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Property Details: The Kingman Estate     


Property Details: The Kingman Estate
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Property Information
The Kingman Estate
13710 240th Ave.
Orleans, IA
Find it with Google™ Maps!
Price: $1,425,000
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4
Square Feet: 5,375
Year Built:
1870
Architectural Style:
Victorian
(c.1860-1900)
 
Contact Information
Name: Mary Lynn Ingvall
Agency: Ingvall Real Estate Team
Phone: 712-330-1121
Email: Send an email...
    Historic real estate listing for sale in Orleans, IA
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Property History

History of Alvarado Kingman and Kingman Place 1857-1940

Immediately following the Massacre of 1857, Alvarado Kingman and his twin brother Rosalvo came to Spirit Lake. That same year, in September, Alvarado returned to his home in Wisconsin. He and his wife Esther loaded their covered wagon and with their only child at that time, Harriet, embarked on the three-week trip, over prairies and rivers, back to Spirit Lake, the town that would become their home for five generations. Over the next decade, two other daughters were born, Abbie and Mary Francis. The Kingman’s spent that first year in the Log Fort that Alvarado and his brother had built earlier that year with the other pioneers. Harriet’s article in the SL Beacon (November 25, 1936) describes life for the Kingman’s in the fort during those early years.
During the Civil War, Union Troops in Iowa were assigned not to fight the Confederate Army, but to frontier duty, managing relations with the Indians. Alvarado enlisted and served under General Sully, who placed Alvarado in charge of the Spirit Lake Cavalry. His assignment was to patrol over a long line of unsettled prairie and exposed frontier, an area made intense by the Minnesota massacre of 1862.

Alvarado’s negotiation and relationship-building skills created a measure of amity with the Native Americans, who often came to the fort to trade or for medical care, when ill. Some were invited to join the troops there for holiday celebrations. History records some potentially hostile encounters north of the Lake that Alvarado and the Indians settled with negotiations, with both sides retreating.


Before the end of the Civil War, Alvarado built a primitive home on the site of the current home. He officially came into ownership of the property when the Homestead Act was enacted in 1865 (the size of property was then 160 acres). In 1870, Kingman owned 640 acres here on the west side of the lake and another 640 acres SE of the lake. At that time, no other home existed on the lake or within two miles of his property (See SL Beacon Story, “An Iowa Blizzard in the Days of ’65”). Kingman’s property extended
from north of Templar Park down to the middle of the southernmost part of Big Spirit Lake and about a mile west. The western half he later leased to other farmers, and he farmed the rest.

In 1869, Esther told Alvarado that if he wanted her to stay in Iowa, he would have to build her a “home like they’re building in Boston.” At that time, New Englanders were growing tired of the colonial style architecture; new homes were built in the Italianate style. So, in 1870, Alvarado hired a St. Louis architect to design an Italianate farmhouse. He traveled with 90 ox-drawn wagons to Mankato, MN to purchase milled wood for the home. With his brother, Rosalvo, he dug out the full basement and built the current seventeen-room home with, as the Spirit Lake Beacon described it, “all the comforts of New England.” The Beacon went on to say “It will be an elegant structure, and well adapted to home comfort, and we know no family better entitled to such a home than the Kingman’s.”

From this time until 1940, the history of Kingman Place is described in the following article, written by Peter Narey, Alvarado’s great-grandson.

“High on the west bank of Spirit Lake stands a big, old, green-shuttered house, surrounded and guarded by native oaks, maple and basswood. Beside the front door stands a huge old lilac bush, which has shed its fragrance for over 50 years. This site is called Kingman Place. It is the oldest and one of the best-known spots on Iowa’s biggest lake.

Kingman Place is a bit of New England dropped on the wide expanse of the middle west prairies. Here, in the year 1858, came a tall stalwart young man, Alvarado Kingman. He brought with him his young wife who knew nothing of the hardships of pioneer life, but had unlimited faith in her clear-eyed, ambitious young soldier husband.

Soon after the Civil War, Alvarado Kingman built the home which is still standing and is still the home of the Kingman’s. Lumber for the home was hauled overland by oxen from Mankato, Minnesota. The Civil War soldier built for his family one of the finest homes in the whole territory, with its seventeen rooms and the comfort of New England. At the time the home was built there were many acres with it. The land extended north past what is now Templar Park, and west including the present day Panghorn farm, the Walter White farm, and the McCarthy farm. To the south, it extended as far as does Big Spirit Lake.

In 1890, following the death of his wife, Mr. Kingman sold to B.F. Stevens, a St. Louis millionaire. Stevens built a model dairy farm, which was at the time, the largest in the United States. Next to the house, he built a tall cooling and observation tower, the Kingman Tower, which still stands as a great attraction to tourists. At the turn of the century, Stevens brought electricity to Spirit Lake, building the first power plant and donating it to the town. Kingman Place became one of the first homes in northwest Iowa to have electric power.

In 1913, Stevens sold the home to Mrs. A. F. Bergman, the daughter of Alvarado Kingman, the builder, and she moved back into the home, in which she has spent her childhood. Four generations have lived within the walls of this home. Brides have come down the long Grand Staircase, reflected in the tall pier glass. Little boys have coasted down the long walnut banister. Fishing rods and reels of yesterday and golf sticks have rested against the old spinning wheel, the skates of several generations have leaned on the old grandfather clock.

Many treasures, perhaps not of great intrinsic value, but rich in memories are in the high-ceilinged rooms. There are rosewood chairs and tables and a square Chickering piano. There are walnut beds, walnut wardrobes and sideboards, woven coverlids, braided rugs and a Wedgewood dinner set used by five generations of Kingman's. There is a chest of solid mahogany on which three locks were destroyed by Indians during a week in 1962 when the settlers lived in the stockade in Spirit Lake and the Indians
were on the rampage north of here.

In the spring, the waters in the ravines on both sides of the house go singing down to the lake as they did years ago when, through the twilight, a young mother watched those ravines, terrified that the red of the sumac bushes might be the red of an Indian blanket, a young mother tense with suspicion of every crackling twig and rustling leaf.

But those years have gone and Kingman Place lives on—dear to the memory of scores of persons who have been sheltered under the friendly trees and hospitable roof. Kingman place today is better known for its hospitality and the cottages tucked among the trees away from the noise and confusion of the highway, close to the lake where the waves sing the guests to sleep or the winds play a harp in the tree-tops.

Just to go past, one senses that here is a place where the tenor of life is quiet and happy, just the sort of spot for summer’s leisurely pace. Many are the folk who come again and again from the traffic and the noise to spend a vacation close to the wind and the waves and to carry home a peaceful smile.

 

 
Property Description

Incomparable…Built in 1870 and beautifully maintained to this day, the exquisite historic estate of Kingman Place is opening its doors to the next fun-loving family wishing to call it their summer or full-time home! Perfectly situated on the southwest side of Big Spirit Lake (13710 240th Avenue), and gracing a rare, full acre of land and 102’ of lake front, Kingman Place has 5,375 sq. ft. including lower level, 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2baths, a gracious entry with grand staircase, front parlor, fireside library, hickory floors, formal dining room, butler’s pantry, lake view family room and two enclosed porches. Lakeside offers a large boathouse with rooftop entertainment area, wooden deck, dock and two boat hoists. With along history of fabulous parties, community entertaining and family fun, (once a stop for the ‘Queen’ steam boat when it ran on Big Spirit Lake), Kingman Place exudes strength, beauty, history and modern functionality. Elegance, Beauty, and FUN!! Make it yours.

 

Last Updated: June 9, 2024
All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified.


 
 

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