1730 NW Grove is part of what was the Belvoir Mansion property. Belvoir was built by John Knox, a preacher, banker and real estate speculator. His office was in the Columbian building downtown, which he also built. The Belvoir Mansion property began at the corner of Woodlawn and Grove and stretched to what is now the highway on the north (then it was the Rock Island Railroad). Belvoir sat atop the hill overlooking the river and CW Potwin’s new development. Surrounded by a hedge of cherry trees and the mansion featured an orchard with apple, pear, and peach trees and an extensive vineyard.
During the Panic of 1893, Knox lost everything, including Belvoir. And the mansion passed through a number of hands, but much of the time was empty. In 1922 the firm of Neiswanger and Wilson bought the property including the mansion and 55 acres. They subdivided the property into 25 lots which they named the “Potwin Court” subdivision. They resold the mansion to LF Garlinghouse who proceeded to tear down the mansion, brick by brick. The materials from the mansion were then used by Garlinghouse to build houses where the mansion stood and in the area. It is rumored that the brick from the foundation was used to build the first two houses on the west side of the street on Elmwood and Grove and parts of Belvoir can be found in many area homes. Parting out old homes that were slated for destruction and reusing the parts, down to the nails, was a common practice at this time.
The majority of the houses on Potwin Court were built by Garlinghouse or Neiswanger. The building permits for this house have not been found at KSHS so it is impossible to say which of these men built 1730, but most likely one of them did. It is very close in interior layout to several of the designs in Garlinghouse plan books, all of which feature a large screened in porch along the west side where currently the 3rd bedroom and tv room are and this is consistent with the foundation. The foundation also indicates that the kitchen was added on to at some point fairly early on. During renovations the outline of the fireplace was found and a fireplace mantle has been returned to this location is within an inch of the original fireplace size. There is no indication that the fireplace was ever functional or had a chimney and the house next door to the east (which is very similar) has an original, non-functional fireplace.
1730 is in the 1922 Hall’s city directory and then again in the Kansas census records in 1925. The owners are WA and Freda Hughes and their 2 year old daughter Margaret. He worked for the Bell Telephone. This would put it at one of the early houses in the subdivision.
1930-1950 Polk directory lists Bror Unge and his wife Edith.
In the 1948 Polk city directory lists Glenn S and Letha McCune as living there. He worked at the Jayhawk Service Station are listed as living there and Unge does not appear in the directory.
Later in the 1950’s the house was owned by John and Ruby Campbell, he was the principal and she was a teacher at the Potwin School.
1991-2020 Dick and Inez Tasker
· This information was obtained from city directories. City directories indicate who lived there, not who owned the property.