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.