The A.K. Allen house, an 1862 two-story brick house that survived Quantrill’s Raid, is receiving some much-needed attention from a small out-of-town development group led by a KU grad. Classical Developments LLC, with Mike Heitmann as managing member, is well underway with a rehab of 945 Kentucky, after recently completing a project on another threatened property at 1208 Mississippi Street. Mike is an architectural engineer, and the company has been formed as a side project to positively impact the older architecture that he loves.
The house was in foreclosure and had sat vacant for many years. The gable-front National Folk nine-room house was designed by architect Ferdinand Fuller, one of the leaders of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, and built for Asaph King Allen, a free-state settler to Lawrence in the 1850s.
Preservation consultant Dale Nimz was hired to research the history of the house and to help the ownership group identify qualified craftspeople to work on the project. A big first step involved full restoration of the wood windows in the original portion of the house. The windows were in horrible shape. Wood Window Rescue Inc., based in Oklahoma, took the windows to its Kansas City shop, where each was masterfully restored. New wooden storm windows also were fabricated and installed.
Neal Isaacs currently is repointing the exterior brick using mortar mixed to historic specifications. An appropriately sized addition is framed in back, and additional work, including a reconstruction of the original front porch, is now beginning under the direction of General Contractor Mark Engleman. Once this project is completed, the structure will be rented as a duplex.
945 Kentucky is a contributing property in the Oread Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and historic tax credits are being used to help finance the work. Saving a pre-Quantrill house near downtown is an extraordinary thing. LPA applauds this effort and is so glad that a KU grad is coming back to make such positive improvements to our city’s historic housing stock.