On May 14, 2022, the Waverly Historic Preservation Commission (WHPC) celebrated National Preservation Month by honoring three historic homes with a local award. Waverly Historic Preservation Award recipients include Randy and Karen Neuendorf, 321 1st Street SE.
The award recognizes exterior improvements and renovations to buildings that are sensitive to the original architectural character. The Neuendorfs are proud to note that their home has been restored to reflect elements of the original architecture, paint and design. They continue to follow in the footsteps of the proud previous owners in preserving and enhancing the historic character of the house.
Construction on this home began in 1892, when Judge George Ruddick, a longtime lawyer in Waverly, demanded a retirement home for him and his wife, Estella. His “beautiful residence in the prettiest part of the residential part of town”, according to a local newspaper, was built in the Queen Anne style. It was known at the time for its tapered details on the porches and its stair-step windows on the north side. The original reported cost of the home was $3,000.
Judge Ruddick chose to build in the southeast part of town, on what was formerly known as East Water Street South. He and Estella had five children after their marriage in 1859 but lost three in the diphtheria epidemic of 1878. The surviving children were already adults and employed as a banker at Waverly (son Julian) and as a jeweler/man business in Colorado (son Berosus), who left the big house as a home for only the retired legislator, attorney and district court judge and his wife.
Its construction was obviously of great interest to the citizens of Waverly. Local newspapers followed the process closely. They mentioned that Mr. George Clark, of Grand Rapids, MI, came to town with his family to serve as the construction superintendent of the house. They described the work undertaken to clear the lot of trees, the digging of the cellar, the laying of the foundations and the exact date when the house was first occupied: December 15, 1892. After the retirement of the judge Ruddick in January 1893, he and Estella completed their move into the finished house.
Randy and Karen Neuendorf, who had experience renovating a historic home in Tripoli, Iowa, purchased this home in 2006 hoping to restore it with respect to its authentic, historic character. To that end, they chose a historic four-color paint scheme and restored the porches, petticoats, and porch railings to reflect the original architecture.
Elements of the structure remained intact, including the stair-step windows on the north side. A unique interior feature is the “maid’s quarter” (as identified by the original architectural plans, which the Neuendorfs are in possession of), which includes a small bedroom, closet and access to the outside, all separated from the main room. living quarters. The house remains largely unchanged over time, except for the porch railings, posts and skirting boards, the period fence and the enclosed side porch.
Vintage photos of this house and other historic local architecture are available in the Waverly Public Library’s Historic Photograph Collection. A list of past award winners, guidelines and a nomination form can be found on the WHPC website at: www.waverlyia.com/HPAward.