Here's a look back at the most viewed Home & Garden stories of 2018 on qctimes.com
Davenport mansion is still magnificent, after all these years
Take one look at the Kuno Struck mansion, and you'd probably not guess that it's in central Davenport.
With its style of architecture, stone-and-red brick facade and gables with ball toppers, the looming structure looks more like something you'd expect to find in France or England or on some old-money estate on the East Coast.
But, no, the Struck mansion is definitely in Davenport, hiding out in the trees next to what used to be the former Marycrest College campus, just east of the Putnam Museum.
Retired Quad-City Times columnist Bill Wundram wrote about the home in 1958 when he was the Sunday editor of the Times-Democrat. The article was one in his series of "Magnificent Mansions of the Quad-Cities."
He described its rooms — the grand central staircase in the foyer, the stone fireplace in the massive living room, the honeycomb ceiling in the dining room and the curved walls with arched, colored glass windows in the solarium.
Patterned cloth wallpaper covered the walls and some of the ceilings and just about every room had leaded glass windows, most with some colored glass as well, he reported.
Those features still exist and on Oct. 8, when Realtor Rich Bassford listed the property for sale with photos posted online, he began getting inquiries from all over the country.
"We have had so much interest," Bassford, owner of Re/Max Elite Homes, Moline, said on Wednesday. "Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Georgia. In fact, there was a guy going to fly in today from Ohio. And we had a crew from Florida that wanted to film two scenes for a horror movie here."
Pictures of the home received 88,000 "shares" and "likes" in four days when they were posted on the "For the Love of Old Homes" Facebook page, he said.
And then just like that — in little more than a week — Bassford had an offer from a Quad-City area buyer. The asking price was $300,000 because, obviously, the place needs work. Some walls and ceilings have water damage, the grounds are overgrown and everywhere there is a need for fix-up.
But what architecture, what history.
Long-time Quad-Citians may remember the mansion from its former lives — as a private home with lavish parties, a meeting place for the former Marycrest College, and as a show home for the Tri-City Symphony Orchestra, now the Quad-City Symphony.
The home was built during 1910-11 by Dr. Kuno Struck and his wife, Norma Petersen Struck, daughter of Max D. Petersen, the oldest son of the founder of Petersen's Department Store, a forerunner of the present Von Maur chain, according to Quad-City Times archives.
It was designed by Walter Kruse and Rudolph J. Clausen; the latter was the son of Davenport's most prominent 19th century architect, Frederick J. Clausen.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Although Struck was a medical doctor, he practiced only a short time after his marriage, instead devoting his time to extensive travel, according to a biography included in the national register nomination. He also was a vice-president of the former Davenport Bank & Trust Co.
After Struck's death at the age of 63 in 1947, his wife and daughter, Dorothy, continued to live in the house, along with Dorothy's husband. A gardener and chauffeur also lived on the grounds, according to the "Magnificent Mansion" article. (The car was a Lincoln Continental limousine.)
Those were the years — the mid '50s to mid '60s — of the lavish parties, with musicians playing on the terrace in the summer and a pianist at the Steinway grand piano inside, according to the late Shirley Davis, writing in the Times.
The home eventually was sold out of the family and in 1978 it was acquired by Marycrest College, whose leaders planned to use it for offices and as a community gathering place that could be rented for weddings, receptions and meetings.
In 1984, a bevy of interior designers made over the home as a Decorators' Show House fundraiser for the symphony.
In 2002, the then-Marycrest International University closed due to declining enrollment, and the campus was purchased by Quad-City developer Chris Ales. His company redeveloped the campus into Marycrest Senior Living but the Struck mansion was not part of that.
In 2005, Ales sold the home to Marlene and Donald Talbot. It is now being sold by a holding company. The house comes with a three-car-plus garage and 3.2 acres of land.
aerial of Struck
Fall Parade of Homes: 'We think this is pretty unique'
Listed at $1.14 million, the house at 4877 Woodland Drive in Bettendorf is the most expensive on this year's Fall Parade of Homes, sponsored by the Quad-City Builders and Remodelers Association.
What makes one house cost more than another is a function of size, materials and location, and the home by Windmiller Design Build in the new development called The Woodlands has all three in spades.
The home contains 2,800 square feet on the main level and 3,712 on the lower-level walkout. The reason is that the area underneath the four-car garage is included.
The lower level has a southern exposure with full-sized windows and was designed and constructed so that with a minimum of fuss, one could remove walls and turn the area under the garage into another four-stall space for a car collection, a workshop or some other special use.
"We think this is pretty unique," builder Craig Windmiller said.
As for materials, there are custom-built cabinets and quartz countertops in the kitchen, bathrooms that amount to luxury spas, abundant windows and floors made of hardwood and tile, with carpet confined mainly to the bedrooms.
Quartz was chosen for the countertops because it is "the new thing now," replacing granite, Windmiller said. It is slightly more expensive than granite and is a little easier to maintain, he said.
The Woodlands also includes 49 townhomes; one of these and a second single-family home also will be on the parade. The townhomes are two-stories with 1,788 square feet of finished space with two-car garages. Snow removal and lawn care will be provided.
The townhome at 4470 Slate Creek Drive is listed at $270,200 and the home at 4617 Cottage Lane is listed at $507,900.
Outside materials of the Woodland Lane home include stone and a rough-textured synthetic stucco, with a slate porch stepping up to the 8-foot front door made of Douglas fir.
Inside the foyer and to your left is an office with one wall entirely taken up with built-in bookshelves and a window seat. Another wall is red brick.
Down the hall is the master suite with bath, closet (larger than many homes' bedrooms and including clothes rods, hooks, drawers, shelves and shoe racks) and a laundry.
"We find that a lot of people like the laundry next to the master," Windmiller said.
The living area of the great room has a vaulted ceiling, fireplace with built-ins and more windows than one can count at first glance.
Around to the right is a kitchen, all white and shiny chrome with multi-colored accents of gray in the herringbone-patterned marble backsplash. The dishwasher, refrigerator and pantry are hidden behind doors, and the island is 5 feet wide by 12 feet long.
A dining area opens to a 16- by 16-foot covered deck made out of composite materials.
Down the hall is a guest bedroom with its own bath and walk-in closet, a half-bath and a large mud room opening to the garage.
Downstairs, the home is set up as the Windmiller workspace with a reception area, individual offices and a full bath.
Two of the offices are designated as bedrooms, and the rest of the space can be reconfigured according to an owner's wishes — a bar with pub table, a large rec room, a craft room, an exercise room ... even that showroom garage.
The Forrest house: Exterior ornamentation is exceptional
Pittsburgh natives Steve and Terri Hammer moved to Davenport for their jobs in 2015, renting a two-floor downtown apartment in the former Davenport Bank Building.
As empty-nesters, they fell in love with the Mississippi River and the downtown, but, as Steve says, "there was no place to buy downtown."
So, they expanded their search.
Driving up Bridge Avenue on his way to work at Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Steve noticed an 1800s house for sale. He was especially intrigued by its carriage house on the side. The couple decided to take a look.
What they found was the John Forrest house, built in 1872 by one of Davenport's earliest settlers who also built three major commercial blocks downtown, one that is now apartments at 3rd and Brady streets.
The Forrest home had been vacant for about two years, and its most recent use had been as an office building with 11 different spaces. Tenants included a beauty shop, chiropractor, real estate and the office of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Despite this change in use and some neglect, both the inside and outside of the building were in decent shape.
The Hammers bought the home and on July 4, 2017, began a full scale restoration-rehab, hiring Bill Rowand, who has done extensive restoration work, particularly in Rock Island.
Major decisions included how to reconfigure the floor plan for their single-family use, and what to do with the south side of the house fronting East River Drive. A historical drawing shows the house originally had three separate areas on this side — a four-window bay in the middle with small porches on either side.
But around the time of World War I, these separate areas were made into one large veranda with a single roof, according to an architectural survey done by the city of Davenport in the early 1980s. The veranda later was enclosed in glass to make a sunroom running the entire width of the house.
The couple decided to keep the single roof, but reopen two of the three sections, revealing the four-window bay in the middle, while building a new porch on the east corner, and an enclosed sunroom on the west corner.
They purchased new beadboard for the porch ceiling, new pillars and Trek composite planks for the floor. They also chose an overall color scheme for the home of tan, accented by spruce green, dark red and yellow.
A tour of the inside
Walk in the front door, and you enter the old part of the house. Ahead is an Italiante-style walnut staircase and to your left is a large parlor-dining room.
A jaw-dropping feature of this room is the curved wall and curved crown molding next to the four-window bay. Steve is quick to say that the house has several examples of this kind of craftsmanship.
The original wood floor contains areas where boards are laid at angles to each other, creating patterns.
Beyond this parlor-dining room is a dramatically modern kitchen-family room that gets part of its drama from its finishes and part from its view.
The family portion of the room is the enclosed space of the sunroom, a side wall contains quoins (wood squares) that originally were outside. The dominant feature is a 5-foot by 10-foot picture window that looks out onto the Mississippi River, framed by evergreen trees. This is the dramatic view.
The dramatic finishes include a ceramic tile floor, a five-sided granite topped island, black stainless steel Kitchen Aid appliances and a backsplash made of wavy subway tile, accented with a band of glass in black, gray, silver and brown. The cabinets are gray, shaker-style with silver hardware. One of the cabinets features three doors of bubble glass.
Rounding out the home's first floor layout is a large pantry, a large laundry room, an office and a half-bath tucked under the staircase.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms and two baths. One of the bedrooms is the master suite consisting of the bedroom, a sitting room with a white Italiante-style marble fireplace and round-topped windows overlooking the Mississippi River and "her" bathroom.
The "her" bathroom is mainly black and white — white cabinets, black granite countertops, black and white tile floor and a white subway tile shower with a decorative band of multi-colored glass.
Elsewhere upstairs is the "his" bathroom, dominated by browns tones.
The carriage house — the feature that piqued Steve's interest — is still undergoing renovation, although the couple has installed a new, remote-opening garage door that is similar in style to the original sliding doors.
Above is the hay mow. You just don't find amenities like that anymore.
Inside the Victorian Inn in Rock Island
You may have driven by it — the large, towered mansion on the corner of Rock Island's 20th Street and 7th Avenue.
On Mother's Day, May 13, you'll have a chance to see what's inside.
The home built in the late 1880s and operated as the Victorian Inn bed-and-breakfast since 1989 will be open for tours, along with five others in the city's Broadway Historic District.
The three-story, cone-shaped tower identifies the inn owned by David and Barbara Parker as a Queen Anne style home, and there is a lot to see on the outside. Four porches, a cornice that also serves the utilitarian purpose of cradling the home's gutters and various styles of decorative shingles.
But be sure to allow plenty of time for the inside, too, because in addition to the "bones" of the home, furnishings and accessories also demand attention: Their daughter's wedding dress on a mannequin. A plate collection. Paintings by David's grandmother.
The home has been in the Parker family since 1944 when Paul and Ruth Parker bought the home when David was in third grade.
Some 40 years later when Paul died, David and Barbara came over to ready the home for sale. But "the more we cleaned, the less we wanted to sell," David said.
The Parkers finally decided they'd like the house for themselves and their family, and moved in during 1982, making it a bed-and-breakfast seven years later once their children were grown.
The couple has greatly enjoyed their guests over the years . "It's a very good use for this big house," Barbara said.
Some people stop on their way to somewhere else, but for most, the Quad-Cities is their destination. Some come specifically for the St. Patrick's Day Parade, while two couples have stayed at the inn more than 60 times over the years because they enjoy the area so much.
The home contains 2,500 square feet on each floor, but it didn't start out that large. The original home — the front — was less than half as large as today.
The bigger back addition was built in 1905. The owners at the time also added a central furnace — the home previously was heated by its seven fireplaces — electricity and indoor plumbing, meaning bathrooms and running water.
"The addition really drug this home into the modern era," David said. "It was really cutting edge."
If you go on the Mother's Day tour, you may wonder about the three stained glass windows in the home's tower, one featuring a large peacock and the other various Victorian-era designs.
These windows measuring three feet by five feet are not original to the home, but were made by Barbara Parker to add another splash of beauty to their home. The Parkers keep a light on in the tower at night so that the windows are visible for the simple enjoyment of people passing by.
Cambridge homeowner wonders who killed Mary Anderson in 1906
CAMBRIDGE, Ill. — About an hour after midnight on Dec. 30, 1906, someone forced open a kitchen window with a broken lock in a house on North West Street, moved through the house and climbed upstairs.
On the second floor, this person entered a bedroom where Henry Anderson, a wealthy landowner of 45, his wife, Mary, 26, and their 8-month-old baby were sleeping.
Mary woke and screamed for her husband.
A shot rang out, and a 22 caliber bullet pierced Mary's left temple, killing her instantly. Anderson awoke, raced down the stairs and out the front door for help, because the telephone line to the house had been cut.
Anderson first told the Henry County Sheriff that he had seen two figures in the room, then later settled on something like a shadow disappearing through the door.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader and The Moline Dispatch reported the crime, and Chicago newspapers soon followed, in part because an inordinate number of deaths — murder and suicide — had rocked the small, quiet, law-abiding town in the early 1900s.
Upon investigation, it was determined that $17 had been taken from the pocket of Henry Anderson's trousers, which were hanging on a rocking chair. But "in plain sight on the dressing table lay an open jewelry box containing a gold watch and jewels to the value of several hundred dollars," according to an article in the Dec. 31, 1906, Chicago Tribune.
"A wallet under the man's pillow containing $105 was untouched, and no disorder was visible in the room."
The Anderson crime was never solved. Despite several suspects, a $1,000 reward put up by the family and extensive work by both county law enforcement and investigators with the St. Paul office of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, no charges were ever brought.
Possible suspects; peace for Mary
The unresolved case is a puzzle that Patty Herges has been carrying around in her head for the past 40 years, ever since she and her husband, Geno, moved into the house where Mary was killed and made it their home, raising their two children there.
At this point, Patty doesn't expect the riddle will be solved unless, somehow, Mary herself would reveal her killer.
"I believe that there are spirits, and I believe Mary's spirit is in this house," Patty said one recent day, sitting on a sofa in the front parlor, heavy lace curtains on the windows. "If she would appear, she could let us know who killed her."
Patty's personal theory is that the man who broke in only wanted to steal from the Andersons and did not mean to kill Mary. Perhaps she recognized him and he didn't want to be caught, so he silenced her.
Through the years, Patty has collected information about the case, including newspaper clippings and notes from the Pinkerton agency. Several suspects emerged:
• The husband. A surviving spouse is always a prime suspect, with jealousy and various disagreements as the prime motives.
After the murder, the Chicago Sunday Record-Herald reported that Henry had been "driven insane by the shock of the crime and is a violent maniac."
"Husband is mad; may lose mind," read a headline in the Jan. 1 Moline Daily Dispatch.
"Henry Anderson raving maniac as result of wife's murder. Mystery as deep as ever. Authorities fail to throw slightest light on the shocking tragedy. Coroner's jury adjourns till Thursday. People divided over cause. Murder stirs Cambridge residents to rough-and-tumble encounter. Reward to be offered."
Yes, the residents of Cambridge had their own ideas as to who the murderer might be and they shared those ideas with newspapers that printed them.
"General opinion in Cambridge and the more valuable opinions of the detectives at work on the case exonerate the husband," according to the Chicago Sunday Record-Herald article published Jan. 13, 1907.
"When there is domestic trouble, a small town like Cambridge is pretty likely to have some inkling of it, but Anderson is said to have been devoted to and considerate of his wife."
The Chicago Tribune reported that the couple's married life was happy and that Mary's sister, a Mrs. William Whitney, had declared "that no love affair of girlhood days could furnish a motive."
• An Unnamed Suspect. Because the perpetrator entered the house through a window with a broken lock, suspicion fell on people who were familiar with the house, such as a young man whose father had installed the couple's furnace.
The day after the murder, this suspect left on a train and eventually ended up in an Aberdeen, South Dakota, prison for stealing. Suspicion about this young man was so strong that the Pinkerton detective agency made arrangements with the prison superintendent to enter the prison undercover, hoping to get the suspect to talk.
In making the request, the Pinkerton agency offered a possible motive, "We learned that young Unnamed Suspect, on the day of the murder, saw Mr. Anderson carrying in his pocket a large roll of currency, and we have reason to believe that he intended to get possession of this money while the owner and his wife were asleep and that as he approached the bed Mrs. Anderson awoke and in the dim light in the room identified the Unnamed Suspect, fearing the results, fired the fatal bullet."
The request was granted and the agency went undercover but, evidently, nothing concrete came of it.
• Henry's older brother, John, who "was wayward," according to the Sunday Record-Herald article.
"Many years ago he committed forgery. He was arrested and locked up in the county jail. While he was locked up some one — some say it was his sister — slipped saws into his cell and John escaped.
"He fled to Canada; but the officers followed and captured him. While they were bringing him back and before they had reached the United States border, John again escaped, and from that day to this has been at large."
Meantime, the men's father died, and Henry inherited the bulk of his property.
"John had a wife and child for whom, it is said, Henry did little or nothing," according to the Record-Herald. "They say in Cambridge that this wife and child had a hard struggle for respectable existence for years, and that it would have been only right for Henry to have tided them over the roughest places at least.
"And now Cambridge says that John Anderson was seen in the community before the murder.
"Could he have entered the house intending to force money from his brother or to kill Henry for the latter's neglect of John's wife and child and been forced to kill Henry's wife because she awakened first?"
The conjecture was left unanswered.
Despite that, Patty Herges has a sense of peace about Mary. She feels that Mary's spirit is a happy one "because we brought our children up in this house, (which) is what she wanted for herself."