Transcript of the tour of Ingleboro Mansion
Ingleboro Mansion was built by Joel Randall Burrow (show picture). He was born in Salem, Illinois in 1853 and was left an orphan at the age of 12. He was deprived of the ordinary surroundings of a home, and his education was meager. Most of his earlier life was spent working for his board and clothes. In 1873 at the age of 20, he came to Kansas in an ox-drawn wagon. In those days he often walked barefoot in an effort to save shoe leather. From these austere beginnings develops a storybook “rags to riches” story.
One year later, he moved to Smith County and became a Star route mail carrier managing routes from Smith Center to Russell, Norton, Kirwin, and Cora. It is stated that he took more routes and would sublet them, making money, always making money. He also established a general merchandise store at the S.E. corner of Main and Court.
“One day a band of 1500 Indians came through Smith Center from Nebraska in route to western Kansas. They entered the store and took everything but a keg of molasses and a barrel of kerosene. They did offer ‘uncured hides’ in payment, but Mr. Burrow declined them.”
Burrow purchased a livery stable and a hotel. An advertisement from 1876 provides information regarding his connection with a stage line.
“J.R. Burrow, Prop.-U.S. Stage Lines. Smith Center to Red Cloud. Stage leaves Smith Center Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Make connections at Red Cloud with stage running to Hastings, ST. Joe and points east. Carry passengers and express.”
It was said that as a mail carrier, J.R. Burrow carried a little cigar box from which “his first banking deal” was made, a loan of $7.50. In response to requests for credit from local farmers, Burrow began to make loans from his livery stable office. In 1880, he went into the banking business with George W. White. They started (show picture) the People’s State Bank (not to be confused with the current People’s Bank), which was located in a modest frame structure on the corner of Main and Kansas. In 1886, J.R. Burrow purchased Mr. White’s interest in the bank and was granted a National bank charter (show picture). He then built the impressive 1st National Bank, which is located on the corner of Main and Kansas (show picture). This stunning building is graced with a turret, granite pillars and round steps leading up to a corner entrance. The building is now on the state and national historic registry. Burrow served as the president of the 1st National Bank for a total of forty-five years and Mayor of Smith Center from 1894-1897.
J.R. Burrow had three wives; the first two only lived four years after he married them, the third one lived nineteen years. Each wife had two children, and out of the six children, only two lived to adulthood. (Burrow, his wives, and all but the two children who lived to adulthood, are buried in Fairview Cemetery north of Smith Center.) Burrow married his third wife (show picture of Hilda Ingalls – top row middle woman facing sideways) in 1889. Their wedding was celebrated at Cornwall on the Hudson in New York. When their new home was built at the turn of the century, they combined her maiden name, Ingalls, with his name, Burrow, and named their mansion “Ingleboro.” It has been know as such ever since.
What follows is the article printed in the Smith County Pioneer (newspaper) Thursday, March 1, 1900.
Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Burrow’s beautiful home “Ingleboro” on North Main Street was thrown open to their many friends last Thursday evening. The residence has been a long time under construction. The best mechanics here and from the cities have been busy since the first of June upon the work, and as our people watched it grow step by step, they naturally have taken almost as much pride in it as the owners themselves. When the finishing touches were at last put on the beautiful structure, it easily outranked any in this section of the country. The interior is richly furnished. Twelve large rooms, aside from the halls, bath room, closets, alcoves etc., make up the apartments. The house is heated by steam, but has a few cozy fire places, in which the fire was softly burning the night of the reception. Many of the guests present were brought up by they side of such a fire place, only a great deal larger, and it brought back to them the recollection of other days. Perhaps the most interesting place in the house was the bath room, finished in white tile, with hot and cold water always at hand. At this particular place the guests appeared to linger with words of unusual admiration. One hundred and thirty guests were present, but there appeared to be ample room for all. Many were present from neighboring towns, who, with our own home folks, admired the lovely new home and spent a most pleasant evening with the Burrow family at “Ingleboro.”
When the mansion was built, the estate covered what is now considered an entire city block. The property included a running stream, gazebo, deer, and peacocks. Burrow lived in “Ingleboro” until the early 1900’s. During that time (as the story goes) a man here in Smith Center, named Henry Williams (show picture), began bugging Burrow to sell him the mansion. Burrow continued to refuse to sell, until finally he got fed up and named an outlandish price. To his surprise, Williams said “sold.” At that time, a gentleman could buy back his word for a dollar, but Williams would not let Burrow go back on his word. So Burrow moved out of “Ingleboro” and in 1905, moved to Topeka and served two terms as Kansas Secretary of State. He became a millionaire with many banks: two large banks in Topeka, one at Smith Center, one at Bellaire, one at Athol, one at Logan, and one at Kensington. The saying, “Burrow’s banks never fail”, was familiar all over the state.
The Williams family lived in the mansion until the early 1920’s (show pictures). Mr. Williams liked to play poker and apparently won the millinery business (show picture) that is now the pharmacy on the east side of Main Street. After Mr. Williams died, Mrs. Williams sold the home to Dr. Funk. She had the beautiful Victorian barn moved from Ingleboro to her new home on the corner of Main and what is now HWY 36 (show picture of barn). Dr. Funk then turned “Ingleboro” into a hospital (show picture of “Ingleboro” as a hospital). It was a hospital until 1951 when the new hospital was built south of town. Many from Smith Center were born in “Ingleboro” during those years. Al and Ilene Burley (show picture) then turned Ingleboro into a nursing home. In the mid 1970’s, when regulations became too strict for an old home to keep up to code, the Mahins joined the Burleys and remodeled the mansion into the famous restaurant known as “Ingleboro’s.” Kirk Williams (show picture), a descendant of Henry Williams the 2nd owner of Ingleboro, was a chef here. Many local young ladies also worked at this elegant establishment (show pictures). During those restaurant years (show pictures), the bedrooms upstairs were converted into bed and breakfast rooms a few at a time. First the one above the lounge, the Green Room, was rented out as a “bed and dinner” arrangement known as “Inglenook.” The remaining rooms upstairs were finished off for public use and in January of 2000, the restaurant was closed. In summary, “Ingleboro” was a residence for about 25 years, a hospital for about 25 years, a nursing home for about 25 years, a restaurant for about 25 years, and now this century a B&B.
We will begin our tour here in the lounge. This room is particularly enjoyable when a family or wedding party rents out all of our rooms. This table can be extended to seat up to 8 people and there are card and board games available behind the bar. Groups often enjoy watching DVD’s together here in the entertainment center. But if someone needs a little time alone, they are welcome to watch TV in the privacy of their own room.
As we tour the home, please take note of the height of the ceilings and whether or not the baseboards and moldings are plain or carved. This indicates the age of that part of the mansion. As you can see here in the lounge, the ceiling is low and the moldings are plain indicating that this was not originally a part of the interior of the mansion. Originally, above us was an outside porch, and where we stand was a buggy port (similar to a car port). The area from where the pillars are and on back, and from here to the far side of the current kitchen was added on over the years.
This wall (bump out in hallway) was the original back of the house and this hall was created when the house was added onto in the back. Note the low ceiling and plain molding on the doorways. Victorian homes did not have hallways in the downstairs. Rather, one would walk from the foyer into a parlor and then on into the next room, but not through a hallway to get to the next room. Therefore, this room (that we now use as a dining room) would have been much larger and would have included the area that now forms a portion of the hallway. We have talked with an historical restoration company in Abilene that has done renovations on several banker’s homes. They told us that bankers in the Victorian era often had offices in their homes. This was because the people were extremely private about their financial matters and did not want to be seen going in and out of a bank on Main Street, so their high finances were handled in the banker’s home. Thus we conclude that this (now what is dining room) was J.R. Burrow’s office. The restoration company also said that usually there were side entrances into these “home offices” again to maintain a high level of privacy. We have checked the foundation under this alcove, and we are now very certain that this originally was the side entrance into J.R. Burrow’s office. When we tour the bedroom above this room (the Blue Room), I will show you what we found in the basement that we think was the ornamentation that was above the outside entrance. By the way, this table expands to seat 12 people, which is the number of people we can bed upstairs. I will also show you the private dining area for the downstairs bedroom.
In this parlor, the gentlemen’s parlor, you will see wallpaper that is typical of the late 1800’s that was hung by Al Burley in the 1970’s before opening the restaurant. The cove ceiling is characteristic of the Victorian era. The fireplace in this room is cherry wood with imported tile. I have been told that it was imported from Italy. The light fixture that you see in this room is original to Ingleboro; the lighting was originally carbide gas and kerosene. In the early 1900’s, this style of light became outdated, so many of the original fixtures were taken down and modern ones put up. Luckily, John Burley (whose family ran the nursing home and restaurant) found them stored away, converted them to electric and put them back out. We aren’t sure they are in their original locations. This one in the gentleman’s parlor looks like it should have been over the dining room table. The artwork was stenciled on the transom in the 1920’s when the Dutch style was popular.
You will notice the beautiful stained glass throughout the mansion. Here in the parlor are beautifully colorful pieces. I would like to point out the large ruby-red side panels. Red is the most expensive color of stained glass since it has gold in it. Yes, gold oxide is what gives the glass its red color. Originally, it was imported from Germany, but over the years some of it was broken and had to be replaced. Here you can see the difference in the color of the original red glass from Germany (more orange) and an American style replacement, which is brighter red. There is one stained-glass window missing though. In this window you will see the supports for a stained-glass window, but no stained glass. This window still exists and can be found in Kirk Williams residence. Apparently, the Burleys took that window out at some point in time and gave it to their valued chef. We tried to purchase it, but Kirk Williams was not interested in parting with it.
This wedding dress was worn by Dr. Morrison’s wife in 1900. He was a Dr. here in Ingleboro when it was a hospital. In the 1930’s, Mrs. Morrison’s best friend had a daughter named Jolene (show picture). Mrs. Morrison wanted her son to marry Jolene so she had this wedding dress altered for her. BUT, as the story goes, Jolene ran off with the pharmacist in town and never did wear the dress. It also is told that Dr. Morrison adopted his own granddaughter. This was so she could attend school in Smith Center ( you had to be the child of a resident). He also married his 1st wife’s sister, which meant that now his granddaughter’s mother was her aunt as well.
The furniture here in the gentleman’s parlor is typical of Victorian furniture. Can you tell me which chair is the gentleman’s and which is the ladies? Yes, the lady’s chair has the lower arms….do you know why? It is not so she could do sewing or hold her babies. High-class ladies of that era would never have been caught doing “work” in front of visitors. The arms were low to accommodate their skirts and bustles. I would also like to point out the radiators. Even though we do not currently use the radiators, they will stay in Ingleboro for two reasons. First, they are very ornate and secondly, because Ingleboro was the first place in the whole region to have this state-of-the-art heating system.
In the entry way you will notice this strange-looking hanging. I thought they were hippy beads, but I am glad I did not throw them away…they are actually historic. They are eucalyptus. In years past, they would steam eucalyptus and it would give off medicinal vapors. Also, back then they did not have room spray, so they would hang eucalyptus to absorb bad odors, which, no doubt, were common in a hospital and nursing home. Also, please note the beautiful stained glass window here as well.
Now for a little Victorian culture. In those days if you were visiting, you would have entered the front door and been greeted by either the butler or the maid and you would have given them your calling card (show photocopies of actual Victorian ladies’ calling cards). Now whether you laid your card on their tray right side up or wrong side up, or whether the top corner or bottom corner was turned under…all would indicate whether you were an invited guest or whether you had dropped by…whether you were here on business or on a social visit. These pocket doors would have been closed, and you would have been seated in this area while the maid disappeared with your card. As a woman, if you were to visit the lady of the house, the maid would present your card to her, and she would decide whether “she was at home or not.” If she decided she wanted to see you, she would have come to greet you, but she would not have taken you in this parlor (the gentlemen’s parlor), but would have taken you into the ladies’ parlor. The gentlemen and ladies had separate parlors, because gentlemen talked business. They thought the ladies had no head for business. Also the men’s language was not always appropriate for ladies’ ears. So in the afternoons, the ladies and gents visited in their own parlors.
This is the ladies’ parlor. Unfortunately, carpet is still glued to the floors in all the rooms except this one. Here we have taken the time to redo the floor. Look at the wonderful inlaid wood around the edges. The wood in the center of the floor had no design since carpets were intended to be used there. In every part of the original portion of the house, these beautiful floors still exit…just waiting to be uncovered. You will again see authentic Victorian wallpaper in this room. The fireplace here is oak with imported tile. There is a beautiful stained glass window here as well. The pretty stained glass lamp hanging from the ceiling is not original to Ingleboro nor is its style necessarily Victorian, but it will stay in Ingleboro. It was made by Doc Sheppard, who was a doctor here in Ingleboro when it was a hospital. He was held in high esteem, so it was a great loss to Smith Center when he passed away in the fall of 2012. To honor him and his contribution to the community, we will keep that light in the mansion. Here is the private dining table for this suite. It is so romantic on a cold winter day, to have the fireplace blazing, snow falling outside your window and to be sharing an intimate meal with your loved one. This is indeed a special room.
Now we will move into the 1st bedroom in the two-bedroom suite here on the first floor. This was the original dining room for the mansion. In the evenings after dinner parties, the help would close the pocket doors as they cleared the table, and the ladies and gents would visit together regardless of gender. Note the bay window with the most beautiful stained glass window in the place. It has a cross in the middle. On moon-lit nights, the light shines through that cross and casts its image around the room. During the day, the corners of the beveled glass act as prisms and beautiful rainbows can be seen.
The bathroom in this suite was remodeled in 2000. Originally it was the butler’s pantry, but most recently, it had been part of the commercial kitchen. An ice machine had set where the tub is now. It apparently had dripped and the floor was rotted clear through…you could see the basement. This area was in dire need of renovation. My husband said “I can’t live like this”, so this is where we started renovation. We tore out all the lathe and plaster, redid the plumbing, heating, electrical …everything. Before renovation started, this part of the ceiling was high just like the bedroom, and the rest was the height it is now indicating different time periods. As we tore up the floor we came to floor joists where we found an old bitters bottle from the late 1800’s and a newspaper dated 1901 (shown in frames above tub). Now if the house was built in 1899, how did a newspaper from the future get under the floorboards? This is what we found out and our explanation. As we dug deeper we found yet another set of floor joists below the 1st ones. The house was “J” shaped with the kitchen just behind the butler’s pantry, then the dining room, then the ladies’ parlor, reception area, gentlemen’s parlor, then J.R. Burrow’s home office and the buggy port in the back on the other side. In the loop of the “J” were courtyards and porches. We think that in 1901, just a couple years after the mansion was built, they remodeled, raised the level of an outside porch here and expanded the butler’s pantry into that area. As we remodeled, we tried to retain the feel of the butler’s pantry. We replaced the old wainscoting with new wainscoting. The tub came from Kensington and the window that partitions off the toilet used to be in a home on Third Street in Phillipsburg. Beside the shower you will see the original “dumb waiter” shaft. I will show you where it is located in the maid’s room above here when we tour the 2nd floor. This closet area was most recently a waitress station connecting with the long hallway from the back door. Bruce partitioned off a section on the hallway side for a coat closet (typical for a Victorian home, there were no closets on the first floor), then we knocked a hole through this wall into what used to be the ladies restroom when it was a restaurant to form a huge walk-in closet. We didn’t mind altering this part of the house, since it was not part of the original structure, but was added on in the 70’s.
This suite is a two-bedroom suite in the “Jack & Jill” style with the shared bath between the bedrooms. We now call this room the “bunk” room for obvious reasons, but originally it was the kitchen. When renovation began in this room, there were no windows. As the commercial stove, etc. were torn out, it was discovered that for many years two windows had been hidden inside the walls. Even siding concealed their presence on the outside of the mansion. It was great to uncover, fix and replace those windows and give this area a more original look. Now I would like for you to look at something here inside the closet for this room (open cupboard door to expose stairs). What do you think it is? That’s right, the back stairway or the Maid’s stairway. The dumb waiter and the Maid’s stairway were very important features in Victorian homes. You remember that the ladies wore corsets, which were far from comfortable. Thus, the lady of the house would try to do everything possible in the mornings upstairs. The maid would get up in the morning and come down her stairway to the kitchen to start breakfast, but she would not serve the lady of the house on the 1st floor. Instead, her breakfast was placed on the dumb waiter and taken up to her. While still on the 2nd floor, the lady would delegate tasks to the household staff, do her correspondence, tend to household affairs, etc. all from the upstairs…BECAUSE she would be corseted up before she would come down to the first floor. This was an event to be delayed as long as possible.
Now we will pass through an area that is not original to the mansion. It is the main kitchen area now. Again, the Victorian flavor is displayed with an antique tin ceiling tile above the stove. The backsplash was made to complement the ceiling tile from $12 worth of aluminum flashing that is used around chimneys. Each dent was put in by hand with an awl and a very dull screwdriver. It was not a quiet operation I can assure you.
As we proceed to the front of the mansion to start our tour on the 2nd floor, you might be interested in the design above the chair rail in the hallway. After we removed old paneling, a layer of linoleum, and many layers of wallpaper, I pinned the border of a plastic lace tablecloth to the wall and smoothed sheet-rock mud into the holes of the design. Once it dried, it was an easy job to give it a coat of paint. It seemed to add a Victorian flare to the long hallway, which is now used as a photo gallery.
Now the biggest mystery of the whole home is this door at the landing of the front stairway. If you could open this door today, all you would see was a wall. Was it originally a door for the “help” to use to welcome guests and then slip away into the butler’s pantry? Or was it a way to get to the buggy port in the back of the house? As you can see, the molding around the door has been pieced together and the plate behind the door doesn’t fit right. The workmanship at the time the mansion was built would never have permitted such imperfection indicating that this door was not original. We do know that by the time Ingleboro was a hospital, there was a door here that led into a small room half way between the floors. An older lady who was a nurse here when it was a hospital said they used to like to sneak into this room in the middle of the day to take a break. Also later, John Burley who grew up in Ingleboro when his parents ran it as a nursing home, remembers being in this room when he had a childhood disease. From this room he could look down into the old kitchen where someone was cooking. We have been able to climb between the current ceiling and the 2nd floor behind this door where we could see wallpaper that remained. We certainly wish we had the original blueprints for the mansion, but unfortunately John Burley says he has a letter stating that his mother gave the blueprints to David Haug who ran Ingleboro as a restaurant, but Dave says he never received them. So the mystery may never be solved.
As we go up the stairway, you will see a stained-glass window. Originally, when the back of home was graced with porches and courtyards, this would have been an outside window. Over the years as the house was expanded, this wall was closed in. The best we can do now is to put a light behind the window to highlight the stained glass.
When we bought the mansion, this stairway was completely closed in. You can still see in the ceiling at the top of the stairs where the walls were. One wall came out so far that it was nearly impossible to appreciate the beautiful archway here to the left of the staircase. There was a hole in the wall in the stairway that we could poke our finger through. We thought it felt like a baluster so we went around to the other side of the wall on the right side of the stairway and intentionally cut out a large hole. Inside the walls, we could see many balusters. So we got brave and tore out all of the walls except the top part of the one on the right (a furnace had been installed there). To our pleasure, we found that over the years all of the balusters had been preserved inside the walls. This also opened up this area so the archway became a focal point. The archway to the right of the stairway had been closed in and had an ugly modern door in it. So we tore that out and opened up that archway as well.
Do you know what this piece of furniture is called? Yes, it is a fainting couch, but it would not have been placed here, but rather in the lady’s bedroom. According to Victorian culture, after the beds were made in the morning, it was improper to disturb the beds again until bedtime. Remember that the lady of the house wore a corset. We know now that not only were they very uncomfortable, but they actually damaged their internal organs and shortened their lives. So when they had the chance to remove the corsets in the middle of the day, they did. When the corsets were loosened, the blood would rush to the lady’s feet, and she would become faint. But she could not fall upon her bed … not proper…she had to fall upon a fainting couch.
Now here you will see glass windows on the inside wall of the home. This seems a bit strange until we realize that this area was originally an outside porch. We are told that Hilda Ingalls Burrow could be seen sitting on this porch (probably without her corset) doing correspondence or just relaxing. When Ingleboro was a hospital, this area was closed in and served as the nurses station. Now it is a “work nook” where our guests can use our computer to access high-speed internet, or they can use their own computers anywhere in the mansion.
We will now go through the archway into the adults’ bedrooms. The Pink room, a one-bedroom suite, was most likely Mrs. Burrow’s (Hilda’s) room. You will notice it has beautiful stained glass windows with the red panels on either side (the signature of Ingleboro). This is the only room on the 2nd floor with stained glass windows. Apparently, J.R. Burrow went to great lengths to please his beautiful wife. When Ingleboro was a nursing home, this room served as the Burleys’ living room and the bathroom was their kitchen.
The Blue Room is the first room in a two-bedroom suite. We believe that originally it was Mr. Burrow’s bedroom. Victorian culture required that in high-class homes, the husband and wife had separate bedrooms. Perhaps this was a form of birth control, but more than likely it was because such activities were not considered lady-like. So J.R. Burrow may have had to wait for a formal invitation to Hilda’s room. Above the bed you will see the ornamentation that we found in the basement that we believe was the ornamentation above the side entrance to J.R. Burrow’s home office below us. When Ingleboro was a hospital, this room served as the delivery room (although if more than one lady was in labor at the same time, other rooms were used as well). This was John Burley's bedroom when his folks ran Ingleboro as a nursing home. You can see shelves on the wall where he kept his cars. This room has its own half bath and shares the shower with the adjoining room.
As we enter the Green Room, notice that the molding around the door is plain. When the furnace was added on the third side of the open stairway, the original access to the back porches was blocked off and this doorway was created. Originally, this was the outside porch with the buggy-port below. When Ingleboro became a hospital, this room was closed in too, and it became the surgery room. Dr. Bauer, who was a Dr. in Ingleboro just before the new hospital south of town was built, described what the conditions were then. He said that there was only one light above the surgery table. He also said that before surgery in winter, they would heat this room up until they could barely stand it, because once they anesthetized the patient with ether, the open-flamed heater had to be extinguished. So by the time the operation was over, they could be quite cold. The bathroom for this suite was the “prep” room for surgery. Outside the back door of this suite, you will notice a strange-looking apparatus. Please notice the huge reel on the one end. When Ingleboro was a hospital, the stairway was not here. A platform was attached to the cross bar and this apparatus served as a hand-pull elevator to get patients up to the surgery room (or to take the deceased out). There is a story about one of the aides who used to like to pretend to fall down the elevator shaft and call out for help. But she refused help from anyone except a certain handsome doctor. Later when the Burley's ran the nursing home, the Green Room served as as Al and Ilene's bedroom. During the years that Dave Haug owned Ingleboro and ran it as a restaurant, a sauna could be found in this room.
Now we will proceed to the south side where we will find the children’s bedrooms, the Grape and the Yellow Rooms. You will notice that there is a door between these two rooms that allowed the children to play together without disturbing the parents. Fortunately, the transoms have been preserved on these rooms, and again you will see a Dutch scene stenciled above the door here in the Yellow room. Dave Haug (who was one of the owners of the Ingleboro restaurant) had a jacuzzi in the yellow room where apparently some "good times were had".
This bath may be (we are not certain) the original bath that fascinated the guests when Mr. and Mrs. Burrow had their open house in 1900. On the far wall is a mirror that we belive originally was a "door/window" that opened onto the porches in the back of the mansion until the porches were converted into living space and it was closed up. In a minute, I will show you the shower for this three-bedroom suite, which is at the end of the hall.
As we walk toward the back of the house, we will pass through the doorway that originally separated off the Maid’s room from the rest of the house. You will notice here in the Maid’s room that the ceiling is lower and the baseboards are not as wide as in the rest of the home. The maid was not afforded the same luxuries as the family. On the wall to the left as you enter the Maid’s room, you will notice a square. This opens into the dumb waiter shaft that drops to the original butler’s pantry below. We have checked it out, and the pulleys are still there.
As we proceed down the maid’s stairway, you will notice that a shower has been added off the landing. This makes it possible for someone to be using the main bath while someone else is showering….almost as if there were two baths for this suite. You might remember looking at the bottom of the maid’s stairway in the cupboard in the closet in the bunk room. What we were looking up at was the base of this shower. Originally, this stairway continued on down to the kitchen. This suite also has a private entrance to the parking lot.
Thank you so much for stepping back in time with me. We hope you enjoyed your tour of the historic Ingleboro Mansion. Please come again. You are welcome anytime.