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Edward Townsend House


Cedar Falls
1017 Washington Street

Edward Townsend had a prominent career in Cedar Falls as a banker, lumber company owner, mayor, school board member, county supervisor, state senator and Iowa State Normal School trustee. He built this house during the 1878-1884 period, after the death of his wife. They had previously lived in the Knapp-Townsend House at 224 West Third Street.

The house was built in the Italianate, or bracketed, style, but it has a number of characteristics that reflect middle European designs. A Gothic spire rises above a Tuscan roof, for example. There are open cross beams on the gable below the spire, and the window moldings are carved in an unusual manner. The ironwork that once graced the gables has been removed.

Inside, the house features 11-foot ceilings, parquet floors, fireplaces in nearly every room, a walnut staircase, and elaborate doorknobs and hinges. A stained glass window overlooks the staircase, and hand- blown glass is found in windows throughout the house. The interior shutters are original, as is the intercom system from the maid's quarters to the master bedroom. The house had been remodeled to include an upstairs apartment and has served as a bed and breakfast. It is currently a private residence.

This is one of Cedar Falls' most distinctive houses. "The genteel old lady," as described by the Waterloo Courier in a 1976 article, "is tall but dainty with many small decorative touches in unexpected places." The gingerbread beneath the eaves suggested "petticoat lace under a Victorian lady's skirts," and the steeple seemed like "a folded parasol."

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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