Touring the home of Curtis and Elizabeth Roseman of Moline is as much a walk through family history as it is of a house.
This Moline bungalow was built in 1924 by Curtis Roseman's grandfather, Gust Johnson. Curtis and Elizabeth Roseman now live in the home.
Everywhere you look, there are objects significant to the Rosemans' parents and grandparents and, by extension, significant to them, beginning with the house itself, a bungalow built in 1924 by Curtis Roseman's grandfather, Gust Johnson.
The home has been in the family since its construction, and when the Rosemans decided in 1999 to move back to Moline from California where Curtis taught geography at the University of Southern California, they bought the home from Curtis' siblings.
Rather than clearing out the old things — papers, furniture, pictures — and creating a wholly new look, they have honored and preserved the past, adding their story to the script begun generations ago.
"We've tried to save as many things as we could," Curtis Roseman says.
Roseman's grandfather emigrated to Moline from Sweden in 1899 at the age of 18 and, as Roseman says, "spent a lifetime building the American Dream."
That is, over the course of his life, Johnson built 80 homes in the Quad-Cities and surrounding towns. The bungalow the Rosemans live in was the second home he built for himself and his wife.
Johnson built in several styles; the bungalow was popularized in the early 1900s as an affordable house, usually 1½ stories with a front porch, a low-pitched roof and Craftsman-style features inside.
Enter the Rosemans' front door and you immediately face three more doors, all with glass knobs. One opens to a closet, another to Grandfather Johnson's construction office (so customers wouldn't have to traipse through the house) and the third to the living room.
The Rosemans chuckle that the home is rife with doors; they've counted them several times, and 26 is the number they've settled on.
The living room has a brick fireplace with wood mantel and both the living room and adjoining dining room have deep crown molding and red oak floors. China cupboards with leaded glass fronts are built into two corners of the dining room.
While all these features are hallmarks of a typical bungalow home, it is the personal items that stand out.
An upright piano made by the J. Peterson Co., Moline.
A Belgian tapestry that belonged to Elizabeth Roseman's grandmother.
The colored engagement photos of Grandfather Johnson and Grandmother Selma Carlson. Selma worked for 10 years as a maid in the household of Minnie Stephens Allen and her husband, industrialist Frank G. Allen. Their fabulous Moline mansion, Allendale, serves today as the administrative offices for the Moline-Coal Valley School District.
Then, there's the kitchen.
Against one wall are the original cupboards, including an ice box with an interior door opening to the porch where the ice man would make his delivery. The wall cabinets are white, while the base cabinets are a rich color called Alaskan green. In between the white marble countertops (a recent upgrade) there is the original white enamel farmhouse sink, complete with wear marks.
On the opposite wall there's an enamel Magic Chef stove with decorative designs that was a wedding present to Curtis Roseman's parents in 1934. On another wall, next to the floor, there's a small door attached to a chain that is the dust chute.
In the center of the room is a bright yellow Formica-topped table and metal chairs upholstered with yellow vinyl.
Elizabeth Roseman loves standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window, thinking of the generations of people who washed dishes there before her. The connection is comforting, she says.
The other side of the house contains two bedrooms, the bathroom (updated with a shower with hexagonal tile walls mimicking the original floor) and built-in cupboards and drawers in the hallway.
Rounding out the floor plan is Grandfather's office filled with bookshelves stacked with books, boxes of papers and other items the Rosemans haven't organized yet.
The upstairs contains two additional bedrooms.
Outside in the backyard stands a huge Norway spruce that Grandfather Johnson brought back from Sweden during a return trip in 1930 when the tree was "a little sprout," Roseman said. He and Elizabeth enjoy looking at photos of the house that show the tree at various heights through the years.
It grew, changed and remains, just like the family.