304 N. Vine Street
The Stambaugh House
Built in 1885
Hidden in the closet of an upstairs bedroom of this home were the architect’s blueprints from a 1919 remodeling project. The drawings revealed that this house, built by Winfield Scott Stambaugh in 1885, originally consisted of a living room, dining room and kitchen on the first floor and two bedrooms upstairs. The Italianate style home was constructed of red brick that probably was manufactured in Abilene.
The front porch once had six white wooden pillars carved at the top. The porch roof was flat and supported a waist-high railing matching the pillars below. Cornice boards ran along the top of the house.
Stambaugh came to Abilene in 1870 with the Buckeye Colony and taught school. He then read law with J. H. Mahan, who later became his law partner. By 1886, Stambaugh was called the city’s “leading attorney” and was a member of the firm, Stambaugh, Hurd and Dewey, Attorneys at Law. Prior to leaving Abilene in 1898, Stambaugh was active in the Republican party and often was called upon to speak at county political rallies.
He married Lina Upshaw in 1885 and their home became a center of social doings. Lina, known as Linne, was referred to in her obituary as “a figure in the glamorous days of the city’s social heyday – back in the 80’s and early 90’s.” It was a time of cotillions at the Union Pacific dining room with orchestras from Topeka and Kansas City, of costly dance favors and of home talent shows featuring the social elite. Linne’s gifted singing voice was in demand on every possible occasion.
In 1919, Ames P. Rogers was looking for a home for the bride he would wed the next year. Following graduation from the University of Kansas, Rogers worked at the National City Bank of New York City and then returned to join his father, George A. Rogers, at the Abilene National Bank. He later succeeded his father as bank president.
Ames purchased this house and hired the Kansas City firm to build an addition and remodel the existing structure. The entire exterior was changed to stucco and the porch became more dominant with huge columns. These alteration characterize the Prairie style.
A portion of the wraparound porch was replaced by a sun room entered through French doors added to either side of the fireplace in the living room. A bench seat was built along one side of the sun room.
A large kitchen, mud room and back porch were constructed at the rear of the home. A French door connected the original dining room, which at one time was lined with bookshelves, to the new pantry and kitchen. Plumbing and electricity were installed in the home, and plans included space for an ice refrigerator and cooking stove.
Upstairs, a sleeping porch with several windows and a bathroom with a seven-foot tub were added to the home. Also, walk-in closets were built in the original master bedroom.
It also appears that at this time the stairway, which originally was open on the second level, was altered, allowing for the installation of a large linen closet.
Prior to 1958, the Rogers’ family built a second addition, constructing a family room and another upstairs bedroom.
Dee and Debra James purchased the home and refinished the upstairs flows – one is oak and two are pine. They also discovered that the floors on the main level and possibly the stairs are of red oak. The couple installed similar ceiling moldings and polished brass window pulls that had been removed by previous owners.
Originally published in Historic Homes of Abilene, The Heritage Homes Association, written by Cecilia Harris, photos by Bob Paull, 1994.