to drought, the couple chose to raise the house and add an unfinished basement.

They are currently in the middle of another master bedroom renovation project and adding a master bathroom on the second floor. “We tried to keep everything looking original with all the comforts we needed,” Jenny said.

The house originally had four bedrooms on the second floor and a men’s living room and a women’s living room on the ground floor. All four sides of the house originally had a porch. The original driveway of the house consisted of two strips of concrete along the north side of the house.

“I love history and always wanted an old house,” Jenny said. “This one didn’t go to market; someone told us it might be okay, so we arranged to see him privately. I walked in and didn’t keep a very good poker face. But we have the house.


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