Quincy News

Hundreds get glimpse into historic Quincy homes

Crowds of people line up Saturday outside 300 S. 18th during the 2019 Behind Closed Doors Tour, which is sponsored annually by Quincy Preserves. This year’s tour included six historic homes ranging in style from Queen Anne to midcentury modern. This is the 44th year for the home tour, which draws people from throughout the region and beyond to Quincy. | H-W Photo/Ethan Colbert
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 20, 2019 1:00 am Updated: Oct. 20, 2019 1:05 am

QUINCY -- Among the hundreds of people admiring the details of the historic George and Mary Stahl House as part of the 2019 Quincy Preserves Behind Closed Doors Tour were Karen Metzger and Patty Tapp, two Missouri women who stopped in Quincy specifically for the home tour after vacationing at the Indiana Dunes.

Metzger of Fordland has family in Quincy and has previously toured some of the homes included in the tour, but this was Tapp's first home tour in the Gem City. Tapp lives in Rogersville.

"The homes are all unique, but this is probably the grandest of them all," Metzger said, referring to the Stahl House, at 300 S. 18th, which was built in 1894 and 1895 and designed by architect Harvey Chatten.

The house has many unique features including a turret room with large windows that allow light to cascade into the room and Belgian tapestries added in the early 1900s in the dining room that had guests like Tapp and Metzger in awe.

This is the 44th year for the annual tour, which has also been called Behind Closed Doors Tour. Other homes on this year's tour were at 344 S. 24th, built in 1915 and designed by George P. Behrensmeyer; 1435 Ohio, built about 1925; 1452 Vermont, built about 1885 and designed by Earnest Wood; 1237 Park Place, built in 1903 and designed by Behrensmeyer; and 3022 Lincoln Hill NE, a midcentury modern house designed by prominent Quincy architect John Benya built in 1952.

Funds from the annual historic home tour are used by Quincy Preserves to promote preservation education and preservation projects.

The Stahl House left quite an impression on Tapp, who praised how the home's current owners have saved portions of the original wall coverings and have them displayed them in frames along the stairwell going from the first floor to the second floor. She and Metzger said they were also impressed by the woodwork in the home.

Rich Cain, one of the volunteer docents for the Stahl House on Saturday, said the Stahls spared no expense when constructing the house.

"It is clear that the original owners were quite proud of their home and wanted this to be a home that impressed others," Cain said.

The Stahls made their fortune when George invented a 50-egg capacity incubator and founded the Excelsior Incubator and Brooder Co. His patented invention was marketed worldwide. According to The Herald-Whig archives, he is credited with making the first incubator in 1898, called a "Wooden Hen." The business was at 114 S. Sixth.

More than a century after its construction, docent Leslie Loyd said the house continues to impress her.

She said she especially enjoyed seeing how Chatten used both small and large details to tie everything together.

"Homes like this are like a work of art," said Loyd, who teaches English at Quincy Notre Dame. "Yes, homes like this are meant to be lived in, but they are also meant to be appreciated and cared for, preserving them for future generations to enjoy."

To this end, home tour visitors were able to tour the first and second floor of the house but were told that restoration work continues on the third floor where a grand ballroom and servant's quarters are being restored in hopes of being ready for a future tour.

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