Category Archives: Foundations

Adventures in the historic restoration of Maison Steinbuchel’ stories of the families who lived here and the convergence into the 21st century

Grosspapa’s Passing – A Lesson In Loss and Life

grosspapa'sGrief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life. – Anne Roiphe
Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark and our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.
We recently learned of the passing of Mark Joseph Steinbüchel.  He was one of  house’s last namesake to have lived here and was one of the grandson’s of Marie-Louise and Herman.  We met he and his brothers Max and Mike when they dropped by a few times.  If I have the family lines correct, there remain three siblings who lived in this house.
Dealing With Death
I am not fond of dwelling on death.  My Christian faith and world view regard it as simply a departure.  Yet once we walk this earth, no matter how visible or widely known that life is or is not, it matters.  It made an impression.  In fact, as I look into the Steinbüchel and my own family’s history, the more I realize the impact one single life makes.  It is for this reason, I take time to piece together the footprints left by those who have gone before.  To uncover the lost or buried stories and retell them.
For the Marie-Louise Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel story, my go-to guide is an out-of-print book by Dorothy Elisabeth Steinbüchel-Wilson-Gouldner, A Living Gravestone.  She was the daughter of Herman and Marie-Louise.  On page 66 of the book, there is a section, “Grandpapa’s Passing”.  Sometime in 1900 Bernard Steinbüchel became bed-ridden.  She describes his last days and the times she sat with him.  He lived with his two daughters at a house at 11th and Main next to where Elisabeth and her family lived at the time.

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Butterflies at Maison Steinbuchel – Monet in Kansas

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore
Every September I am enamored with the convergence of all matter of butterflies on Maison Steinbuchel.  The flurry of peaceful activity brings out the child in me as i stand right in the middle of my flower bed and let the joy of these flying flowers surround me.  It lifts my soul and cleanses any drudgery the day may have brought.
The season begins in May and June when the bleuet or cornflowers,  whose original seed I purchased at Monet’s garden in Giverny France. begin to bloom.  By July 4th these have faded and multicolored zinnias, who also originated from M. Monet’s garden, begin their season.  I do not plant these each year as seeds from the previous year emerge on their own.  I simply carefully remove spent flowers, unwanted weeds and grass.  Among side the zinnias, rouge lemon basil also grows.  This combination seems to appeal to butterflies, since they come in droves.
Of course there are bees and even birds, all enjoying each other’s company while keeping my nearby veggie garden pollinated and reasonably pest free.
Butterflies and Purple Things
There is also a walkway, made up of 4 inch thick limestone slabs.  It’s plantings include:
  • purple mums brought from our California garden when we moved here in 1988
  • sweet potato vines from the Flower Ranch
  • Texas sized coleus from the Flower Ranch
  • creeping thyme step-ables from local garden centers
  • native phlox – a gift from a neighbor
  • zinnias that self sowed
  • rose moss that self sowed
The butterflies also enjoy this area, and our cats sit for hours entertained by the flying flowers.
As summer winds down and autumn begins to show herself, the butterflies represent, that although a winter rest is coming, spring will again come forth from the seeds being sown. They too will return.  For now, I sit and enjoy their beauty.
The music in the video can be found on iTunes.  Search for Into the Street by Chris Christiansen
If you want to enjoy this little bit of heaven on earth make a plan now to create your own garden next spring.  To learn how to make your own butterfly garden you don’t have to get seeds from France.  I suggest P. Allen Smith as a resource.  Once established, it takes minimal effort to maintain.
Please comment below on your impressions of this “impressionist” garden!
easels

How To Turn A TV Stand Into Wooden Easels

Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage. – Julia Cameron
I have been working on my vision boards.  I keep them simple using foam core boards from the Dollar Store.  However, I grew tired of them sitting on the floor in the corner and falling over.  I decided I needed a couple of easels to put them on, so I consulted my go to idea place, Pinterest.
All I needed were three boards, a hinge and something to rest the pictures on.  I was pretty sure I had all I needed in my stash of reclaimed materials and hardware.  As I was letting the idea percolate, I spotted an old TV stand that had belonged to my husband’s grandmother.  We  used it for a number of years as a TV stand, but those days were gone.  The stand was was collecting dust looking for a new life.
Easels Made Easy
As I looked it over, I realized it had all of the elements I needed to make two nice wood easels.  No cutting needed.  I used every part of the stand except the shelf that was below where the TV sat.  The shelf will no doubt find a new home in another project.

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Was ist das Steinbüchel? (What is this Steinbuchel?)

A peoSteinbuchelple without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.   Marcus Garvey

I have been diving into the histories of the families which converged into one and eventually made their home at Maison Steinbüchel, the Kansas Historic Landmark where we have made our home since 1988.  I am grateful for the personal history put together in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Wilson Guldner, the daughter of Hermann Joseph Steinbüchel of Cologne, Germany, Marie-Louise’s second husband.  In 225 pages she covers, to varying degrees, the family history from the 1100’s up to the death of her mother in 1947.

Stories are Gifts
Elisabeth wrote the book to her grand-children for several reasons:
  1. To compile family documents and record stories as she recalled them.  Reading the book is like having a conversation around a fireplace, as you took a walk or even worked on some task in the kitchen or garden, with her.
  2. To honor her son who died in WW II and never found.  There is a sense of her processing the last of her loss by preserving his story and the story of his family.
  3. Lastly, a third reason, which I doubt she had any conscious intention of:  To provide valuable information on which the basis of an Historic Designation might be granted to a  significant property.

 

As current owners and caretakers of this house, this book provides invaluable information from which to draw on.  What a gift.  The book is a perfect example of why we all, including you, should record in some way, your stories.

Was ist das Steinbüchel?
Pages 10-20, of the book, are devoted to the Steinbüchel ancestry.  At the time of the writing in 1973, the author simply compiled the information at hand, written and oral.  It appears to be fairly accurate, as far as it goes.
Googling  “steinbüchel” today, a wide variety of things pop up:  family names, German businesses, streets, a village and maps, etc.  So what is this Steinbüchel?  (Was ist das Steinbüchel? – imagine said with a German accent.)  It is in fact, both a family and a place – or really, places.  Unfortunately there is no Steinbüchel beer…yet.

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Education

Education – The Stackman-Steinbüchel Children

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious – Albert Einstein on Education

Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark and our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.  I have been digging into the details of the three family lines that converged and lived

Education
Mt. Carmel Academy was enlarged twice, but each addition mimicked the style of the original building of brick and stone, resulting in one large cohesive structure. Image is from an original postcard.

in this landmark. The life of this blended family is told in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, Herman’s daughter.  Other posts have outlined their journey to Wichita as well as Herman Steinbüchel ‘s parallel journey to the area.

References to the education the children received in early Wichita are scattered throughout several chapters in the book.  Education is about much more than mere knowledge.  It’s impact rests on the how, where and who did the educating as much as what was studied.
Between the two marriages there were six children born.  A daughter born to the first marriage died in infancy.
Education In The Early Years

The Stackman-Steinbüchel children’s education began at home with a governess.  Little is known about who this woman was, her exact duties or for how long she worked with the

Education
Parochial School Pro-Cathedral Church, Wichita, KS

children.  Poking around census and city records has not revealed any details and likely will not, as the records of the 1890 census were for the most part, destroyed in a fire in 1921  She is mentioned only once in the book when when it was stated that Marie-Louise had tried to play match maker with Herman Steinbüchel and her at one point.

Their Grammar school education was received at the Pro-Cathedral school at second and St. Francis.  It was run by the St. Joseph Order of Nuns.   In looking at this Order’s roots from France, I can’t help but think of the European influence and no doubt having some French spoken among the sisters would have connected Marie-Louise’s language heritage to her children’s daily life, if not her Lutheran faith.

 Middle And Upper School Education

At some point when the household was becoming rather over grown with five children, it was decided the three older ones would be sent to boarding school.  The two girls were enrolled at Mt. Carmel Academy on the western edge of then Wichita.  Friz, (Frederick Charles) was taken to the Catholic Christian Brothers in St. Joseph. Mo.

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A Blended Family: The Steinbüchels and Stackmans

“Sometimes love isn’t fireworks, sometimes love just comes softly.”
― Janette OkeLove Comes Softly
Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark, our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.  I have been digging into the details of the three family lines that blended into one and lived in this landmark.  The life of this blended family is told in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, Herman’s daughter.  Other posts have outlined Marie’s marriage to Peter Stackman, their journey to Wichita as well as Herman Steinbüchel ‘s parallel journey to the area.
The time-line of Herman’s journey to Kansas where he met Marie-Louise
1867 – Left Cologne, Germany and traveled to New York with his brother and sister, Karl and Josephine
1867 – Worked on a farm and in a Syrup factory in New Jersey
1870 – Moved to Kansas
1874 – Became a Citizen of the United States – applied for a Land Grant in Kansas
1876 – Became the agent for the German-American Life Insurance Company for the state of Kansas
NOTE:  The dates above are from a combination of the book and Bureau of Land Management Records.   When dealing with family histories, dates do not always line up. There are no doubt other records that could more precisely validate Herman’s movements, but that effort remains for a future date. 

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How Does An Abstract Preserve History?

Abstract: condensed history, taken from public records or documents, of the ownership of a piece of land.

preserveWe have the original abstract of our Kansas Historic Landmark home dating back to the land grant of 160 acres from the Osage Land Trust.   It’s existence serves to preserve history far beyond  the handing off of property ownership.

In past BLOG posts, I have told how three individual lives, immigrants from France and Germany, converged in Wichita, Kansas.  How, through love, hope, taking risks and even tragedy ended up as three blood lines merged into a family for which the Steinbuchel house is named.

It took eight-teen years from the time the land was acquired via land grant, divided, plated and developed until 1905 Park Place was built in 1888.  It was another nine-teen years before the blended Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel family made it their home in 1907.

Land Trading and Transfers
The land grant was to Mr. George Sharp in 1869 with the final document signed By President Ulysses S. Grant on April 15, 1873.  Over a period of 18 years the land was divided, sold and eventually plated into the city of Wichita.  Imagine, 160 acres less than two miles north of downtown Wichita!  During those 18 years, the land sales and transfer went something like this:
  • 1870 – Land designated for grant from the Osage Trust Lands which were bought in 1820 via treaty
  • 1873 – 160 acres, which included the land our house is on, was granted to Mr. George Sharpe
  • 1871 – 40 Acres of the original grant was sold to Mr. William Polk
  • 1872 – A portion of the land was sold to to Doc Lewellen – the same Lewellen who had the trading post a few blocks south.

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A Vertical Garden for Maison Steinbuchel

The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.  
Kayla Mueller

For over a ycompostear I have had an image in my head of a vertical garden at the back of one of our lots.  One problem:  there were four bins of compost in the spot where this needed to go.  The bins were in bad shape and needed redoing, and moving it would be a big job.

With all the gardens and a yard that surround our Historic Home along with the houses we have incorporated into the “estate’, we have a lot of yard waste.  We use a composting mower for the lawns but there remains the leavings of:
  • flower beds and borders
  • rose gardens
  • a secret garden
  • an herb garden
  • a kitchen garden (the French call it a potager)
 and of course trees.  Lots of tress.  So we compost.  I do not fuss over composting, just chuck the yard debris into the bins and let mother nature do her thing.  All that turning and churning defeats one of the main benefits of composting:  saving labor.  With compost bins at hand there is no:
  • bagging and dragging garden leavings for trash pickup (not to mention the extra cost of bags and hauling)
  • bundling of limbs and branches (we have a muncher shredder to speed up the process)
  • tramping to the garden center to lug bags of compost home – it just waits for me in my bin until needed.
 We started over fifteen years ago by building Four 4′ x 4′ x 4′ bins out of scrap lumber and old wire fence.  It served us well.  We even moved it once and did a bit of shoring up at the time, but the time had come for a fresh start.  The bins needed redoing and I needed this spot for my vision.  This moving a 16′ x 4′ x 4′ compost pile was a process.
 We built new bins out of pallets in a different location.  It took thirteen pallets to do what compostwe needed.  We also built two solid wood bins to hold the already composted soil.  The soil was sifted from the old bins into the new ones, then the old bins were torn apart.  Most of this weathered wood is set aside for some pallet shelves.
The Vertical Garden Comes to Light
With the bins moved, we were then able to build the vertical garden using (of course) stuff we had on hand:

compost

  • T-posts left from other projects (5 x $3.00)
  • Four weathered pallets left from the old bins (4 x $5.00)
  • Screws and hardware from our stash ($25.00)
  • A mixture of hanging baskets I have managed to accumulate over the years, and (of course) ($30-$60.00)
  • composted soil and plants

Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

hospitalityHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,  Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1
The concept of hospitality has a much higher meaning than is commonly thought of today, at least in my part of the world.  Although the everyday application remains valid, it lacks the depth of its’ original intent.
True hospitality is personal.  Its requires effort and energy, commitment, an awareness of other’s needs, preferences and desires – even unspoken ones.  This goes well past the hospitality industry, e.g. hotels, restaurants and other home away from home establishments.  Although once staying in a hotel adept at hospitality or eaten in a truly hospitable restaurant  you do not forget the experience.
Hospitality Is An Action
I have had such opportunities and it is nourishment for the soul and body – and generally a bit of a shock to the wallet!  Still, there is something special about feeling, well, special. Here is a description of  what I am talking about from a review of Hotel Dina in Greece:

“In the evenings, if she saw us sitting outside, she’d pull out an unlabeled bottle of local white wine, pour us each a glass and leave the bottle or grill us up some octopus. A little pat on the shoulder for me in the afternoon, a fresh towel at night, a cup of Greek coffee in the morning. Everything Dina did seemed to be touched with a sense of grace and humor. She was as warm as the sun on our yet-to-be-burned shoulders. The words she spoke to me weren’t necessarily understood, but her meaning was always clear. “You are most welcome.”

The Greeks have a word for it, but don’t they seem to have a word for everything? In this case, the word is philoxenia. Philos= love, xeno= stranger. Essentially, the word means “hospitality” but that definition is too facile. One enters a Greek household and one is immediately offered a drink and something to eat. Taking care of a guest’s wants and needs is deeply ingrained into the culture. There is a sense of generosity that seems completely unstrained. As a guest of Dina’s, even though this was ultimately (and I do not mean this cynically) to be. a moneyed transaction, I found her kindness was not something that was paid for. My stay with her completely refreshing in every sense of the word. I felt restored. And I am most grateful.”

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The Value in Leftovers

I enjoy re-doing and re-making things.  I always have.  Using leftovers, taking what is on hand and making something useful again:

  • Whatever I might have in the pantry or frig becomes a one-time kind of meal.
  • Scraps of cloth become a comforter, pillow or something for the wall.
  • Scraps of wood become art, wooden trays or even furniture.
Things that began life as one thing are “up-cycled” into a new life.  So where did this tendency come from?
The Why
For me, some came out of necessity.  Using and reusing was a way of life in the world I grew up in.
  • Dad, an auto salvage operator took old cars apart.  They were scrapped out for usable parts and metal.   Some parts were refurbished and resold, others just reused as is on another vehicle.
  • Clothes were re-done and handed down.  If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).
  • Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds (no pesticides were used!).
Today, it is called being “green” by recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing.  For us it was being practical and frugal.  We were not poor, we just conserved cash for what only cash could buy avoiding the waste of things and time.  In my small town there was retail, but not the Walmart kind of retail.  Many things had to be acquired through mail order catalogs or we made the occasional shopping trip to “the city”.
The DNA
In addition, there was my grand-parents farm where nothing was wasted.  Even what did go into the trash was used as fuel for the stove.  Paper, bits of wood and anything that would burn would make it into the incinerator.  Along with some of the methods used by my parents, my grand-parent’s cows, pigs and chickens ate, in addition to their regular feed, vegetable and fruit scraps.  The dogs and barn cats  were glad recipients of meat scraps and bones (after they were boiled for broth, of course).  Bailing wire was the all purpose duct-tape for farm machinery (until a proper repair could be made).  Well, you get the idea.
New Is Good Too!
At the same time, I do not consider myself “cheap”.  I enjoy nice new things.  I have some of the finest Irish China, French and German crystal and German flatware there is.  We only use it a few times a year and I do not feel one bit guilty about it.  None-the-less, that thing in me that is profoundly satisfied when an old object is remade and given new life is undeniable.  Aside from the practical aspects, there is actually a deeper root to all of this.
Divine Leftovers
It is found in the two stories of multiplying loaves and fishes as told in the Gospels*.  In both cases after the multiplication had occurred and everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus had the leftovers gathered up and collected.  Why would the Son of God who had just multiplied food do that?  To show off?  Not really in his nature.  To give a sign to the disciples of God’s ability to provide?  Perhaps.  The answer is in the text:  Jesus said:  “Gather up that which remains so that nothing is lost.”  Jesus did not want to waste the leftovers!  Wow, what a concept.  God, who created everything, does not waste, even leftover bread and fish.

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