Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The English Mansion

The English Mansion is located in the only residential historic district in Sioux City, Iowa, called Rose Hill Historic District. It is one of the largest and best preserved homes of its style.

1894 - Designed by architect William McLaughlin, Elzy G. Burkham had the home built. The original address was 1449 Douglas.

After 1894 - The address is changed to 1525 Douglas.

1897 - The house is sold to Jacob Stackerl.

1913 - Catherine Stackerl, daughter of Jacob married Odil English and inherited the home. This is where the mansion got its name.

1994 - The mansion is bought by George and Cynthia Wakeman and opened a bed and breakfast.

1995 - George and Cynthia turned the mansion into a bed and breakfast.

1998 - The English Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2005 - The Wakeman's closed the bed and breakfast and reclaimed the restored mansion as their personal home.

The architectural style involves more than one type. Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Romanesque and Rococo Richardsonian.

The interior boasts 7 original untouched hand painted murals, original woodwork. pocket doors, original front stair case, fluted columns and a conservatory room on the south side of the house.

The mansion has 3 floors. The third floor has a beautiful ballroom. There are 5 bed rooms and 3 baths on the second floor. The master suite has its own private bath. The lower level has a 6th bed room and a bath, full kitchen and the conservatory.

Some notable exterior features are the first floor arch windows, decorative foliate detailing over the front porch and conservatory and fluted ionic columns. The original carriage house is now attached to the house with a covered porch or breeze way and used as a garage.



Addition to Sculpt Siouxland

Two new pieces to the sculptures on 4th Street in downtown Sioux City for the Sculpt Siouxland art work:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Founding Father's at a sporting goods store.

Flanking the outside entrance of a sporting goods store in Sioux City, Iowa are 2 of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, they were also the first two Presidents of the United States, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Both are sitting on their own bench, George is to the left and Thomas is to the right of the entrance as a person approaches the building from the outside.

George is holding and looking at the first page of the U.S. Constitution and Thomas is holding and looking at the first page of the Bill of Rights. Next to each seated statue is a large plaque with facts about each founding father.

The sporting goods store in question is a chain store called Scheels. The Scheels store in Sioux City is one of the anchor stores at Southern Hills Mall. This blogger inquired with the employees of Scheels about the statues. They advised this blogger each of the Scheels stores has 2 different Founding Fathers or historical people of the United States at the outside entrance. This blogger looks forward to visiting the different Scheels stores within a 200 mile radius to see which historical figures are on display.

George Washington

Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Warrior Hotel

On the NW corner of Nebraska and 5th Streets in downtown Sioux City sits a beautiful Art Deco style building called the Warrior Hotel. At the moment it is empty, it has been since the mid 1970's. The building has an interesting history in Sioux City and has been through many owners.

Part of the buildings interesting history is from the mid 1950's. Near or at the end of McCarthyism there were a couple of children murdered in Sioux City. The murders were thought to have been committed by a sexual predator. The moral majority in Iowa, charged by the events of McCarthyism, passed laws stating if a person did things outside of the social norm, like listen to the Liberace Show, they could be charged with a sexual crime if suspected of such a thing, even if what ever crime they were thought to have committed did not have any sort of sexual behavior as part of it.

The event that occurred in the mid 1950's after the second child was found dead was police rounded up what they called the "usual suspects" that were thought to have been a part of Sioux City's almost "invisible" gay community, from a place called the Tom Tom Club, which was in the Warrior Hotel. The Tom Tom Club was thought to be an "unofficial" gay bar or club. These men were sent to the state mental institution at Mount Pleasant, Iowa. After the doctors there figured out there was nothing wrong with them they were released, but the damage to their reputations by the moral majority in Sioux City, Iowa had been done and even though they did not commit any crime a lot of them left Iowa, never to return.

The future of the Warrior Hotel is unknown and uncertain. At one time it was thought it would be turned into low rent apartments or even retirement apartments. For now this beautiful building stands empty.

Architect's Biography:
The architect of the Warrior Hotel was Alonzo H. Gentry. He was well known for designing hotels. Alonzo used different styles of architecture. Art deco, beaux-arts, renaissance revival, art moderne and chicago school. Born in Independence, Missouri about 1887 he has many buildings to his credit. The Harry S. Truman library in Independence, the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, the Truman Library along with several hotels, the Warrior Hotel included. Alonzo passed away in 1967.


1930 - Constructed as the Fontenelle Hotel.

1931 - Became known as the Warrior Hotel by the time it opened.

Mid 1930's - Eugene C. Eppley purchased the Warrior. It became part of the Eppley Hotel chain.

Mid 1950's - Police arrested about 20 gay men who frequented the Tom Tom Club, located in the Warrior Hotel because they were thought to be suspects in the murder of a child at the time.

1956 - Eppley Hotels sold the Warrior to the Sheraton Corporation of America, after which time it was called the Sheraton-Warrior.

Late 1960's - Sioux City contractors Joseph and Frank Audino purchased the hotel and renamed it the Aventino Motor Inn.

Mid 1970's - The Aventino Motor Inn closed and the building has been empty since.

1985 - The Warrior Hotel building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

December 1996 - The Sioux City City Council approved the demolition of the building.

1997 - A lawsuit filed to prevent the destruction of the warrior Hotel succeeds.

Web sites:
Emporis - Warrior Hotel
Nebraska St Walking Tour
Owners of Warrior Hotel dispute city claims

Oddball Iowa: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places

Trickle-down McCarthyism