R. Knapp and Edward Townsend were partners in the banking
firm of Townsend and Knapp. They were also brothers-in-law,
having married sisters. Knapp built this house in 1867,
but both families lived in it. It was considered to "rank
among the best residences in our large city."
sisters died within a year of each other. Townsend built
a new house and left the banking business. In 1879, he was
a founder of Townsend and Merrill Lumber Company.
on in the house until he lost his bank during the depression
of the 1890s. He left Cedar Falls a broken man, and later
John Schuneman, who owned it until 1920, purchased the house
from the Townsend estate in 1905.
The Cedar Falls
Women's Club acquired the house in 1929 through the generosity
of Gus and Henry Pfeiffer, who gave $10,000 to the project
in honor of their sister, Emma Pfeiffer Merner. The gift
was matched by local contributions.
House is Italianate in design, with double round headed
windows, a highly decorated bay window, and details and
brackets under the eaves and around a round window. Later
additions, even when not strictly Italianate, have tended
to complement the original structure. Mortimer Cleveland
designed the Ballroom addition to the home.
The rose window,
additional smaller windows of stained glass and an original
stairway have been retained in the refurbished interior,
as has much of the ornamental woodcarving. The house has
been preserved as a beautiful yet functional landmark of
Victorian Cedar Falls.