Tag Archives: Wichita

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Lath and Porcelain – Leftovers From the Attic

lath

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the houses for you and me.
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams  and siding, all parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree.
by the American author, Henry Abbey (1842-1911)
 The second verse of the Poem “What do we Plant?” reminds one of the value of reusing, re-purposing and re-cycling.  These actions honor the source of such things, some element of creation provided the needed ingredient for some aspect of life on earth.  It also reminds me that second and third uses are honorable as well.  It helps make the process of rehabbing and restoring a house more palatable. Believe me, one needs all the help one can get in the midst of the dirt, demo and tedium that follows the initial dream and vision.
The Backstory
We purchased a couple of properties next to our historic house some years ago.  We were not looking to get into the business of being landlords, but when the homes went up for sale, the likelihood they would become rentals was high, so we bought them in order to be the ones choosing our neighbors.  When one of the homes was vacated we began readying it to rent again.  Partway through the process, we decided to rehab it for us to move into so that the historic restoration of our home could proceed without our having to live in the mess and inevitable mayhem.

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The Practicality, Mystery and Beauty of An Attic

attics“As the years pass, I keep thinking that our greatest lack today is attics.  Modern homes never have them, with the result that young people live only in their own generation, feeling no intimate connection with the past.  Their roots will go deeper if their homes have attics?”

from “More Than Petticoats” – the chapter on Maude Frazier, an early Nevada educator

When we were house hunting in anticipation of our move from California to Kansas, I made a list of features I wanted in a house.  One of those was amble space for a proper library for my husband’s bibliophile habit.  We also wanted a home with some history and character.  We were weary of So Cal subdivisions, one story, no basement, no character houses.  It was all so, well, boring!
Our time in Europe had awakened my Kansas need for the character and history of an older home.  Our Realtor understood, and scoped out homes in the older “classic” neighborhoods of Wichita.   She did find it curious that before the kitchen and bath decor or number of bedrooms we headed for the basement and/or attic.  We needed serious space for this library.
Early Attic Dreams
The house I grew up was a two story frame with the second story almost attics like.attics

It had a real attic but it was not usable for anything other than getting to the flat part of the roof.  I was only up there once or twice since it had to be accessed with a ladder from the upstairs hallway, but sleeping among the gables in my second story bedroom brings back cozy memories.

The vision of a proper third floor library, a retreat among books drew us in.  When we first looked at the historic home we eventually purchased, it was the attic that clinched the deal.  My husband’s books still rest in boxes up there, patiently waiting for the home they have been promised.  We have a vision, and even plans drawn up, but other necessary steps seem to extend the path as we travel toward that dream library in the sky.

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Chance Encounters, Connections and History

encounters

Recently while my husband was blowing off our sidewalks, he spotted a gentleman looking over our house from the curb.  This is not an uncommon occurrence, since the house, even in its current “need for a redo state”, is quite striking.  A conversation was begun that lasted, again not uncommonly, for a while. Chance encounters making connections.
It turns out this man had known Dorothy Elisabeth Steinbuchel Wilson Gouldner in her later years as a neighbor.  He was currently reading her book, A Living Gravestone, about the family and the house.  We do not have a house number – this would not have been a part of its original decor – so he wanted to ensure he had the right location.
We shared stories and information and told him of the research I was doing to update and even validate the information in the book.  The Foundations pillar of this BLOG is devoted primarily to that endeavor along with a place to share progress on the historic restoration  when it begins in earnest.
Encounters With New Details
The visitor said Elisabeth was very proud of that book.  In addition, he mentioned that Olive Ann Beech’s daughter helped her to get it to publication.   Hummmm, a detail I was unaware of before, since there is no mention of this in the book by way of  acknowledgment.  I am aware, however, from the book The Barnstormer and the Lady, that Elisabeth’s brother-in-law, Rene Goulnder was Walter Beech’s personal physician.  His signature is on Mr. Beech’s death certificate. Thus the probable connection.

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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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A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

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second amendment

Old Airports and Second Amendment Rights

“Your connections to all the things around you literally define who you are.”  – Aaron D. O’Connell
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Over the years as I drove to and from the east side of Wichita on 13th street, I passed an odd building on the north side of the street next to the Ken-Mar shopping center.  For a while it was something called Sky Bowl, a bowling alley, but has since morphed into a furniture store.  At some point I discovered the building had begun its’ life as an airplane hangar on the now closed Wilson/ Ken-Mar airport. This made sense of the building itself and of the name “Sky Bowl”.  I was fascinated yet sad that a little airport was no more.
Lost Airports

second amendment

There are, in fact, dozens of these stories in an around the Wichita area and well beyond.  I am in possession of a copy of the 1949-1950 Kansas Airport Directory listing the Kansas airports of that time.  The Ken-Mar Airport’s last listing is in this edition, as it was closed around 1950.  What is known of its history, and the history of many other lost airports, can be found at a site:  Abandoned & Little Known Airfields.  The site is maintained by Paul Freeman and a group of other “aviation archaeologists” , on a donation basis.  A true labor of love.
The Second Amendment and An Airport Converge
My husband and I go to the Ken-Mar area for two reasons:  first, one branch of one of our bank is located there and second, it is also the location of the shooting range we are members of:  The Bullseye.
The latter reason is directly related to the Ken-Mar airport since The Bullseye is located in one of the other former airplane hangars.  In 2016 we fulfilled a long-time desire to exercise our second amendment rights.  We acquired concealed and carry permits for handguns.  We gifted each other the class, handguns and the necessary equipment for Christmas. Periodically, we dutifully clean our guns and head to the former airport now shooting range to stay proficient.
When one drives into the residential area, behind the shopping area, the cluster of 1940’s concrete structures makes sense once you realize you are at the southwest corner of what was once the 2600′ north south runway of the old Ken-Mar airport.  I can’t help but look up as we enter hesecond amendment structure and imagine Piper Cubs landing or taking off.  As a private pilot and an American citizen, who cherishes both our freedom to fly and right to bear arms, I find a comforting connection between the two at the Ken-Mar location.
At Risk
I also find it interesting that these two freedoms, rights and privileges are constantly at risk.  They are unique to this nation with roots as deep as her birth and inspired from a profound place.  Exercising these privileges by taking to the sky and through target practice is my personal stand for these privileged freedoms.
Now please excuse me while I go clean my gun and head to the old airport.
Take time today to reflect on one or two freedoms you cherish.  What will you do today to exercise those freedoms?  Please comment below. 
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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How to Rest – Maintaining a Dynamic Balance

restGet away and unplug. You’ll come back stronger than ever.  – MICHAEL HYATT
Summer is halfway over for most of us.  A season that promises recreation, relaxation and rest.  We let go of the frantic demands and structures of the other seasons, and just breathe, right?
As a person who retired from a 38 year civil servant career, most of which was spent in front of a radar screen as an air traffic controller, shucking off structure and stress was my idea of heaven on earth.  It still is, yet at the same time, I was not naive enough to believe the illusion that this kind of place really exists.  At least not for any length of time.  The evidence is everywhere.
For instance, after years of telling airplanes where to be and not to be, I found that true freedom lay in all parties, pilots and controllers, taking intentional actions within a structure is what created a non-stressful air traffic flow.
I find the same to be true in our financial life:  Intentionally creating a budget in anticipation of projected income and adhering to that budget takes the stress out of cash flow.  I am also finding this to be true with time.  Yes, even summertime after retirement.
In all of these examples one must be flexible, and make adjustments for the unanticipated. Building in appropriate margins make even those events a bother rather than a crises.  Why?  There are forces at work to put pressure on the best intentions:

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