Saturday, December 29, 2018

Still discovering!

updated 12 January 2019
Photo of Edward J. Webber residence from YouTube video made by current owners Don & Mary Kinzler.

Still discovering! This video is one you'll want to view more than once. The owner, Don Kinzler, narrates. He points out several interesting features, but more meet the eye. What's around the corner? Can't wait to see!

The preservation history of this home has been dramatic. It was originally located in Fergus Falls MN. It is a five bedroom, two and a half bathroom 1896 Queen Anne house designed by Omeyer & Thori, Norwegian immigrants. From 13 August 1982 to 22 May 1992 it was on the National Register of Historic Places.

E.J. Webber residence as located at 506 Lincoln Ave. West in Fergus Falls MN, maybe 1910E. J. Webber residence, 506 Lincoln Avenue West, Fergus Falls, Minnesota
from Minnesota Reflections
Copyright © 2005 Otter Tail County Historical Society; used with permission 4Ja2019

It was the home of prominent blacksmith, horseshoer and successful farm implement merchant, Edward J. Webber. 

young adult Edward J. Webber with mustache receding hairline
Edward J. Webber 2 April 1858 - 12 March 1905
blacksmith, founder of Webber farm eqjuipment, President of Fergus Falls National Bank, Pres. of Fergus Lacking Co., Pres. Fergus Casket Works, joint owner of Manhattan Building
Above from: History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota : its people, industries, and institutions : with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families
by Mason, John W. (John Wintermute)
Publication date 1916
son of French army veteran & Union soldier, born Wheeling IL 1858, blacksmith and later manufacturer of farm equipment

arrived in Fergus Falls 1882, burned out then rebuilt horse-shoeing business, sold it to concentrate on agricultural implements and seeds in 1892 

Bibliographic information:

When the wife of Edward Webber, E.J.'s grandson, died in 1991, the home was moved from its original location by its new owners, Don & Mary Kinzler, to Moorhead MN. As illustrated by one of the comments on the YouTube video, this initial move left some hard feelings in the Fergus Falls community:

"That is the Weber House that was in Fergus Falls Minnesota. It lost its historic house designation when you moved it because you wanted a big house for your children.With that money, you could have replicated this house or build a bigger house.Fergus Falls misses this house and its history!!"

At 5AM on 24 October 2013 an electrical fire broke out on the third floor that damaged much of that floor. Water damage was extensive on other floors. The Fergus Falls Journal reported that the first fireman on the scene was pessimistic about saving the structure.

The Kinsleys, however, did not give up their dream. Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of West Fergus worked with the Kinsleys to restore the residence as closely as possible to its original condition. Challenges faced during the $145,000 restoration included bringing electrical and plumbing systems up to Code, refinishing the oak and mahogany parquet floors, replacing plaster board and lathe with new plaster board and choosing replacement wallpaper in period colors.

>>Those of us fortunate enough to never have had such an experience can get an idea of what it is like by visiting the Paul Davis site that gives fire victims recovery tips. There is also a FEMA publication on the subject. Psychological counseling for victims should be considered. The installation of a fire suppression (usually water sprinklers) system would be advised to prevent extensive fire damage in the first place.<<

Part 1. [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]

Problems surfaced again in 2016 when a flood control project included the property to which the Webber/Kinzler House had been moved. Demolition seemed a possibility just 3 years after the fire damage had been mitigated.

A Dialog with the owner; Comments from the YouTube video at the top of this post provide some additional detail about the 2nd move:

Don Kinzler: Hi. The city of Fargo, as part of its flood mitigation program, provided a buyout, to be used to relocate the home to a new location at the south edge of Fargo. The house moved very well. 
Jeff Diver: ... @Don Kinzler I'm pleased to hear the house was saved. You did a splendid job of preserving it while your family owned it. I'm sorry you had to part with it in order to save it. [They did not part with the home. Turns out I jumped to conclusions!] Will you be moving into another Victorian anytime soon? If so, I hope there will be another video when the restoration is complete! I enjoyed this one very much.
Don Kinzler : Thanks. @Jeff Diver The beauty of this house is that it didn't need restoring, as it was very much in original beautiful condition, never having been remodeled or changed significantly. Even the front screen door is original, and all the door and cabinet hardware. So we are so happy the house could be moved, and even happier yet that we still live in it, as we have for the past 27 years. Thanks for your interest. I would add a photo of the new location, but this isn't letting me add a photo.
Jeff Diver:  @Don Kinzler ...I'm delighted to hear you and your family are still living in the residence. I have had the experience of having a family residence transformed from a private, family-owned space into a public space . The public iteration invariably lacks character in its interior spaces. No matter how much the historic specialists succeed in recreating furnishings true to the time, it never looks lived in. Let's face it, I miss the relatives that used to live there!..."
~ * ~
From the YouTube video, these stills show some of the distinctive Victorian architectural design found inside this home. Doorways on the first floor display elaborate ornamental woodwork:

intricate carved woodwork in lattice pattern with fiddlehead fern embellishments

wood cornice forming diamonds outlined with fancy curves

geometric squares embedded with wheels, spirals; unbalanced with squared detail bottom left and scroll feature lower right

Original light fixtures, some quite colorful, are everywhere:
globe painted with blue parrot, orange flowers hanging from library ceiling in Webber house

antique sconce imitating single candle, metallic finish

Ordinary-looking banister, maybe? Not so fast!

spindle railing with posts topped by carved oak goblets
 Feast your eyes on these banister post details:
fancy oak carving on top of newel post, main stairway, E.J. Webber home
No mere knob atop this post!
silver steel light fixture rises 4 feet or more from newel post at bottom of stairway in vestibule of Webber residence, topped by leaded glass white globe with silvery gray accents
Vestibule light atop newel post at bottom of stairs
Portiere, anyone? Curtains were used in Victorian homes to separate hot and cold zones as well as for privacy. They were used as a substitute or supplement for doors in some locations. Here's an example from the Webber/Kinzler home:

red velvet curatin on wooden rod spans double-door entrance to room off vestibule where antique lamp hangs center ceiling

Meanwhile, you may be walking on individual small pieces of polished Oak and Mahogany, each piece laid by hand into a pattern called a parquet floor.
red oak and mahogany pieces hand laid to form parquet floor in vestibule of Webber residence

Tiles and fancy woodwork adorn the fireplace. Notice the pocket door on the left? They were often featured in homes of the Victorian era.

cornice-like look mantle created in oak over multi-colored square-tiled fireplace surround

Coming, going and just passing by, you cannot help but notice stained and fancy glass:

blue and green stained glass frames central core of lighter glass
Main stairway window

Multi-colored stained glass allows much light to stream through into vestibule
Front entry to vestibule.