Historic Homes Feature: An American Foursquare's Colorful Evolution

The Littler Home
729 Peterson Street

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In January of 1911, the parlor of this home was host to a wedding - the bride’s bouquet arranged with white roses and lilies of the valley - as the first owners of this home celebrated the marriage of their daughter, Bessie Littler, to Dr Walter Stewart. The ceremony was conducted by Methodist Minister, Reverend George Avery (Franklin Avery’s brother). The home was built between 1903 and 1907 for prominent local farmer and stockman Edward Littler, his wife Sarah, and their children. This American Foursquare may have been a kit home as evidenced by stenciled numbers on the rafters, located during the home’s restoration. The Foursquare features include the house's cubic shape and symmetry, the pyramidal, hipped roof with wide eaves and a large central dormer, the (almost) full width front porch with columnar supports, and wide stairs leading to the centered front door.  The house had a colorful existence throughout the twentieth century, evolving through the decades as Fraternity House and family home, later becoming a boarding house with significant modifications to accommodate tenants.

The ceremony was conducted by Methodist Minister, Reverend George Avery (Franklin Avery’s brother).

Owners Larry and Debra Dunn have worked extensively to restore this home, preserving many original features, including much of the flooring, the moldings, pocket doors to the parlor, and the original kitchen cabinets. While the original staircase had been relocated outside, probably to cater to tenants, Larry has carefully rebuilt the stairs in their original, interior location. Larry and Debra found many treasures left by long-ago residents - including a misplaced wallet (still holding the photograph of, perhaps, a sweetheart), newspaper pages, wallpaper samples, and letters written by fraternity members many years past - and have thoughtfully preserved these mementos as they restored this beautiful home.

-Jodie Chamberlain