Historic mansion

The historic Lebold Mansion is believed to be the location of the first residence in Abilene.

Once declared the “finest dwelling house west of Topeka” by an 1883 history of Kansas, the Lebold Mansion, 106 N. Vine, has had more than its share of ups and downs.

A sheriff’s sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in the lobby of the courthouse in Dickinson County. The sale will be to the highest and best bidder for cash in hand, according to the published notice. The historic residence is listed on realtor.com for $579,900.

It started as a stone dugout, the first residence in Abilene, built by Timothy Hersey in July 1857.

Over the dugout, Hersey built the first log cabin in the area, then added stables, a store and a grist mill.

In the 1860s, the site became a stop on the Overland Stage line, and Elizabeth Hersey served food to the travelers. The stage line kept horses and mules nearby to change stock for the stage coaches and Hersey sold hay for them.

Hersley sold the townsite of Abilene in 1869 to T.C. Henry and Conrad Lebold, a banker and real estate agent.

In 1880, Lebold built a six-level, Italianate Tuscan villa-style home of stone quarried in Hays and Ellis County at a cost of $18,000. Hersey’s dugout was incorporated as the foundation for the 45-foot stone entrance tower in the front of the house.

The furnishings came directly from Chicago, according to an Abilene newspaper at the time.

In 1889, Lebold’s bank failed and he declared bankruptcy. George Sterl bought the home in a sheriff’s sale in 1894. His family owned it for more than 30 years.

In the late 1920s, the C.L. Brown Foundation used the mansion for a Girls Club, a residence for female employees.

Later the mansion became an orphanage, then was turned into 17 apartments with nine kitchens.

Merle and Fred Vahsholtz bought the property in the 1970s and restored the mansion to its original glory.

The mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

It is listed as one of the 8 Architectural Wonders of Kansas by the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

It served as a bed-and-breakfast as recently as last fall.

The mansion was used in February as the setting for a horror movie.

The house is being sold at the Dickinson County Courthouse on May 6, 125 years after its first sheriff’s sale.

It is listed as 10,105 square feet, 23 rooms with five bedrooms and four baths.

Contact Jean Bowers at reporter2@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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