Park Avenue home dating back to 1901 gets a much-needed 21st-century facelift
PRINCETON — The historic home at 223 Park Avenue West has gotten quite a facelift this past year.
The home was purchased last September by Michael and Sue Stutzke of Princeton who have had the structure renovated to match its historical integrity when it was built in 1901.
“It’s been quite a project over the past year,” Michael said.
The home itself holds plenty of historic value. It was considered the Cadillac of homes when it was built at the turn of the century for Clarence and Elizabeth Delano.
Clarence was the son of John and Martha Delano, and took over his father’s mercantile business in 1876. Clarence was also associated with the First National Bank as a director. According to the Bureau County Historical Society, the home was built at a cost of $10,500.
The next owner of the home was Elmer Sapp who was involved in the grain business and was with the Wyanet Bank with his brother, William Sapp. Elmer was also involved in the Bureau County Independent Telephone Company at one time.
The home was featured in a July 1902 edition of the Bureau County Republican, which claimed construction was complete of the “modern three-story residence” on West South Street (the street is known today as Park Avenue West).
The grand home was built in the Colonial Revival style (1880-1955). Identifying features include a hipped roof and dormers, swag and garland ornamentation, a wraparound porch with classical columns that rest upon pedestals, polygonal tower, round dormer, and cornice-line modillions.
So why take on this project?
The Stutzkes recognized from the beginning they were taking on a big project when they purchased the home a year ago, but one of their main reasons for doing it stems from their love for Princeton.
“When we do projects like this, it’s a way of giving back to the community,” Michael said. “We were nervous at first with the size of it, but realized the potential.”
It’s not the first big, historic project the Stutzkes have completed in Princeton. They also took on restoring the Knox Hotel building on North Main Street, which was completed in 2018.
“It was such an eyesore when you came across the railroad tracks. It wasn’t welcoming to the community. So when we did the project, we wanted to accomplish something aesthetically inviting to people when they came into Princeton,” he said.
The same feeling was there when the Stutzkes thought about the historical homes on Park Avenue.
Michael said Princeton deserves a renaissance. He pointed out how it’s home to the oldest high school in the state. It’s home to many individuals recognized for their contribution to the arts. It’s also home to several historic buildings and homes that represent a period of time when folks from the farming community retired to the city and built beautiful homes that are still around today.
“(Princeton) should be an attraction for people to get off the interstate and take a look around,” he said, adding Park Avenue should be made a signature street for grand homes within the city.
The undertaking of a historic home
Michael said the quality of historic homes speaks for itself. With such unique historical features, the Stutzkes attempted to keep every detail, and re-do the ones that needed restoring to fit the historical integrity of the home.
One of the biggest undertakings was figuring a way to install a non-intrusive air conditioning unit. They ultimately chose a forced air system, designed for older homes, that doesn’t take away from the character of the home.
Another big undertaking was replacing brick all around the foundation of the home, which wasn’t originally planned but ultimately approved so that they could ensure the foundation was still in good shape, which it was.
Various electrical upgrades were also installed, as well as a new kitchen.
“Knowing the history, we wanted to do it right. I think some people scratched their heads and wondered why we were doing this project, but in the end, when you get to stand back and take a good look at it, you take a lot of pride in it,” Michael said.
The home is currently on the market through Landmark Realty with an asking price of $460,000.