Schowengerdt House reopening this week after lengthy renovation

Historical home restored to 1890s splendor

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 12/2/21

For the first time in more than six years, a lovingly restored home that’s more than 150 years old will open its doors to Christmas-time visitors in Warrenton.

The Schowengerdt House, a …

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Schowengerdt House reopening this week after lengthy renovation

Historical home restored to 1890s splendor

Posted

For the first time in more than six years, a lovingly restored home that’s more than 150 years old will open its doors to Christmas-time visitors in Warrenton.

The Schowengerdt House, a Victorian-style home on Warrenton’s Main Street, will host tours on Dec. 4, 10 and 12. Visitors will get to enjoy the home decorated for Christmas, and will be led by volunteer guides who will explain the history of the Schowengerdt home and the family that was once a prominent part of the Warrenton community.

Tours are from 2:30-8:30 Dec. 4, 5:30-8:30 Dec. 10, and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 12. Visitors who are age 12 and older will be asked to purchase $10 tickets for entry, with proceeds going to continued historical restoration.

It’s the first time since 2014 that guests will be welcomed to the Schowengerdt House for Christmas tours. The home, which is owned and maintained by the Warren County Historical Society, has been closed for years because of structural and aesthetic deterioration.

Angie Hilbert, the current chair of the committee that maintains the house, said contractors and volunteers have been working for more than a year to restore the Schowengerdt home to the splendor it would have had during its prime in the 1890s. The home was originally built in 1866 and was later expanded with a prominent, multi-story turret.

Hilbert described the restoration as a massive undertaking, including everything from installation of significant new structural supports, to flooring restoration, to custom stenciling that matches the style of home’s original wall decor. Extensive improvements on the home’s exterior and garden are also ongoing, but Hilbert said volunteers wanted to once again welcome visitors this year.

“We hope that they can experience this history being preserved. Here we have this house that was built in 1866, and we had volunteers who cared to want to preserve the house,” Hilbert said. “On the tour, we want people to know the history of the home and the people who lived here.”

When major restorations began in October 2020, part of the upper floor of the home had begun to sink due to a lack of structural support. After removing all the furniture and stripping the wallpaper, Hilbert said major plaster damage was also discovered and subsequently repaired. Windows, woodwork and flooring throughout the house were repaired and refinished.

Outside the home, volunteers are restoring gardens that the last occupants of the Schowengerdt House had once loved, and that caretakers hope community members will get to enjoy once again.

The entire project has cost the nonprofit historical society more than $100,000, Hilbert said. She hopes the extensive work of volunteers and the historical society will allow the community to enjoy and appreciate one of Warren County’s historical treasures for many years to come.

With much of the work now done, Hilbert commented that she hopes the historical society can begin hosting more frequent planned tours and educational events at the Schowengerdt House. That continued enjoyment of the home was made possible only through community support and a team of dedicated volunteers, she said.

“One person doesn’t do this alone. It’s teamwork, everybody working together,” Hilbert said. “We have the best volunteers. They’ve been phenomenal. Without them, none of this would have happened.”

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