Front Street Inn Opens!
by Willa Clark
A 110-year-old house in desperate need of repair on Humeston's Front Street has become a gracious and lovely inn, thanks to the efforts of Todd and Kari Lambirth. Front Street Inn hosted its first guests last week, when Kathy and Jeff DeKoter and their children spent nearly a week in Humeston.
Kathy's father Paul Gunzenhauser reports it was a comfortable arrangement, they could spend lots of time together, and "I didn't have to cook breakfasts."
Todd Lambirth said he wasn't sure what to expect when he agreed to look at the house, which was built in 1908 by Iowa Senator Joseph Doze. He had been looking at houses in Chariton, with an eye for rental properties, when realtor Betty Hansen urges him to check out this one. This house had been empty for some time, and sagging porches were overgrown with vegetation. "This better be special on the inside." Lambirth thought as he approached the house. As soon as he stepped in the door and saw the wood, from stately ceiling beams to oak floors, he knew he liked the house. The unique open stairway clinched the deal. At first, Todd Lambirth did not really know that the home would become an inn. He just knew this was a wonderful house that needed to be saved. The possibilities of an inn drew Kari on board. She envisions not only an inn, but a landscaped yard that will host lovely weddings, parties and other events. The spacious first floor allows intimate family time or is open to accommodate larger groups for meetings or events. A three-season sun room is a comfortable spot to relax and could expand the dining area. While an original coal burner still resides in the first-floor fireplace, it is not functional. Guests will enjoy the comfort of newly installed central air and heating systems. Todd Lambirth knows these old houses are famous for uneven temperatures, so a second central air and heat system in the attic serves the second floor. The fireplace mantel had been removed, and the Lambirths searched high and low for a replacement that would match. They finally found one in the Brass Armadillo in Kansas City. That's not all they found. A carved bedroom suite complete with radio cabinet, a unique ice chest that became a side tables and other antique furnishings filled the van as they returned to Front Street Inn.
While the Lambirths are still working on the details of marketing, their calendar is showing reservations. Single rooms are available, or families may choose whole-house rental and , if they wish, do their own cooking.
The cupboards are fully stocked with fine dinnerware and cookware, along with basic spices, herbs and condiments for those who choose to cook their own meals. Guests will find pancake mix, cereals and more for a simple breakfast. For other meals, bring your own food or pick up supplies at the local grocery store, or dine out at a local cafe. The kitchen is one room where the Lambirths focused on modern, rather than antique furnishings.
"We want to have all the amenities for our guests to stay here comfortably," Kari says. Whether guests area cooking full meals or just using the frig for cold beverages, they will find the Inn's kitchen to be not only convenient, but also a comfortable place to gather.
Upstairs, four bedrooms feature furnishings period to the house, with the choice of new mattresses from pillowtop to firm. Kari says her favorite would have to be the Lilac Room, where windows open to let in summer's south breezes and huge shade trees shelter from the sun.
"When you wake up in the morning, birds are singing in these trees," she says. Other choices are Ivy, Sunflower and Rose rooms.
Renovating the house has been a lengthy process, but the Lambirths are experienced. Todd heads up the graphic design department for Woodsmith Magazine at August Home Publishing in Des Moines. His knowledge of woodworking has been a huge asset. Kari operates Ellis Greenhouse in Lucas and has landscaping plans in the works for Front Street Inn. Together, they have given new life to several houses over the years. They also called on Darin Keller of Allerton, who has a history of home renovation. He worked full-time nearly a year, and Todd and Kari spent every spare moment. Original plaster was mostly in good shape, but crumbling wallpaper was removed and walls skim-coated. Every bit of woodwork has been refinished.
"This old house has awesome bones," Todd says. A sagging ceiling in the dining area was the only structural issue, and that was where a previous owner had cut through floor joists to install plumbing in the second floor. In spite of the initial appearance with those sagging porches, the rest was structurally sound.
Todd and Kari say the community support has been almost overwhelming. People thank them for taking an interest not only in the house, but also in the community.
"Everybody has a story about this house," Todd says. Some point out the tree their grandparents planted, the rooms they used to play in or the fact that they almost lived in that house. He is collecting those stories and researching the house's history.
And he's hoping a lot more people will make history of their own at Front Street Inn. Whether you are looking for a romantic get-away, or need a place for all those children and grandchildren to land when they come home to visit you, or are looking for a unique spot for your next meeting, Front Street Inn may be your place. Contact Front Street Inn at www.homeaway.com, on facebook, or at 641-203-2643.
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(This article from the Humeston New Era. Pictures from Front Street Inn Facebook page)
Vote NOW for MT POOL
Vote for Mormon Trail Pool in Wellmark's 75th birthday celebration, and help the pool get $7500 toward renovations! It's easy, and you can vote once each day between now and September 7 from every Internet ISP connection you have, whether that is your home office internet or your smart phone.
Go to www.wellmark.com/75, click on Vote for Your Favorite. Then choose Mormon Trail Pool (it's almost at the bottom of the list.) Vote every day! There are currently 108 projects in the contest and the top 10 vote-getters will each get $7500. Vote now and vote often!
Great News from Humeston City Hall
A special announcement from City Hall:
Phase 1 of the ongoing beautification of the
City of Humeston is complete!
Several years ago, citizens and friends of Humeston began a journey together to update and beautify the town. Now, as one visits the city, they can stroll down safe sidewalks as they shop or enjoy the nice weather on one of the bright and friendly donated memorial benches. Visitors will also enjoy the new town clock, freshly painted water tower, and continuing landscaping efforts throughout the town.
At this time, City Hall proudly announces that due to your generosity, the needs for memorial benches have been met! Humeston City Hall would like to thank everyone who has donated memorial benches as well as those who have volunteered time, efforts and skill sets to plant trees, paint, wire, fund raise and bring to life the vision of Phase 1.
As we enter Phase 2, new projects and needs arise. Some of those new needs focus on the continuing development of the RV Park, Humeston Union Depot & Museum complex and the ongoing needs of the Chris Street Memorial Park.
In Phase 2, Humeston City Hall would like to install permanent picnic tables at the RV Park. These picnic tables will continue to offer families the ability to enjoy all that our town has to offer. Much like the memorial benches, the picnic tables may be donated as a memorial to a loved one, or sponsored by a class, business, or individual. Plaques indicating the memorial or sponsorship will be installed with the picnic tables.
Another goal during Phase 2 is to install permanent trash recepticles throughout the city to encourage continuing efforts to keep the city clean and safe.
If you or someone you know would like to discuss memorial picnic table donations or sponsorships or learn more about the city needs during Phase 2, please contact Humeston City Hall at 641-877-6841.
With continued teamwork and ongoing efforts and enthusiasm, we are certain that Phase 2 will be as successful as Phase 1 and look forward to these new opportunities to continue the beautification of our beloved town!
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