The original owners of this beautiful home were the Benz family, who built the home in 1896. The current owners learned this when the grandson of Albert and Mariti Benz stopped by to see the old homestead in 1990. He later sent photos and a letter telling some of his memories.
It is clear when you first see it that this home is a treasure. The original porch on the front of the building had turned wooden spindles. What remains today are the pillars holding up the roof in the turned wood style. To the right of the door is a beveled glass which lets in light and creates a prism effect. The oak door is original. It opens into a vestibule that still has its gas fixture. To the right of the inside door is an elegant stained glass window. The central hallway opens onto two parlors. To the right was the formal parlor, which has an oak fireplace surround for the gas fireplace. This beautiful fireplace was designed with Ionic columns and ceramic tile in light turquoise glaze over a Beaux Arts design of plants and a vase. The large front window lets in a lot of light. In fact this is a house of light.
In the second parlor is another large window and a second fireplace that has been converted to wood burning. This would be the family parlor because it is connected to the dining room. The floors are top nailed in an inlaid design. This design goes around the edge of the room. A carpet would have been used in the center just like the current owners have done. As you enter the dining room, you will see the six panel pocket doors.
Off the dining room, there is an additional room on the south side of the house which was built as a solarium. The floor is zinc and there is evidence of a radiator of some type. There is also a water pipe to make taking care of the plants easy. The solarium has been adapted to showcase some collectibles.
The dining room is large and has oak floors. In the corner is a built-in hutch with a scroll detail. The dining room has a lovely large window overlooking the backyard. The door at the back of the dining room leads to the butler’s pantry. The wood had been painted and has been restored to its original natural pine. This passageway leads to the kitchen and has windows facing the backyard. The current owners have taken some time to plan the kitchen which had no counter space when it was built. With the help of a son-in-law, they have created some wood cabinets and counters. The floor has been restored to its original maple with a natural finish. An eating alcove has a paneled wainscoting. One wall of the alcove once held a window which opened into the back hallway. That hallway was lit from above as a way to get natural light into the kitchen. As you leave the kitchen you will see the back hallway and staircase with its beautiful turned wood railing.
Back in the front hall, you may go up to the second floor. There is a unique landing and small bench before you ascend. It was probably set there to allow for changing boots as there is no wall space in the central hall.
The staircase in natural wood has turned wood spindles. At the landing are two windows with colored glass. These once held stained glass that was falling apart when the current owners moved in. On the second floor, you will enter a central hallway with five rooms and a bath opening out from it.
All the original doors and moldings are preserved on the second floor. The doors have six panels which indicate the early date of construction. Each room has two windows, except where the window faced the apartment building next door. That apartment was built on the land that once belonged to this homestead. The land was probably sold in the 1920s. In addition to the rooms on the second floor, there is a staircase to the third floor. Through a system of windows in a closet, there is natural light in the hallway and staircase. This must have been a wonderful house for the owner’s family to grow up in. And now the grandchildren get to enjoy it too.