The Frank and Emma Voightmann lived this home in 1890 when little else existed in the area. The developer of the area, William Henry Cairnduff, announced his development in 1888 and the Voightmann’s home is shown on his 1890 map. The original address was 2717 Charlton. There was nothing between this home and the lake and this home must have been a beautiful sight for buyers who came to look at Cairnduff’s development. The basic design of the home is original though the home has evolved over the years with addition of numerous decorative elements. Inside you will see early photos of the exterior. From the front there is large full front porch with a wrap around on the north side that faces the side yard. The columns are a variation of the classical Ionic design. The façade is decorated in small strips of wood that are called stick style. This is one of only a few buildings in Edgewater with this detailing. The glass and wood front door opens into a small hallway. The ceiling painting in this space is original to the house.
The inner door has a beautiful stained glass in an Art Nouveau design. It opens into what would have been reception hall that had been altered to be a library with a built in bookcase. The bookcase blocks an arch that once led to a hallway to the kitchen. This change was done in 1905 by the original owners who had had success as window manufacturers and wanted to improve the look of the home. Frank Voightmann was listed in the 1900 census as a cornice maker. The name of his firm was Frommhold and Voightmann. The wood in this room is quarter sawn oak. The fireplace is part of the original home which had three fireplaces for one chimney to help heat the home. From this room you can see an original stained glass in a more Victorian style on the landing of the staircase. The home also has the original top nailed flooring with inlaid woods around the edges of the room.
Although it is impossible to list all the changes the Voightmanns made, it begins with the addition of quality woodworking like the built in bookcase. Note also the beautiful newel post. Woodwork was added to the ceiling with beams and panels. The pocket door exhibits a change in treatment from the oak wood of the library reception hall on one side the more refined mahogany on the parlor side. In the parlor where there was once a fireplace there is now a large mirror that was added in 1917. Throughout the home you will find many beautiful pieces of furniture which fit the time period of the home.
The dining room is finished in what could be called mission oak in a dark stain. The dining room has a squared off bay window typical of the Eastlake style of the 1880s. Above the table is a replacement light fixture that was both gas and electric. The room is edged in a plate rail and the ceiling is beamed. A third fireplace is in the corner of this room. Off the dining room is a small porch that opens to the side. At the time this home was built the only transportation would have been by horse drawn carriage or train. Mr. Voightmann commuted by train and may have left the home by this side entrance to walk across fields to the train stop at Bryn Mawr.
From the dining room there are two doors, one to the back hallway and the back stairs and kitchen. The other doorway with an original wooden screen and colored glass leads to a bathroom. There had once been a small butler’s pantry in this hallway. The kitchen has been remodeled by the Sterns by enlarging it into the attached porches. The expansion to the north porch has become the sink area. The backsplash is decorated in historic tiles that the current owner found while visiting antique shops and estate sales. The ceiling and walls in this room have been paneled in rough finished wood that gives it a rustic feeling. The flooring is newer oak. The back door was also a salvage find. The windows and doorways have bull’s-eye moldings that were found by the current owner and refinished to match the originals in the home.
Take the staircase to the second floor and see the bedrooms which are open. Each one has a distinctive flavor. In the master bedroom there is a second story level of the bay in the dining room. There is also an original light fixture and a dressing area with closets. One bedroom serves as a guest room and one serves as a small library and office. Another is set up with vintage furnishings. Return down the front staircase to the front porch.
The Voightmann family lived here until the 1940s when the Gans family bought the home for back taxes and Mrs. Voightmann and her son Leslie lost the ownership of the home. The Voightmann family had lost money in the stock market crash and Mr. Voightmann had been assured that no one would ever come after him for the taxes he could not pay. Mother and son simply could not leave the place and moved to the coach house. In the 1960s, the Gans family sold the home to a realtor who resold it to the current owner, who had fallen in love with the house before they saw the inside. Along with the house they also got Leslie Voightmann, who was still living in the coach house. He remained there until he died. The grandson of Leslie Voightmann recently visited the home.