11 Singleton House
Bed and Breakfast

11 Singleton St.
In the Historic District
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
800-833-3394
info@singletonhouse.com

 

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HISTORY of houses @ #11+9

Singleton Street is the only street in Eureka still retaining only original Victorian houses. 11 Singleton, built in the 1890's, is Queen Anne Victorian in style. By 1892 a city fire map showed the foundation at 11 Singleton St. (the two story part with the right wing by the wraparound porch) and by 1905 the left side was added on as an apartment and was showing up on a map. It appears that the Kennedy's had renters early on.

It's neighboring house 9 Singleton was showing on city maps by 1905. Both buildings were built by the Kennedy family, mostly by Fred Kennedy who was a carpenter according to the census.

Fred C. Kennedy was born ca. 1860 in New York & died January 23, 1914 at 54 in Eureka Springs. He married on May 14,1902 his first wife, Pearl Ingle who was born in Indiana and died Aug. 9, 1910 at 28 in Eureka. He remarried June 9, 1910 Mary Riley born in 1855 and after Fred passed she must have remarried because she died Mary Riley Kelley Jan. 12, 1933 at 78 in Eureka Springs. Fred and both wives are buried next to each other in the Odd Fellows Cemetery here.

Marriage records:

Western District Carroll County

book/page    groom                        age    bride                     age     marriage date

W 3 189        KENNEDY F C         40      INGLE PEARL         21      5/14/1902    

W 4 316        KENNEDY F C         49      RILEY MARY          45      6/09/1910

Fred's brother, George B. Kennedy, was born in Illinois ca. 1868 and died August 10, 1931 at 63 in Eureka Springs. He is also buried in the same cemetery. George was a "Woodman of the World" and played trombone in many of the local bands. George was a barber by trade. George was married to Bertha who played the piano. She died Jan. 26, 1958 and is buried in Eureka next to her husband. George and Bertha's son, Ivor George Kennedy, was born October 6, 1891 in Sheridan, Illinois.

On the 1900 census, George and Bertha Kennedy, with son, George, lived in Earl, La Salle Co, IL. Bertha's parents were both born in Germany.

A roster for the Missouri National Guard on the Border at Ancestry.com. The whole several hundred-page book is online. The entry for George I.(Ivor) Kennedy reads: Private, Headquarters Company, 2d Missouri Infantry, June 27, 1916. Mexican Border Service. Private Headquarters Company, Missouri Infantry, June 28, 1916. Second Class Musician September 1, 1916. First Class Musician December 28, 1916. Mustered out January 13, 1917. Links to Ancestry .com for George Ivor Kennedy, George and Bertha's son

Now the really interesting part. The previous service listed on his registration form translates as 8 months with the Missouri National Guard, 2d Infantry Regiment of the US National Guard on the border. The National Guard was called up to guard the US border with Mexico in 1916 following Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus NM. The 2d Mo Infantry served in the area of Laredo Texas. Musician First Class is a rank indicating he was a good musician.

According to Ancestry.Com...
On 5 June 1917, George Ivor Kennedy of 36 1/2 Spring Rd, Eureka Springs, Ark, registered for the WW1 draft. He listed that he was born October 6 1891 in Sheridan, Illinois, was a musician employed by the Commercial Club (now the Chamber of Commerce) in Eureka Springs and that he had previous military service as a Musician First Class serving "8 months with Missouri 2 Rgt NG US on the border. He was described as of medium height and build, with blue eyes, light hair and not bald.

When he returned from WWI Ivor moved to Pawhuska Oklahoma. On the 1920 census, a George I. Kennedy of the right age, born in Illinois, was living with his parents-in-law and his wife, Mary, in Pawhuska, Osage Co, Oklahoma; his occupation was a cabinetmaker and Ivor had a millwork shop called KING and KENNEDY (Jas R King, George I Kennedy)...Planning Mill, Sash, Doors and Blinds (1925 phone book).

On the 1920 census, there is also a listing for KENNEDY GEORGE I (Mary; King Kennedy), r806 Leahy

On the 1930 census, there is still a George I. Kennedy in Oklahoma, but now married to a woman named Helen. He was still a cabinetmaker.

In his later years he moved to Rt 1 East 19th St., Stillwater Oklahoma. Ivor never made it to his plot in Eureka's cemetery that he had paid on for years.



             Restoration:
When I purchased 11 Singleton in 1983 it was a tri-plex. There was only one sink on cast iron Victorian brackets hanging in the hallway upstairs and no baths upstairs. There were 3 baths & 3 kitchens downstairs, one for each of three units...the left hand wing, right hand wing and the two story section. The first toilet in the building was definitely there by 1919 according to a previous tenant, Mary Jane Fritsch (photo at left at age 6 and 100), and was located in the back storeroom where the tiny middle window faces the balcony/garden and was shared by all 3 apartments by the addition of rear access doors so everyone in the house could get to the only toilet in the house. At this point a porch was add onto the back of the house connecting the left apartment to the right side in back to access this toilet. Later in the 40's the first full bath, which was shared by all three units, was added at the foot of the stairs in the middle two story part of the house. In 1984, I tore out the wall between the kitchen and front room and added a bath upstairs with the pipes coming down through the wall next to the chimney. Both houses built by the Kennedys were built with square nails and FULL 2x4s milled locally. Square nails were found throughout both houses in all walls that were opened during renovations.....even up the interior stairwell. Then the walls were covered in wood lathe and plaster then some rooms with wallpaper.

The stained glass doors that replaced double windows in the kitchen were built in 1984 by Larry Williams, a neighbor. All the original interior trim is from our local Perkins Mill and was still intact but painted a smoky green when I purchased in 1983. A blow torch was used to remove most of the paint on the trim. The house still has the original window sash locks and exterior doorknobs which can be seen in old Sears' catalogues. The floors downstairs are pine and had layers of paint on them. When the paint was removed, the floors showed that worms had eaten the wood. A couple of interior designers have offered to buy the downstairs pine floors, send a crew to tear them out and replace them for me just because this naturally distressed wood is very rare.

The original turn of the century house color, olive green, can be found in the attic over the left side of the house but it never showed up anywhere else. I think there was dogtooth (looks like pointed teeth) trim/molding on the header boards that connect the columns because there was a lot of this trim in the basement and it fits into old paint marks overhead perfectly.

11 Singleton probably had a larger kitchen since the inside stairs were not in the present location. The pine flooring runs under the stairs and in the closet of the right hand unit....Look in the plumbing access door of the right hand unit. We have used some of this wood for patching the soft pine floors. A former tenant said that the room in the front bay window area used to be the dining room.

When I wanted to stencil the interior painted staircase, I was flipping through a 1902 Sears Roebuck Catalogue to get an idea about stair runner designs from the Victorian era. On page 499 to my disbelief was a full page of barber shop equipment including pieces that matched the bottom of a tall piece of furniture which I was now using as a bookcase in my parlor. When I first bought the house the wooden piece was painted that same smoky green color and was located in the kitchen filled with a colorful assortment of glassware. In the catalogue it is called a "dressing case" priced @ $8.40 if you order it with a marble top. Then about two years later one of my B&B guests said "Look, there's your furniture" in the bank calendar photo of George in his barber shop...there was the bottom of the cabinet in my parlor. SEE TWO PHOTOS

Info for future buyers:
All the new wiring that went in 1984 is labeled in the attic and the basement with a permanent marker. Duct work has already been installed for future central ac/heat. A vertical chase runs from the attic to basement....look for the nail hanging down from the left basement ceiling that is the center point of the chase which is in the corner of the left front room. A central heating unit should be able to go up into the attic on the left side very easily. The finished right side attic room with the balcony can be ducted with flexible duct from the peak of the roof showing inside the attic....it still has wooden shingles on it....just have to break through...then duct over the hall to the peak of the jacuzzi room in the finished jacuzzi room.

All the water in the pipes can be drained by areas...so you can drain just the left side or just the upstairs attic or just the upstairs bedrooms, etc.....just follow the labels hanging from the pipes.

The most interesting photo find was when Maria called me and said that a photo of George Kennedy in his barber shop (dated 1912) was in the 1989 Bank of Eureka Springs calendar. SEE PHOTO

In the spring of 1984, the first thing I did was hire someone to haul away all the stuff in the basement. It was full to the ceiling in some parts and I wanted to be here just in case something important showed up so Rex Gentry from Berryville brought a HUGH truck and parked it out in front of the house for a week while we sifted through everything. There were hundreds of Readers Digests and I still try to keep old Reader's Digests in the guest rooms as part of the house's history. The first item that was found was a turn of the century glass doorknob which was in good reusable condition when cleaned up and probably came from the house.

Cleaning out the basement was not as rewarding as I had hoped until the last day when we discovered a handblown turn of the century milkglass walking cane in perfect condition. There is a Victorian walking stick collection in a Chicago museum and a few in the Pioneer Museum in Golden Missouri. The cane was found under the left side of the house against the rock wall under a pile of old lumber where an exterior staircase was previously located. How it survived all these years is amazing. It's hard to imagine a glass walking stick being used in Eureka's rocky terrain.
"If Walls Could Talk" taped an episode #1508 on 11 Singleton House and every time there is rerun, I receive phone calls, with new information to add to the story of our history....... A man from Berryville contacted me saying he inherited a glass cane from his grandfather and thought it was given to him like a medal after the Civil War.

A letter received from a cane collector in New York:
"... It was so exciting to find out that your glass cane, an elegant piece of American folk art, has not been broken, and is still intact after about a century of resting on the basement floor. I am pretty certain that your cane is an American Glasshouse Whimsy circa no later than 1920. This type of folk art has also been referred to as a Glasshouse Whimsy, End-of-the-Day, or South Jersey glass. Early American glass dates back as far as the 1700's. In fact, the first successful American glass manufacturing house was in 1739 in Salem County, New Jersey. Even the Corning Corporation dates back to the early 1800's with the Champlain Glass Factory in Vermont, and the Redford and Redwood in New York. Your cane would have been created when glass bottles and windows were made by hand before the invention of the automatic bottle and window pane machines and the introduction of them to the glasshouses between the 1890's and 1920's.

The white nailsea stripes/loops make it all the more rare and beautiful because the gaffer took his time and they were very difficult to make. It is unlikely that this hand-crafted cane was used by a sick or physically challenged person. These ornate canes were created as decorative show pieces by gaffers (glassblowers). The gaffers proudly marched with them in parades, hung them over doors and windows to ward off evil spirits or traded / sold as collector's items by these working class men when desperate for money or drink. They are extremely fragile, especially the hollow ones, and some glass canes are very difficult to handle because they are so long or too top heavy. I collect these and other early South Jersey type glass whimsical pieces, and have attached a copy of a page from a book that shows early gaffers holding their parade canes. Up until recently, it was almost impossible for an owner of a glasshouse whimsy to trace which early factory a particular whimsy came from. Unless documentation of origin could be provided, the authenticity of a piece of early American glass has been subject to an expert, collector's, or appraiser's opinion. Only a few gaffers signed their pieces or were well known for a signature style, and only a handful of early American glasshouses were known for a particular style, color, or grade of glass. Dr. Victor Owen, a geologist at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been analyzing samples from collectors' pieces and comparing and contrasting them to sand and rock samples from the regions where glasshouses were located. His work has been featured in the Canadian Journal of Archaeology. His methods have been criticized by some collectors because it requires a minute scraping from a piece, and some feel it is a damaging process. Others feel his methods could prove authenticity and or frauds (reproductions made to look old).
The attachment was scanned from page three of the 1989 book, Glasshouse Whimsies, An Enhanced Reference, (Library of Congress Number 89-82380) written by Joyce Blake, and Dale Murschel for informational purposes only, as it is copyrighted information. The book indicates that the photograph is of the collection of Christopher Davies. You might also be interested to know that Joyce Blake also wrote Glasshouse Whimsies in 1984 (Library of Congress Number 84-91118). On page 25 of this book, a glassblower shares how the canes were made in an interview with the author's husband. On page 46 of the same book, an interview with a different glass worker, it is explained that the canes were very difficult to make. There is a wonderful article entitled "Whimsy" Cal Thoughts written by Leonard Blake for the National Antique Bottle-Jar Show which was presented by the Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs in August of 1980, and reprinted on pages 65-66 of his wife's book. The article talks about the use and rarity and of the canes. The article also specifically mentions the hollow canes with bulb tops. If yours is still completely sealed, the interior may be coated with a chemical such as mercury (BE CAREFUL), or the dust of gold, silver, copper, salt, or plaster. It also mentions that despite the extremely challenging hot and humid working conditions of the glasshouses, the gaffers still took time during their lunch breaks and at the end of their shifts to create these splendid works of art." N.H.

EUREKA'S HISTORY on CANES:


Canes are not unusual here, even now. Historically the first welcome booklets in Eureka told all newcomers arriving for the "cure" to buy a drinking cup and a walking stick. Visitors did a lot of walking and a lot of drinking from Eureka's many healing springs and a lot of people got cured. There are archived photos showing cups hooked on men's belts and both sexes using canes and walking sticks. SEE PHOTO


Under an attic floor board in 11 Singleton we found: Two small porcelain doll heads and one glass doll leg, a 'Catch Kick' wooden mouse trap, one metal roller from a piece of furniture, 3 cardboard Ripley Dairy milk stoppers from glass milk bottles. Ripley Dairy was on Pivot Rock Road and family members still live in Eureka today plus there's a sign on a tree., the heel of a small shoe, a dried up small bottle of cement glue, a small bottle of liquid glue labeled the "Strongest adhesive known", a metal bobbin with thread, an amber bottle full of tiny white round pellets and a cork top. The label is hard to read Starts with ACO??? 3 (Luyties) and says "Acute inflammations of all tissues; fever; dry skin; rapid pulse; restlessness; spasmodic croup; congestive headache; cold in the head;congestion of lungs...It also has the dosages. These items either fell through the wide planked wooden floor or some might have been brought in by a packrat years ago.
 

Other items found:
*Exterior photos of 11 Singleton dated 1969. SEE PHOTO A Victorian silver locket with fancy letters was found in the garden. The first letter looks like an "E" *Teen romance letters, dated 1952-53 +old gas bills sent to Mae Johnson who lived in the house dated 1956 +a photo labeled on the back "Hazel Hampson, your tenant for 3 years" 1968. SEE PHOTO


A neighbor, Marie Dobbins's husband, Glenn Nelson wrote saying that he had stayed at 11 Singleton as a guest during the depression in the 30's when he visited Marie. Another clue that the house was used for lodging. Marie's father would not let her marry Glenn because they were not the same religion. Glenn went to Missouri and married someone else. Marie never married. After Glen's wife died he drove through town in 1984 with his daughter who suggested giving Marie a call. They finally married when she was in her 70's and he packed her up and moved Marie to Missouri. He sent me a photo of himself with Marie Dobbins when they were young. SEE PHOTO


My biggest resource of information came from Marie Dobbins, a neighbor just two doors uphill from me. Glenn Nelson wrote me saying that he had stayed at 11 Singleton as a guest during the depression in the 30's when he visited Marie. Another clue that the house was used for lodging. Marie's father would not let her marry Glenn because they were not the same religion so Glenn went to Missouri and married someone else. Marie never married. After Glen's wife died he drove through town in 1984 with his daughter who suggested giving Marie a call. They finally were getting married when she was in her 70's and Glenn packed her up and moved her to Missouri where she became Marie Dobbins Nelson. Marie wanted to keep her house in Eureka and come back when the fall leaves are so pretty but Glenn made her sell everything. After she left, she wrote me every time she thought of some new information on the Kennedys and without her letters, I would not know much about my original owners..


Glenn sent me a photo of himself with Marie Dobbins when they were young.

SEE PHOTO

Photos that Marie Dobbins Nelson sent to me:
__________________________________
Photo of George Kennedy and his wife Bertha. The back is labeled " Mrs. Dobbins.....'Prof'& Mrs. Kennedy about to render "When You & I Were Young Maggie". Bertha Kennedy is seated at the piano with George Kennedy standing holding a trombone. In the background you can see trim from Perkins's Mill around a doorway. SEE PHOTO Looking through a magnifying glass at the many photos on the wall I saw our band shell which prompted me to go to the museum where a photo of George Kennedy playing in a band in our historic Basin Park band shell was discovered. The photo did not have his name so I added "George Kennedy" to the documentation. SEE PHOTO


Photo of George and Bertha...Looks like George liked bow ties. SEE PHOTO On the back is written "Each year we come to wish the Dobbins a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year"
Photo of Bertha Kennedy and her tenant, Margaret Crowley, standing in front of Margaret's rented apartment at 11 Singleton. Margaret was a tenant for over 20 years in the left side apartment. Margaret's nephew Jim Crowley was one of the "Four Horsemen of Notre Dame" in the late 20's. SEE PHOTO


The most interesting photo find was when Maria wrote me and said that a photo of George Kennedy in his barber shop (dated 1912) was in the 1989 Bank of Eureka Springs calendar. SEE PHOTO


When I wanted to stencil the interior painted staircase, I was flipping through a 1902 Sears Roebuck Catalogue to get an idea about stair runner designs from the Victorian era. On page 499 to my disbelief was a full page of barber shop equipment including pieces that matched the bottom of a tall piece of furniture which I was now using as a bookcase in my parlor. When I first bought the house the wooden piece was painted that same smoky green color and was located in the kitchen filled with a colorful assortment of glassware. In the catalogue it is called a "dressing case" priced @ $8.40 if you order it with a marble top. Then about two years later one of my B&B guests said "Look, there's your furniture" in the bank calendar photo of George in his barber shop...there was the bottom of the cabinet in my parlor. SEE TWO PHOTOS


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9 Singleton Street:
Photo of the cottage the Kennedys built at 9 Singleton next door that George and Bertha also lived in and later owned. In front are the two Maple trees that are still here today. There is a branch showing on the left that is probably from our existing evergreen tree. Also standing in front of a picket fence in front of the house are 18 adorable children either in the dress of the day or dressed up in costumes. Singleton Street is still dirt. This photo was taken about 1915 prior to the kitchen extension on the left being added onto the cottage at 9 Singleton. This kitchen expansion matches up to the title on the property showing that 4 feet of land was going from #11 to #9 allowing room for the addition. Notice the columns. SEE PHOTO sent by Marie dobbins


This photo of 9 Singleton is from the bank collection. I have no idea who the girl is posing in front but in the background on the hill is the "Old Red Brick" schoolhouse built in 1892. The school was hit by lightning and burned to the ground the first week in July 1988. Notice the columns. SEE PHOTO


Fred, George's brother, also opened The New Ozark Theatre downtown, which Fred and his second wife operated and lived above around 1912. Ads in old newspapers plus a list of local Eureka theatres were found in at the Eureka Museum. SEE PHOTO Fred died January 23, 1914 his 2nd wife, Mary Riley Kennedy, moved back up the hill to 11 Singleton into the right side which is now Grandpa's Room. According to Marie Dobbins, Mary told George and Bertha that if they would take care of her until she died, she would leave her property to them. She died on January 12, 1933 after George had already died so the property was left to Bertha who rented rooms out to support herself.


Sue Cole Jones in Clifty Arkansas, a nearby town, worked for our The Bank of Eureka Springs, now Cornerstone Bank, for over 40 years. She gave me a photo of George that was tucked away in a box of her family photos. Her father and grandfather were both barbers during the same time that George was a barber and all three played musical instruments. The photo shows all three of them in a musical group playing in the Basin Park band shell. SEE PHOTO


A woman, Mary Jane Fritsch, (we just celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013) called me after seeing an article about the inn in the paper saying that she lived with her sister at 11 Singleton (left side apartment) when she was six years old. She was brought in from the country (8 miles out, Holiday Island) to go to school at the Old Red Brick Schoolhouse which was located behind us at the top of the stone stairs. Four months later an epidemic broke out that was killing people so her sister sent her back home where she went to a one room schoolhouse. Her memory is incredible! She didn't come back to Eureka until she was 14 when she came in to work. She lives alone, out in the woods and is in great health probably from walking 2 miles a day to get drinking water. She feeds all the stray cats and leaves her upper window open for the raccoons. SEE PHOTO

HOME

BOOK IT

 ROOMS

ATTRACTIONS

HISTORY

GARDENER'S COTTAGE

ABOUT

GARDEN

SPAS

RESTAURANTS

 POLICIES

MAP/DIRECTIONS

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