Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brown Mansion

Monday we took in a couple of the local attractions since we had the day off. We went to take a tour of the Brown mansion, located just a couple miles from us and it sits just on the outskirts of Coffeyville. Here is a picture of the exterior. We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside.

What a beautiful house this is ! We got to see every room in the house, starting in the basement. The basement is huge, with a tool room, big laundry area, walk-in cooler (overhead area held blocks of ice to keep it cold), butler bedroom and his own bathroom, potting room, wine making and storage room (Vicki would love this), hand operated elevator and a bowling alley. Can you believe it ? And the whole thing had concrete floors and walls and was absolutely dry. It was amazing.
Mr. Brown was the first oil and gas man in the area and that is where his wealth came from. He also got into lumbering and all the wood in the house was hand picked by him. He was a very tall man...6'3" and his wife was 4'8"....her original wedding dress was still in the bedroom and her tiny little shoes. They had 5 children, one girl the rest boys...but none of the boys survived. The daughter had one child...a boy and it too also there are no descendants to this family remaining. The top floor of the house had a ballroom, with two "fainting" rooms...where the women in their ballgowns with the tight corsets could go and lay down and one of the maids would fan them....How nice !
The house had a music room, parlor, living room, kitchen with pantry, solarium, a skylight made from the bottoms of Coke bottles (he was building "green" even back then) laundry chute that sent clothes to the basement from the other floors, many bedrooms (the guest bedroom was used by President Taft when he came to visit - he was a close friend of the Browns)and several bathrooms. It is a beautiful house...several Tiffany lamps and glass work and one of the original light bulbs invented by Edison. It is still going strong and has outlasted all the other bulbs around it !!
When we asked the tour guide about the extent of their wealth, she said that he brought in $5000/day from the oil and gas business and from the bath house (he had a 15 room bath house in town where people could go and soak in sulfur water as a health thing) he brought in $3000/day..Wow, that's alot of money !! The house was started in 1898 and completed in 1906. In the 30's, they returned to the house as they were getting old and grew ill. The daughter returned to take care of them. Mr and Mrs Brown passed away, two months apart...The daughter later went into a nursing facility and left the house to the historical society.
We would encourage anyone thinking of seeing it to take the tour. We bought a combination ticket (good for Brown Mansion and the Dalton Museum) for $7.50.

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