A Sweet Piece of Siouxland's history in the form of a Boutique Hotel
This home was built in 1894, at the cost of $12,000.00, by Charles Mylius, an Englishman who briefly had a sash and door company in Sioux City. He moved to Dundee, Minnesota, and eventually built a home in Italy. Mylius’ influence on the house was strong. The actual architect was W.D. McLaughlin, who also built other significant buildings and residences at that time and as well as Longfellow School.
The Sioux City Tribune Holiday Edition, 1894-1895, described the home as one of the most expensive and handsome improvements of the year. “It is built entirely of wood, after the early English style. In the exterior decorations white pine and red Washington cedar are very largely used-the whole presenting a very beautiful effect, the wood being finished so the natural color is well preserved. The side walls of the second story contrast with the walls of the lower story, being covered with shingles stained in different colors. The gables are of stucco work. The interior is finished in hard wood highly polished. The plumbing is all nickel plated and the house heated by steam”.
The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for both architectural and historic categories in 2004.
“Architectural significance: The irregularly-massed and finely detailed Charles Mylius House and its sympathetically designed carriage house constitute one of the best preserved samples of the late 19th Century high style residential construction in Sioux City. Stylistically, it is Queen Anne but it is representative of that phase of the movement most influenced b Richard Norman Shaw and English models. Shavian influenced Queen Anne houses were not common anywhere and is probably one of only a few in the state.” (Quotation from Iowa State Historical Department Office of Historic Preservation, which further noted the key stylistic features; multiple wall cladding materials, steepled pitched front gabled roof, asymmetrical massing, half timbering, bands of windows in gables.) Note that the larger gables on the front face the house make and “M” for Mylius, as do the gables on the carriage house.
Mylius’ interest in doors and windows show up in the massive pocket doors, the unusual Dutch door in the front entry, foyer, living room, library, and dining room. There are eighteen leaded glass windows in all. The nine leaded glass doors to the bookcases in the library present a story of their own. When the former owner purchased the home in 1983, these doors were nowhere to be found. They proceeded to have the woodwork in the one room refinished before they moved in six months later. David Baurely took responsibility for that room. A few years later he called and asked the owner to measure the bookcase openings. He’d purchased the three outer doors on either side from a man in Morningside, intending to use them in building something. Suddenly he recognized where they belonged! The Morningside man had purchased the doors at a garage sale.
The decision was made to go ahead and have these doors fixed up and installed. When Mr. Baurely took them to the Bogenrief store in Hinton to have the lead glass repaired, Mr. Bogenrief surprised everyone by having the three missing doors from the middle. He’d found them in a junked car! A happy and quite unbelievable ending!
Going back to the early history of the house, the house was purchased by the Schenkbergs in 1899, who were friends of the Fredrick Eatons. The five lots allowed enough space for the Eaton’s to plan a home to the north. The families planned to share the carriage house. The Schenkbergs divorced in 1905 and sold the house and their lavish furnishings to the Eatons in 1906.
Fredrick Eaton was Eastern financier who came to Sioux City after the crash of 1893 to try to rescue some of the Eastern investments. He was strategic in turning the city around economically through the Combination Bridge Project and the Stockyards. His daughter, Dorothy, married Edward C. Palmer in 1920. Dorothy and her family continued to live in the home until 1967. Ed Palmer was important with the companies—Palmer Candy and Terminal Grain- and with the advancement of our riverport.
The Wockenfuss’ purchased the property in 2004 and continued renovation from the previous owners. Beginning with the ballroom renovation. The ballroom was painted black, (formerly a belly dancing studio in the 1970’s), with florescent garage lights and black and white shag carpeting. Also, the storage room that had never been finished. A custom iron fence was also added. Carpeting was taken out of the house and the wood floors and stairs were refinished.
Major renovations were completed in 2008 such as, the master bedroom and expanding and upgrading the master bath, heating and cooling systems (there are nine total in the property), tiling the heated floors in the lower level, and exterior painting. The next stage of renovation was in 2011 when the carriage house was moved to the northside of the property and renovated.
The carriage house renovation included major renovation to exterior and roof, making a mother-in-law suite on the second floor, refurbish original wainscoting and adding wainscoting where needed, putting the original hay feeders back in place, having custom doors made, the side entry door is also a Dutch door like the house door and was made of reclaimed wood from a Chicago warehouse and adding a first-floor restroom.
A heated saltwater pool and pergola were also added. In 2012, the lot located behind the house was purchased and a Victorian garden was added. Included in the garden is a Potting Cottage which is a smaller replica of the Carriage house, four season terminal statues, iron fencing, flower gardens and fruit.