Wamego house earns spot on state historical register

By Rose Schneider

A Wamego house is among 10 Kansas properties nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Cassius and Adelia Baker House, 609 Elm St. in Wamego, was one of the houses selected by the Kansas Historical Society to move forward in the nomination process.

It was also successful in the selection process for the historical register at the state level during the May 4 meeting.

The Craftsman bungalow was built in 1910 and includes many of the architectural style’s distinctive features.

Current owners David and Lois Sauer nominated the house.

“My wife and I both have an interest in historic preservation,” David said. “We haven’t owned this house very long, but we found out from talking to folks at the museum that there was only one house in Wamego on the state historical register and thought, ‘That is a shame, we should do something about that.’”

(The other Wamego house on the list is the Scholer house, 701 Pine St.)

The couple researched their property through the Kansas Historical Society to find information to aide in justifying the house’s significance.

One fact they discovered: The lot was initially sold from the Wamego Town Company, as lot 443, in 1869 for $60.

Cassius Baker was a prominent member of the local business community and was a founding member and president of the Commercial Club, a predecessor of the Chamber of Commerce, according to the Kansas Historical Society. Baker also was active in civic affairs, serving as mayor of the city, township clerk, trustee, and treasurer.

The couple witnessed the development of Wamego from a small river town of a few hundred people to a thriving railroad center with nearly 2,000 residents.

According to information from the Kansas Historical Society, a property is eligible if it is significant for one or more of the following reasons: it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; it is associated with the lives of person(s) significant in our past; it has distinctive construction which can qualify a property for the national register if it embodies characteristics of a type, period or method of construction or represent the work of a master or possesses high artistic values; or it yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

Once a house is put on the register, it will remain there even when the house changes owners.

“The house in Wamego was added to the register for architecture,” said Katrina Ringler, Kansas Historical Society grants manager. “Unless someone radically changes the appearance of the house or it gets destroyed by a storm, it will stay on the register permanently, whether the owners want it there or not.”

The Sauers chose to nominate the house because of its façade, roof, two brick chimneys, bay windows, porches, oak trim and fireplace among other attributes.

“It will be a couple of months before they find out of (the house has) been approved for the national registry,” Ringler said.

The Sauers are eager to hear the verdict.

“It is exciting; we were approved for the state recognition but if it gets accepted nationally, it will be the first property in Wamego to be put on the national register,” David said.

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