Archive for Sunday, December 16, 2007

Historic home catches fire

December 16, 2007


Firefighters were called to 1613 Tenn. about noon Saturday to extinguish flames in the third story. The home, owned by Terry and Elaine Riordan, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Firefighters were called to 1613 Tenn. about noon Saturday to extinguish flames in the third story. The home, owned by Terry and Elaine Riordan, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

A historic home, commonly known as the Maupin mansion, caught fire Saturday afternoon.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical units responded to an emergency call for the house fire at 1613 Tenn. about noon.

The large brick house that dates back to the mid-1800s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by Terry and Elaine Riordan.

Fire chief Mark Bradford said a third-story steeple area of the house caught fire, which was extinguished quickly.

"The firefighters had heavy smoke showing from the third story of the residence," he said. "When firefighters advanced their lines to the third floor, they had a heavy fire in that room."

Though the fire was extinguished quickly, it took firefighters "awhile to get to the third floor," Bradford said.

"Obviously it's a very large dwelling," Bradford said. "We'd almost consider it to be a commercial size because of square footage."

He said one occupant was in the home and suffered "minor exposure injuries." The family sought medical treatment on its own, Bradford said.

The couple's 22-year-old son, Mark Riordan, said his 17-year-old brother, Joel, was in the home alone at the time of the fire. Mark Riordan, who lives on East 15th Street, said he arrived at the house when he learned about the fire at noon, about the same time his parents arrived. The room that caught fire used to be his, he said.

"Just one room is damaged; it's still pretty bad, but it could've been a lot worse," Mark Riordan said.

Traffic was blocked at the 1600 block of Tennessee Street to make room for several fire trucks and an ambulance.

Snowfall at noon caused a slight increase in response time, Bradford said. Icy conditions were also a concern.

"This is just one of those environments we get used to," he said.

Bradford said the fire was started by "improper use of smoking materials," and the damage estimate is $5,000.


RomanNose 9 years, 2 months ago

That house is incredible. Sounds like a nice family.

BigPrune 9 years, 2 months ago

Are the comments a carryover from some other article?

I prefer newer houses but its good that some people take care of old ones especially a really old one designed by an Indian.

Keep up the good work. I'm sure Mr. Haskell is pleased.

LongGoneFromLarryville 9 years, 2 months ago

While the cat's away, the mice will smoke a J.

Triordanmd 9 years, 2 months ago

I want to thank the comments of some, and am very disappointed with others. We had a fire caused by an accident. It will be repaired and I thank God and the fire department for saving the house. We are a family of Faith and love. Look at police reports if you like, you will not find much. A traffic fine, imitating Santa Clause. Pretty Boring stuff. Yes we have put in more money in the house than its value. Some things are more important than money and worth preserving for our city to cherish. Look at the 500 feet of wooden fence, the 50000 pounds of stone and rock; all made or carried by my hands and by my family. All I ask is that you talk about truth, not innuendo and maybe, just maybe, cut a family a break who had a fire. Structures can be replaced; a life and ones reputation need to be held dear.

Tyson Travis 9 years, 2 months ago

This is probably Lawrence's best Victorian Italianate structure, few towns have anything to rival this. Thank goodness there did not appear to be serious injuries, and no major structural damage. Kudos to the Lawrence emergency responders to get to this so quickly in bad weather conditions and put it out. Hopefully the water damage to the rest of the structure was not serious. This house was lovingly and expensively restored from badly deteriorated condition many years ago [my parents said it was for sale for around $10K in the late '40s] and I've admired it since I lived in the next block as a kid in the 1950s. Best of luck on repairs, glad everyone's OK, you've got a real treasure here. We lost a couple other outstanding examples farther north on Tennessee St alone over the years [Bowersock and Sparr houses] so I'm thankful this one was saved. T. Travis, Pine Bluff, Ark.

Kathy Theis-Getto 9 years, 2 months ago

I am glad no lives were lost. Please ignore the Internet trolls, those that tell lies to make their own pitiful existence seem important. They are worthless souls.

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago

akt2 (Anonymous) says: Eventually because of these kind of posts, the LJW will shut your forum down and revise it. When they start back up, it will be mandatory to set up an account for posting, it will require your full name. They will verify all this information and your name will show as the person posting. This is what happened in Eudora with the Eudora News. Same owners I believe. Just a matter of time.

You might be right akt2, and this bothers me you sound like an outside observer when you talk about LJW shutting down "your forum" and revising it. It doesn't sound like you're a real participant here when you talk about it as our forum (whoever "our" is), and not yours. I'm also wondering who exactly it is that you're warning? Obviously, there were victims provoked to defend themselves here on this thread, and who can blame them for defending all that they love and cherish? You couldn't have been addressing Kathy Gragg, as she has been allowed back on by LJW to post under her real name (I suspect that was the condition of allowing her back on to post at all, and now she continues to harass people under her real name as well as under pseudo names).

I can't stand these types of threats ("your forum" is going to change if you keep this up at least that is what I'm reading from your message). Maybe you didn't mean it as a threat, but there was no "we" in your wording at all. So, how does this concern you? Are you a site administrator?

I enjoy forums where I can anonymously post knowing that everything that I type won't show up in a google search conducted by my employer or anyone else who gets a hair up their butt about me (e.g. Kathy Gragg, a professed internet stalker by forum goers on LV, LJW, and other places). Also, I think most of everyone who reads these LJW (and LV) posts know that this is a case of self defense. Responses in defense to Gragg and co.'s attacks are old hat, but unfortunately, still necessary here. Gragg and company are allowed to stir the pot. I'm not sure I have figured out why this soap opera is continually allowed to unfold either here or in other online community places.

Bobbi Walls 9 years, 2 months ago

Triordanmd... thank you so much for everything you do in this community. I am glad that no one was injured, and that your family is safe. Happy Holidays

Tyson Travis 9 years, 2 months ago

Triordanmd: Got a few b/w photos of your place I've taken starting in about 1959, would be happy to share prints with you, will probably take a while to look up the negs. Contact me at Hope you all have a happy holiday despite this speed bump, it could have been much worse. Best wishes, ttt

derkallah 9 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

derkallah 9 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago


Or maybe I have. This is all speculation, but maybe it's all a silly, contrived joke that has been manufactured to trap a wider readership. You know, all the world is a stage and such. After all, even the best of people get caught up in a juicy story. If that's the case, I have to tell you, this story is really really really old. Lawrence forums need new material.

But, I'll admit, there is always the surprise of the new-comer who happens upon that particular brand of confusing hatred directed at anyone and everyone for no good reason at all. (continued)

And I mean no disrespect to people who have felt truly victimized by Kathy Gragg and co.

So, after that long rendition, my point is, I think the threat that everything is going to change around here if we don't shape up, is lost on deaf ears. As long as trolls are allowed to troll, people will pull out all stops to protect them and theirs. Some people don't like to see the bullies win.

derkallah 9 years, 2 months ago


ForThePeople 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey Tweak, don't you have homes of ill repute to video tape? By the way, wouldn't that be considered a form of stalking? Hummmmmm. You really are showing your ignorance here as Observer is not whoever you think it is. Have you ever considered that Gag has offended more people than just these people that keep getting brought up? Gag is a foul human and her hatred has effected a great many folks! Good for you Mark for standing up to someone so hateful as to relish others misfortunes!!

akt2 9 years, 2 months ago

Eventually because of these kind of posts, the LJW will shut your forum down and revise it. When they start back up, it will be mandatory to set up an account for posting, it will require your full name. They will verify all this information and your name will show as the person posting. This is what happened in Eudora with the Eudora News. Same owners I believe. Just a matter of time.

vinividivici 9 years, 2 months ago

Damn apology to the Riordan family would have been nice. You're a real piece of work! One would think you're life wouldn't be so ridiculously sob-worthy if you could apply the things you learned in kindergarten to your life now.

I hope akt2 is right. I'm writing the ljworld an email tonight. I encourage others who are sick of the slander in the comments section to do the same!

reason 9 years, 2 months ago

To the Riordans which all of Lawrence and surrounding areas know they are a great family--we are truly sorry for the fire mishap and to be at this time of the year is just terrible--but am really glad that nobody was hurt and happy that the house is going to be ok,,ever since i was a little girl i had always admired that house and when i saw that you had took over the house i knew that house would be in good hands of a wonderful family like yours--please just ignore the stupid comments in here those people have nothing better to do--besides we all were kids once and so were they!!!

tashtego 9 years, 2 months ago

It's an incredible house, one of many. And somewhere out there is an enterprising author who will write a book about it and some of the other historic houses in the city, those still around and those no longer around.

And speaking of which, some of the so-called "city fathers" tore down an entire block of Old West Lawrence to put up a tacky bank building that replaced an earlier one.

As part of this, the former First Baptist Church was also torn down, 8th and Kentucky.

Tyson Travis 9 years, 2 months ago

To Max1: I'm going to ignore all this sniping that doesn't belong here [at least at this time of year] and pass on what I know about the house. The 1968 small booklet I have titled "Nineteenth Century Houses in Lawrence Kansas" implies that the house was started in the 1860s, then added onto in the 1870s by a subsequest owner. It couldn't have been there in 1863, or Quantrill would have gotten it as he did the house at 1701 Tenn., especially since 1613 was originally owned by the owner of the Eldridge Hotel. My best guess is middle to late 1860s [say about 1868-9] for the front portion, then a later portion added on about 1872 or later by Judge Thatcher. I remember reading that the back portion may have been added as late as the 1880s. This features a nice round tower and spindled porte-cochere that appear later than the front portion, but you can't easily see those from the street. I guess it was a falling-in haunted house when Maupin-Mecaskey restored it starting in the 1950s, the present owners appear to be doing an excellent job preserving this legacy. Let's all have a happy holiday and let the present owners get back to mending things.

hawklet21 9 years, 2 months ago

Ok. There is one thing I don't understand, and if someone wants to reply that would be nice. I understand enforcer is not a very popular person, I've seen her posts and scratched my head a few times, but what in the world has gotten everyone all up in arms over her for this story? Was it the comment she made about two quotes telling the story? Because if so, that might not be a tactful post, but from the story seems to be quite true and I can't figure out why you would attack her and not others who made the same sort of comments.

hawklet21 9 years, 2 months ago

It is clear, I just didn't understand why she was singled out when longgonefromlarryville said the exact same thing. And I was THINKING another person said the cheech and chong quote, but I forgot it was artichokeheart who is the same person. Oh well. I don't particularly care, I was just curious.

acg 9 years, 2 months ago

I absolutely love this house. This house is, by far, the most beautiful house in this whole town. I sure hope the damage was minimal and I'm so glad no one was injured.

srichardson22 9 years, 2 months ago

Were it not for the God-given gifts Dr. Riordan has, I may not still have my two beautiful "special" girls. I went to school with one of his daughters as well - it is a wonderful family. Please give them a break and respect the time, effort, money & love they've given to a local treasure. Best wishes and happy holidays to the Riordan family!

acg 9 years, 2 months ago

And, I just want to say that I'm tired as hell of this Kathy Gragg person. I know I can be a pain in the ass at times, as we all can, and I'm very opinionated and even downright rude to uber conservatives who deserve it, but this awful woman is awful to everyone. She almost seems to get a sense of glee from the bad things that happen to people. I've never come across anyone like her before. Isn't she supposed to be an attorney or something professional like that? If so, and if the laundry list of offenses (above) is actually true, how does she still have a license?

Go away Kathy Gragg. First of all, your last name is reminiscient of a phlegmy throat noise and that's bothersome. Secondly, you're a hateful, awful boil of the ass of humanity and thirdly, if the info above is even close to correct, I don't want a stalker, psycho, meth smoking, herpes infested, molester sympathizing thief on our boards anymore.

Bobbi Walls 9 years, 2 months ago

Kathy, smoking materials can be a lighter, match, etc.. maybe lighting a candle... why do you always assume the worst in everyone... you know what they say about assuming .......

jaycat 9 years, 2 months ago

Sorry about your historical house. Hope the 17 year old is okay.

Need to buy that boy a proper ash tray if he is going to smoke in the house, even if it's not the roll your own kind. It's illegal in KS for a minor to buy & if jr did not buy it, it's still illegal for an adult to buy and give it to him.

I don't think the smoking material would have been a candle or something else. If it were then the report should have said unattended material.

Peace out.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 2 months ago

Who's running the book on when enforcer gets banned again?

Becky 9 years, 2 months ago

To the Riordan family my best wishes if there is anything that you need please let my family know. Becky and Scott Alden

Amy Heeter 9 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ForThePeople 9 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

rebeccafrazier 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey Dr.Rioran is a very respectful man people. He just had a FIRE! Give his family a break.Improper smoking materials could also be classified as using paper or other things in a fire place! Automatically you assume it was the worse of the two. I am Sorry For what you and your family are going thru at this time, But thank God nobody was HURT!

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey Kathy you mad because the good doctor is a mandated reporter.

From the Blotter of LJ World

Following is a list of other inmates who were convicted in local and area courts whose parole hearings also are scheduled in June. The list includes the county or counties in which they were convicted, the crimes for which they were convicted and the facility where they are incarcerated.

Kevin R. Moten, Douglas, theft and three counts of burglary, Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Andrew Lorenzo, Douglas, aggravated sexual battery, Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Terry Davis, Jefferson, burglary and theft, Lansing Correctional Facility. James A. Gragg, Douglas, aggravated incest, Lansing Correctional Facility. Tommy L. Jones, Jefferson and Douglas, burglary, criminal damage to property and robbery, Winfield Correctional Facility.

Divorces granted

Kathleen L. Gragg, Lawrence, and James A. Gragg, Lansing. Monika Barnett, Omaha, Neb., and Robert Barnett, Colorado Springs, Colo. Lilanni Connolly, Olathe, and Mark J. Connolly, Lawrence. Darleene K. Landon, Lawrence, and Brian L. Landon, Helena, Okla.

District court

Criminal case proceedings

-- James A. Gragg, 39, 535 North St., was sentenced on Thursday to three to five years imprisonment on an aggravated incest conviction. The charge was filed June 25 after Gragg reportedly molested a daughter. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was found guilty on Sept. 27.

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 2 months ago

I believe some would also list items such as candles and other related items fit in the same catagory definition. What type of items are used as decorations during this time of year I don't know.

Maybe you should get on the speed dial to Bradford (with all the complaining you do I am should you have faulted him for many things) to find out the specific cause.

Good for you for getting the bad guy, but what took you so long to divorce him if he was so bad...

RCNisnofun 9 years, 2 months ago

What does it matter? It was an accident that caused brief emotional distress on a nice family making something of themselves. It was a fire. It's not the first or last time it'll happen no matter what the cause was. It's Christmas, cheer up and get over it. Merry Christmas to all.

Veritas 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh also forgot an "r" in with your surprise in an earlier post. Just thought I'd remind you as I watch from the sidelines.

"I could suprise the bejesus out of you"

coolmarv 9 years, 2 months ago

"It is better than a soap opera I tell ya." 85 comments and 6 were about the article. Good job folks.

Tyson Travis 9 years, 2 months ago

Back to more important things than all this sniping...I have an excellent book [purchased at the Watkins Museum] by John Peterson about pioneer Kansas architect John G. Haskell. It mentions this house on p.78, saying that the author's research couldn't positively tie the house to Haskell, but that it was started c.1870 by Luddington, sold around 1873 to Judge Thatcher, and was added onto extensively by his family around 1884-85, thus explaining the different architecture in the rear. Whatever, it's a valuable treasure, and if the damages were only $5K and no serious injuries resulted, someone was looking out for the family, and best wishes to them. Can't we get back to friendlier sentiments?

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago


enforcer (Kathy Gragg) says:

It doesn't matter except or the fact others were jumped on for even bringing it up so I simply posted the quote from the article stateing the cause. Some were deleted, ironically the initial one stayed-go figure. I'm sure the Doc has plenty of money to repair the damage done to the house.

and this

enforcer (Kathy Gragg) says:

Except you don't know what happened with the young man a few months back now do you? I asked the poster to supply sources, but alas there are none. Just the spewing of an angry woman who can't get over it. There is plenty where that came from on the other side too, except those are connected to a valid source of information. Lies can't hurt me & unlike you I have the courage to speak freely with my own name. BTW I posted on the senior thread too, your many profiles must have missed that one, better go on over and spread more bull.

Kathy would like to claim that she only innocently stated what was said in the article (which is not true if you read the posts that got deleted) and then all in the same breath, she threatens to spread even more rumors regarding this family who just experienced a fire in their home (for what possible reason? To get her sadistic kicks for the day?) Many have seen this behavior from her before. Just more of the same. Why this is allowed to go on is beyond me.

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago

Ummm, Gragg, wait a minute, you stated in one of your posts that some were deleted. Was that just a Freudian slip regarding the fact that you also post as Artichoke?

We all know you stand proudly behind your sadistic actions. No need to remind us.

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago

Well, of course--- the nature of Freudian slips surely would make it difficult for you to pinpoint the remarks that give you away. But I am no saint, and I'd rather not help someone I despise by pointing it out for you.

So don't ask for my help. You're not going to get it.

I'm having such a nice night, thank you.

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually, we do have a point, but your brick head for a skull won't allow the point to penetrate to where it matters.

No worries though, we realize you're lost for good.

Good luck to this family in restoring their home. Hopefully it will be painless and this event will turn out to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. It's good to know that no one was hurt.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

John Riordan 9 years, 2 months ago

For the longest time I did not want to post on this but I feel I should. I think we all should look at what is most important part of this article was every one was safe. My familly is going to get through this and we all should be happy nothing bad happend. I am glad so many people care about us and wish us luck, to you I say thanks. The one thing that makes me sad is that we are attacking a child my brother. He has done nothing to deserve this. its hard enough going through highschool and kids giving one a hard time. Kathy i dont know you and wish nothing bad on you but I wish you would think about who you are hurting "my brother." Im sure he will have a hard enough time without you posting these coments. I hope that all of this stuff would stop no one needs and it is getting old. So please focus on what is most important in the article, that no one was hurt and the house still stands. Please let all these bad posting stop so we can all move on. To my familly I love you and can wait to see you soon.

John Riordan

sheshapes 9 years, 2 months ago

John, thanks for posting this. Again, I wish you and your family nothing but the best (and I think so do most of the people here). I can only imagine how grateful you and your family are that everyone came out of this okay.

GretchenJP 9 years, 2 months ago

I had been away from Kansas for so long I couldn't remember where the Maupin mansion was until I saw the picture. Everytime my mother and I drove down Tennessee street we have ALWAYS admired that beautiful house... the prettiest in Lawrence and in Kansas, for that matter. John, I'm terribly sorry this has happened to your family but I'm very glad the house still stands and everyone is safe. My thoughts are with you.

stbaker 9 years, 2 months ago

Reporters get paid to keep you coming back for more.

Tyson Travis 9 years, 2 months ago

To Max1: Sorry I forgot the academic disciplines they taught me at KU and neglected to cite an important footnote in the Peterson book on J.G. Haskell. Footnote 43, p. 259, mentions a KU student who discovered an article in the 1871 Lawrence Republican Daily Journal which lists T.H. Lescher as the architect and a [Charles O.] Palmer as the builder. Lescher was an architect who started in Lawrence, designed the "Market House" combination Fire Station and City Hall at 8th & Vt where the fire station now stands, and then the original New York School, then he moved to Topeka, where he later became state architect in 1897-99. If you're interested in Kansas architecture, go down to Watkins Museum and see if they still have this book for sale. Important priorities for this time of year are 1] all the family is safe, and 2], the house is safe with minor damage and probably a lot of inconvenience. Sorry the family had to be exposed to all this sniping, we're thinking of you. ttt

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 2 months ago

This message thread should be deleted. It appears to have been hijacked by jealous white trash...with the exception of a handful of sincere well-wishers. Victims of a house fire should not be put in a position to defend themselves in such a manner. I don't know the Riordan family but I'm glad nobody was injured. Their historical home is an asset to the community so please give the rude comments a break.

agitatedwaffleman 9 years, 2 months ago

Well you see kathy, i understand that you may be jealous of what the Riordan family has. It is completely understandable. While Dr. Riordan was smart enough to invest his money, you were out spending it on expensive drugs such as Crack or Meth. Not to mention you would have been on 3 to 5 day trips with the Meth. Which that would also take away oppurtunites for you to make money. Im sure you know this already though since now you probably have a one bedroom tralior, but i will say it is good your ex husband is in jail for the awful crime he committeed. How you could sit there and let that happen is disturbing. But from reading your posts, i have realized your motive behind them, and it is pure jealousy. The Riordan's have what you want and you envy it.

Get over it and get your life together woman, your criminal record seems similar to Tuki Williams

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