By Debbie Godwin
The residence at 501 E. 11th Avenue, located on the corner of Andrews and 11th is estimated to have been built around 1895. The first known owner was a Lewis Brown. Not much is known about him, but it is thought that he rented to roomers.
The Kygers moved into the house around 1910 and lived there until 1966. Edgar Kyger came from Indiana with his father and brothers in 1883 to establish a furniture business in a building next to the Lagonda Apartment location, and then later moved the store to where it stands now on 921 Main.
In addition to the furniture store, they had an undertaking parlor next to the old Opera House and another furniture store in Blackwell, Oklahoma. Kyger graduated from the Chicago College of Embalming and was an embalmer, licensed by the Kansas State Board of Health.
Kyger was very striking in appearance. A quiet man, he was interested in the community. Participating in several organizations, he was a prominent member of the Oddfellows and Masonic fraternities and held many state offices. He was an active member of the Methodist church and at one time was the church school superintendent. He died at a late age of a heart attack.
Mrs. Clara B. Kyger was a very conservative woman. She was a prominent member of the Rebekahs and for a period of time was the state president. She saved a lot of odds and ends and kept several scrapbooks for the Rebekahs, Oddfellows (which she later donated to those organizations) and a family scrapbook. Unfortunately the family scrapbook was lost recently. Mrs. Kyger was also an active member of the church. There is presently a quilt at the National Historical Society with her name embroidered on it, that the church had made for a friend.
Mrs. Kyger's activities included riding her bike to Oxford to give piano lessons.
The Kygers traveled quite a bit, attending lodge conventions all over the state of Kansas. They had two daughters named Kathryn and Margaret, who both had birthdays around Valentines Day, and their parents would string valentines around the house to celebrate both their birthdays with a large party.
Kathryn attended Northwestern of Oklahoma majoring in dramatics and public speaking, a very outgoing young woman. She met and married a major in the military at a Chautauqua convention and the presently have established their home in Jackson, Mississippi.
Margaret Kyger married a man by the name of Veatch and the Kygers built a home for them behind their house on Andrews. Mrs. Veatch took over the furniture store after the death of her father. She has one son, Kyger Don Veatch, who is presently running the store with the aid of his two sons, Richard and Timothy. Mrs. Veatch is retired and presently lives in Winfield.
Mr. and Mrs. Kyger rented their spare room to adults, mostly women school teachers. One former resident of the Kyger home is Helen Johnson. She came to Winfield in 1944 and lived in the house for 14 years. She taught English and Spanish in the high schools for 38 years. Miss Johnson's office was in the basement of the house as it was convenient for her to type during the late hours without disturbing the rest of the household. She often held Spanish plays in the basement for her Spanish class. Miss Johnson resided in the north room along with a roommate. She said that on stormy nights Mrs. Kyger would often fix dinners for all of the roomers, otherwise the residents cooked for themselves.
The year Miss Johnson arrived was the year of the flood. She said the morning during the flood's beginnings, Kyger left to see what damaged had occurred at the store and didn't return for three days because the floodwater had risen so quickly.
Mrs. Kyger was a very generous woman when it came to giving to others. Her house was well furnished and she had a fine set of silver and china. She often encouraged her residents to have parties, while they were away attending conventions, and let them use this fine dinnerware.
Mrs. Kyger survived her husband and died at 93 years of age. She had such a collection of things that it took three days for movers to throw collected items out the attic window into trucks. However, Mrs. Kyger often said that her family wouldn't have been all well off as they were if it wasn't for her thriftiness.
Because of Kyger's occupation, the house was exquisitely furnished. During the fifties Mrs. Kyger had blond furniture and later furnished the house with Peace period furniture. Some of her furniture is still stored at Kyger's Furniture store and won first prize on display several years ago during the Winfield's centennial.
On the first landing of the staircase was an old grandfather clock, but the only furniture sold with the house was the hand carved oak piano and Tiffany glass lamp in the dining room.
The original state of the house was similar to the plan of the Everly's house, which is standing at the southeast corner of 11th and Andrews. A round porch was torn off in the 1920s and the present one added in its place. Also built on during this time were an upstairs sleeping porch in the back and a small porch in the back on the main floor.
The downstairs front porch was furnished as a living room during the summers and during the winters the furniture was stored at the store. The sleeping porch had four beds and the back porch downstairs was furnished with a table and cot. These areas were for the purpose of cooler sleeping during the hot days of the summer.
When the porches were added on, a small half was constructed on the main floor adjacent to the back porch, with unique french doors.
The house design is of a combination of Colonial and Georgian influences. Originally there was a lot of gingerbread trim on the eaves and there is still a touch of carpenter's Gothic on the front eaves. The exterior of the house is painted white with shutters. The present porch is of the 1920s and has a flair of the Georgian era.
Beside the front door is a stained glass window and on the west side of the house is another one, both of which are still originals. The front door has a beautifully ornate leaded glass window in it's upper half. There is a large bay window on the west side of the house with two large evergreens decorating the sides. The yard was probably landscaped by the Kygers and at one time had several elms. There is a hedge between the neighbor's house on the east and an ivy vine on the east of the house covering the chimney. There is an old hand pump between the house and the garage in the back. The interior of the house has the typical high ceiling, characteristic of the 1800s.
On the main floor the staircase had two landings with a banister made of walnut. The floors are oak with a concentric square pattern. The kitchen in the back has a floor with four inch boards probably of walnut and a small corner area used as a breakfast room. Adjacent to the kitchen is an office area with sliding doors are of walnut with beveled glass in the upper halves of the doors.
There is also another set of walnut sliding doors separating the drawing room from the parlor. Oak columns, of the unfluted Doric style, supported by the bannister, semi separate the drawing room from the dining area. The front area of the main floor, a second set of these oak columns and banisters separate, the foyer and the parlor.
Bruce and Veda Rogers are the present owners of the house. They bought the house from the Kygers in 1966. Interestingly enough, they also have two daughters named Kathryn and Margaret, and also a very nice young son named Christopher. The family is in the slow process of restoring the house between running the Vassor Playhouse in Vassor, Kansas during the summer and teaching music in high school and college during the winter. During the summer, they rent the house to college student to help them pay on the mortgage. This past summer I had the honor of being one of those college students, along with four other girls.
The house is presently furnished in what the Rogers affectionately call antique junk. In the parlor is a large old ice box from the Bretton Hotel, which closed in 1969. Mrs. Rogers has refinished this and Mr. Rogers turned it into a cabinet for his stereo equipment. Also in the parlor, the piano the Kygers sold with the house is kept in tune and played on occasion.
The drawing room has been converted into a television room and it is furnished with a small upright piano. There is a window seat on the east wall beside the fireplace which doubles as a woodbox, both of which are original. Built into the north wall is a walnut bookcase with doors of beveled glass to close it off.
In the dining area is a swinging door which separates the kitchen from the dining room. Along the north wall is a built in walnut china case, also with beveled glass.
There are two sets of staircases, one in the kitchen and the other in the foyer, both which lead upstairs and to the basement.
The basement is divided into three areas . As one goes down the front stairs, one enters an area that has always been furnished as a den and was for the use of refuge during the severe storms of the spring.
The middle section has an old steam heating furnace, which is still used, and has pipes that are functioning. This area is presently being used as a workshop by the Rogers. However, it was at one time the room Miss Johnson used as her office.
The back room was and still is a laundry room. A still utilized laundry chute has openings in the kitchen and the upstairs bath.
There was at one time a bathroom in the basement which is still marked by a hand pump in the utility room.
Upstairs there are six rooms; four on the east side, are all connecting, two with french doors of the twenties. All of the rooms have large walk in closets.
The north room is presently the master bedroom and it has a small dressing room, unique to the rest of the house. The Rogers have tastefully redone the room by painting trees on the walls and shutters by the large bay windows.
The middle room in the east side is the largest and the north is the smallest room. All of the bedrooms were papered in 1910 and again when the Rogers moved in
Adjacent to the west room is the bathroom. It has been remodeled into what appears to be a stage frame over the bathtub.
Next to the bathroom is a staircase leading to the attic and the kitchen.
Most of the door moldings are of oak with a plain design, typical of the 1800s. All of the woodwork is still original and has been kept in good condition.
This house has always seemed to have been a happy home for all of its occupants because of this it has proven to be a very enjoyable subject to study.
This appeared in the "Winfield Daily Courier" newspaper in 1976. Written by me as an assignment for a class called The History and Architecture of Winfield Kansas. It was my senior year at Southwestern College and I had my heart set on going with the rest of the biology majors to Florida on an Oceans project for some fun in the sun while camping out at various beaches studying the flora and fauna of the Atlantic. However, the dean notified me I was a few credits shy of a social science course and so I had to make the painful decision between going on this great trip or graduating with my friends. To my great astonishment the history teacher submitted this paper and one other I did for her class that is quite interesting, ( I'll write it up at a later date), to the local newspaper who published it in April. It was very wonderful to meet and interview the people of the Winfield community gathering all of the information about this very remarkable house. They were mostly elderly and I tried my best to include all of their recollections. I lived in this house for three summers and my room was the sleeping porch which caught the most beautiful breezes on summer evenings while I read Agatha Christie mysteries and James Herriot veterinarian escapades. Sadly, the Rogers' daughter Kathryn died suddenly in her sleep one night of a brain aneurysm at the age of 17. Her room and my sleeping porch shared a set of french doors which we would leave open and talk to each other before falling asleep. There were usually four other roommates who shared this great and wonderful house with me. Singing wild songs in the piano rooms or sharing delicious meals in the warm yellow kitchen, we enjoyed many fun summers there making up ghost stories about Mr. Kyger, the undertaker, while we waited out tornado warnings in the spooky basement by the monstrous boiler and I heard more than one roomie giggling in the bathroom when for the first time they opened the shower curtain to see herself reflected in the mirror as if she was naked on a stage! I've typed the text and paragraphing as it appears in the original newspaper. When my dad heard that I do some writing here at E2 he dug these articles out of his files and mailed them to me. How wonderful that he would save them all these years, he must have been very proud of his daughter getting her papers published in the newspaper.