This house located at 518 W. Stafford, Stafford, Kan., was built in 1905. The first owners moved in in October, 1905. The Stafford Courier described it as having “all the modern conveniences.” At the time the house was built, Stafford had electricity and the house was wired for electricity only and not for both electric and gas lighting as many were.
Architecturally, the house would be described as transitional, including styles of both the Late Victorian Period and the Neo-classical Period. The Neo-classical Period is predominant in the exterior. The wrap-around porch with Ionic capitals atop round pillars is significantly Neo-classical as is the abundant use of both stained and beveled leaded glass.
The interior floor plan is primarily Late Victorian. The entry of the first floor opens into each room and the second floor stairs are located in the entry. Also each first floor room is accessible to the other rooms without entering the entry. The ability to close off the entire first floor from the entry is a utilitarian design to allow conservation of energy. In the true Late Victorian home there would have been a fireplace in each room for heating purposes. However, by the Neo-classical Period central gravity woodburning or gas furnaces were available and this was the case with this home.
Almost all of the light fixtures in the home are original with the exception of the fixtures in the new bathrooms which were added for the bed & breakfast. The floor plan is unaltered except for the new bathrooms. In 1914, the two story porch on the east or rear side of the house was added. At that time a second floor window was closed and a door was added access the second floor sleeping porch. The first floor portion is the screened porch off of the kitchen. The wicker porch swing is original to the 1914 addition.
The woodwork is yellow pine except for the fretwork and pillared opening between the two parlors which is oak. The ribbon and swag applique over the doors of the first floor is typical Neo-classical as is the egg-and-dart molding over the windows and doors of the second floor. The paneled doors on both floors are unique in styling but Neo-classical in styling. The staircase is an intricate use of wood patterns. The spindles of the banister are four different spindles on each step and then repeated on each step. The newel post is an applique of Neo-classical styling.
The Henderson House was built by John Stephans, who was the head miller for the Larabee Flour Mills, a large industry in Stafford in the early 1900s. Mr. Stephans built the home for his family and apparently he and his wife determined quickly that the home was not right for their family. The Stafford Courier quoted them as indicating that the home was “much too elegant to raise children” in so they traded houses with Mrs. Sarah Henderson in February, 1906. “Bessie” Sarah Henderson, a widow lady, and the two younger daughters (Mary and Lottie) of her six daughters moved into the home.
Mr. Harry Henderson had died of typhoid fever in 1903. He raised horses and cattle and was at one time sheriff of Stafford County. Mrs. Henderson was a Hinshaw and had brothers who were bankers and merchants. From available records, it is apparent that she became a pioneer mortgage banker. Family records left in the home indicate that she made loans on real estate and secured them with mortgages. She was charging 9 to 13 % interest from 1907-1915.
Mrs. Henderson was also an avid quilter and left dozens of quilts as part of her legacy. Mrs. Henderson was my great grandmother (Clare Moore) and my grandmother was Mary. Mary married Charles Moore in the front parlor of the Henderson House on January 1, 1912. Apparently, the bridal bouquet was coming by train from Hutchinson. The train was late so the bouquet was tossed up to a second floor window so my grandmother could carry it down the staircase in the processional.
Also of note was the fact that CharlAlso of note was the fact that Charles was shorter than Mary. To compensate, bricks were placed under the carpet in the parlor so he could stand on them and be as tall as my grandmother. Obviously, this was the only time he was as tall as she.