When the stately Mediterranean manor at the corner of First and Roosevelt was built in 1921, it was billed as “the largest, the finest and the most expensive private dwelling in Kansas.”
The mansion, built by Butler County oil tycoon (and Augusta’s first mayor) Warren E. Brown, was built at a cost of roughly $200,000. Today, that would be about $2.5 million.
It was perhaps the most grandiose house in College Hill – together with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Allen-Lambe House on the same block.
And it truly was a majestic home – the outside is characterized by its Bedford stone columns near its south entrance, its archways and its green, Spanish roof tiles.
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The house was built in a modified Italian style, in the shape of an irregular cross. It originally had 26 rooms, including 10 bathrooms, though the Stoppels have since reduced it to eight. It has 120 windows.
On the inside, massive American black walnut beams dominate its entryway while guests walk over alternating Belgian marble and quartersawn oak floors.
But when Ken and Tena Stoppel inquired about purchasing the home in 2003, nearly all of those floors were hidden under carpet and some of those walls were covered in wallpaper.
The Stoppels, both from small towns in western Kansas, bought the house and set about to restore it to its former luster. They are the fifth owners of the home.
It had been the first-ever Symphony Showhouse in 1979, and parts of it had not been redecorated since then.
In 2003, it was selected to be a showhouse yet again.
As a result of that showhouse makeover and various projects throughout the years, the home at 205 N. Roosevelt is regal again – frequently the site of family gatherings and other social events.
When the Stoppels host parties, 150 people can easily fit inside and spill over into the outdoor living areas, which includes a pool in their courtyard.
“We feel like caretakers of the home,” said Ken Stoppel, who is the CEO of Building Controls & Services. “Sometimes we feel like we live in a museum.”
The couple prominently displays decades-old renderings of the home, as well as original blueprints and drawings from the 1920s.
The five-bedroom home is about 7,500 square feet and also has about 1,200 square feet of livable space in its basement.
Want to see it for yourself? Go on a virtual tour of the Stoppels’ mansion at www.kansas.com/video.
Every month, the Eagle will publish a video tour of one of the Wichita area’s most unique homes.
We’re calling the series “My Home.”