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Henry Gilkey House


Cedar Falls
903 Washington Street

Henry Gilkey built this house around 1905 on a lot purchased from or swapped with Roger Leavitt in 1903. In the somewhat unclear transaction, Gilkey transferred his home at 1107 Washington to Leavitt, and Leavitt transferred this lot to Gilkey. The house that once had stood here was moved to Clay Street and used as parsonage for the Congregational Church. Gilkey had been both president of the Townsend-Merrill Lumber Company and president of the Cedar Falls Trust Company. At one time or another, Leavitt was vice president of both firms. The two men's business dealings crossed paths so often it is easy to see how their choice of houses could also intertwine.

The Cedar Falls Board of Education purchased the Gilkey House from Earl and Hester Anderson in 1956 for $19,000, and used it as the public school system's central administration offices.

The house has changed very little on the outside. It has its original siding and such features as a bay window, massive porch pillars and dormer windows. This was a transitional, post-Victorian house. Fine details on the architrave above the door and a beautiful shell motif on the pediment of the porch roof are evidence of the Imperial Roman style that came into vogue around the turn of the century.

There was some remodeling of the interior to accommodate the Board of Education offices. Several pillars, some upstairs walls and a built-in glass cupboard were removed. Air conditioning and a gas furnace were also added. Three working fireplaces were retained, however, along with the open stairway and some exquisite window glass at the front entrance.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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