The homes on this years Victorian Home Tour are below. Tickets are only $10 and are available at the door. Tour hours are 12-4 pm with the Victorian Tea at the History Center from 1-5 pm.
810 E. Corning Street - 1896 Colonial Revival
This house was built for Thomas D. Murphy and his wife, Ina Culbertson Murphy. It was extensively remodeled in 1941. Before her marriage, Ina Culbertson taught piano in Harlan, IA and then was a teacher at the Indian Mission school in Chamberlain, S. Dak. Thos. D. Murphy joined Edmund Osborne in 1888 as publisher of the Red Oak Independent. The two produced the first advertising art calendar, using a woodcut of the new Montgomery County Courthouse. Osborne left Red Oak in 1899 to establish a similar business in New York. In 1905 Murphy founded The Thos. D. Murphy Co., making Red Oak known as "the birthplace of the art calendar". The business became a major industry in Red Oak, with hundreds of employees and salesmen and a branch in London. Murphy also continued as publisher of The Red Oak Express. Tom and Ina traveled extensively through Europe and the United States, and the many travel books he wrote were well received.
1020 Boundary Street - 1897 Neo-Classical
This magnificent home was built for Edmund Osborne, business partner of Thomas D. Murphy. Osborne and Murphy teamed together in many endeavors, such as printing, newspaper publishing, and the advent of the art calendar. However, Osborne left Red Oak in 1899 for the east coast where he later founded another printing company and became involved in politics and government.
The revival of classical architecture and details were sparked by styles shown at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The dominant gabled roof of this home is supported by paired, Ionic columns, on top of a raised brick foundation. Together the two-story columns and the classic pediment on the raised foundation accentuate the visual impact of the front facade. The smaller second floor decorative balcony, another Neo-classic detail, further adds distinction to the front entrance. The three windows at this second floor balcony are original to the home. The front door has been altered twice as it was originally a set of French doors with beveled glass and side lights. The original back porch was open, and that porch has been altered several times. The current owners removed the struggling back porches (then two of them) and replaced them with a single enclosed porch incorporating architectural details from an early photograph of the original porch. The sides of the house remain unchanged.
The staircase remains intact, however, it has been altered at the base. One fluted column on the staircase and four smaller fluted columns at the fireplace mantel remain the same. The fireplace mantel has green ceramic tile surrounding the opening, and two leaded-glass windows on either side of the fireplace, original, as seen in an old photograph. Classical swag and rosette patterns adorn the stairway, door and window entablatures (top moldings).
805 E. Prospect - 1917 Georgian Revival
Located on Red Oak’s Heritage hill tour, this Colonial Revival was built in 1917 for William and Myrtle Cochrane, who was the sister to Thomas D. Murphy, founder of the Thos. D. Murphy Calendar Company. The Cochranes passed the home to their daughter Anna Lomas and husband Malcolm, who then passed it on to their grandson Peter VanDruff. The Murphy Calendar company was an important part of Red Oak’s history and the art calendar industry. William Cochrane later owned the company and passed it to his son-in-law, Malcolm Lomas. It then was run by his son-in-law Bruce VanDruff and later by his son Peter VanDruff. William Cochrane served in the Iowa state senate. Daughter Anna Lomas was a Republican National Committee-woman and Mrs. Barbara Bush once greeted guests inside the grand entrance. The family kept ponies in the backyard and gave pony rides to neighborhood children. They often allowed them indoors where they performed circuses for Grandma and Grandpa Lomas. Apparently the housekeeper suggested the circus performances be moved to the front lawn instead. The home remained in the family until being purchased in 2006 by current owners, Kevin and Kerry Hohbach. The home itself is a work of art, with it’s beautiful woodwork and built-ins on all three levels. It is said that some of the wallpaper was specially designed to replicate designs found in the White House. It has been featured in several publications including “The Iowan” and “Portraits of Iowa: Volume II” and is credited with being one of Red Oak’s finest homes.
909 E. Coolbaugh Street - 1870's Russian Victorian
Built in the 1870's, this beautiful Russian Victorian is one of the oldest residences in Red Oak. Purchased in May of 2005 by Dale & SueAnn French, this stately home has been painstakingly preserved with most of its period details intact, from its gorgeous Turkish turret outside to its tiled fireplaces, unique seraglio (embossed) panels beneath the windows & inlaid parquet floors inside. The home also boasts a state-of-the-art kitchen complete with quartz counter top & warm, inviting tones. The current owners feel truly blessed to have rescued this incredible piece of Red Oak history & are excited about finishing the detailed front porches as well as the attached garage.
700 N. 8th Street -1874 Italianate
This wonderful example of Italianate architecture was built by Col. Alfred Hebard in 1874. Hebard was captivated by the beauty of the valley of the Nishnabotna River. He was responsible for the establishment of the depot and the town of Red Oak Junction. Hebard went on to serve as a territorial legislator and, in 1889, represented Iowa as a U.S. Commissioner to the Paris World’s Fair.
The Hebard estate sold the house to then County Attorney Floyd E. Billings, in 1932. The house had suffered as it stood vacant for many years and was in dire need of restoration. Mr. Billings undertook the effort to preserve the unique structure. His daughter, Lois Boeye, and her husband John then lived in the home until their son, John Boeye Jr., purchased the home in 1995. John, his wife Jenny & their two daughters are proud to say that this home has been in their family for almost 80 years.
The home’s exterior features include heavy brackets under the eaves and label molds over the windows. Inside is said to be a “textbook” example of Italianate with its totally symmetrical blue prints (all supporting walls line up from the basement to the third floor). The fireplaces are said to be modeled after those found in the White House. Portraits of Col. & Mrs. Hebard still hang in the home.
As well as being named to the National Register of Historic Places, the home was also featured on HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk” in October of 2006.