Another Friday, another fixer-upper! And what a great piece of Midwestern history do I have to share with you today. An hour’s drive from Cedar Rapids, this Greek Revival beauty in Manchester, Iowa was built as a stagecoach inn in 1856. A stagecoach inn! I’m already hooked. Featuring 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, here are just some of the reasons why I love it.
HISTORY HAPPENED HERE
Approaching this home from Early Stagecoach Road gives you a clue to the wonderful history that lies ahead: original owner Henry Baker built it to serve as an inn for weary travelers passing through by stagecoach. The grounds also provided stables for horses who pulled the coaches during these early years of Iowa statehood. I know if I lived in this house I’d be sharing this amazing history with everyone who came to visit!
GREEK REVIVAL WITH A TWIST
There’s a simple elegance to this house, isn’t there? Its vernacular Greek Revival detailing – down to the brickwork and symmetrical façade – is an early pioneer of the style in this region. It even mixes in a Gothic pointed arch window at the gables. The old kitchen seems to have an original Greek Revival two-paneled door, though it’s somehow found itself upside-down!
Just look at that brick cornice! A lot of time and skill went into placing those bricks in that intricate pattern, and it just goes to show how much artistry and variation you can get with such a simple shape. Brick is also used to practical effect at the fireplace in the former kitchen. Even if I didn’t use it as a working fireplace, I’m just itching to remove that insert at the hearth and have this wall serve as a beautiful backdrop in this room.
A NATIONAL TREASURE
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this home used to be a welcomed resting point for countless travelers. And now? This ol’ gal is just waiting for the right person to pioneer a makeover. Yes, the rooms could use a little help, but it has great basics to get your inner DIYer started. Fix up those dreary walls, polish those wood floors, and be part of Iowa history by bringing this 1850s lass into the 21st century.
Ready to roll up your sleeves? Check out the full listing!
AUTHOR AMANDA DAVIS
Amanda is an historic preservationist living in New York City with a particular fondness for fixer-uppers. She can be spotted checking out quirky historic details here, there, and everywhere in her handmade dresses. Every time Amanda sees a cozy room with large windows and beautiful built-ins she can’t help but imagine her very own sewing nook with oldies music playing in the background.