Owners of 19th century Pinckney home attracted to its character, history

photo by: Mike Yoder

The home of Mark Stotler and Carl Edwards, at 504 Louisiana, was built in 1869. The original home is in brick.

Though Carl Edwards had always admired the home he and his husband now own, he didn’t like the way its then-green paint concealed the building among the trees in the front yard.

“The house just sunk back into the darkness,” he said. But now, the brick home with its blue paint, red shutters and wooden porch chairs has a bright, welcoming feel in the historic Pinckney Neighborhood.

Edwards and his husband, Mark Stotler, have owned 504 Louisiana since 2005, and in addition to changing the exterior paint, the couple have also renovated the bathrooms, refinished the original wood floors upstairs and updated the interior wall paint, among other jobs.

“Old homes are not meant for everybody,” Stotler said. “You have to really love them, and you realize that you’re like a caretaker of that house for a certain number of years, however long you live in it.”

photo by: Mike Yoder

In a former dining room, the owners have a 1946 Moeller house organ. They were stock models for use in homes, college practice rooms, and small churches. It has three sets (ranks) of pipes — 195 pipes total. Stotler, seated at organ, is the assistant organist at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Mo. Edwards, at right, is an attorney for the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals.

The 1869 Folk Victorian home originally had two rooms downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs. A brick addition was later added, as well as wooden additions to the east and north sides of the home — in the 1920s or 1930s, Stotler and Edwards believe. The couple heard more about the wooden additions when Jean Murray-Jones, a former resident of the home, came back to visit sometime between 2008 and 2010 for a high school reunion. Murray-Jones’ father, Joseph Murray, was managing editor of the Journal-World in the 1920s, according to historic district information from the City of Lawrence.

“When Jean came to visit, what did she tell you, Carl?” Stotler asked Edwards while standing in the sleeping porch on the second floor.

“Well, she said ‘I slept here, my brother slept there,'” Edwards remembered. The sleeping porch, which has windows on three sides and now serves as Edwards’ office, once provided a cooler reprieve from hotter parts of the house on summer nights. The sleeping porch is part of the wooden additions, as well as a kitchen, study and an upstairs bedroom.

The entrance of 504 Louisiana opens to the stairway and living room, which, like much of the rest of the home, Stotler and Edwards have decorated with artwork by Kansas artists, religious artwork and framed photos of their ancestors.

photo by: Mike Yoder

South and west facing windows let in lots of light in the living room. When Stotler and Edwards bought the house they added new storm windows as double panes over the original windows.

Behind the living room on the first floor is the couple’s former dining room, which since 2011 has served as Stotler’s organ room. A 1946 Moeller house organ stands in one corner of the room and, across from it, a green china cupboard that holds pieces passed down from Stotler’s and Edwards’ families. Stotler is the assistant organist at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Mo. Edwards is an attorney for the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals, and will become a deacon in the Episcopal church this spring or summer, “God willing,” he said.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Located in the same room as the organ is a china cupboard with pieces passed down from both Stotler and Edwards’s families.

Off the organ room is a small study with a piano. Stotler uses this room as an office. It’s his favorite room in the house, he said, because he likes the cozy space and its history. The room used to serve as Murray’s office.

“I like this because I’ve sat here and — I’m a KU graduate — written many papers in this room,” Stotler said. “And also, Jean, the woman who died, she played the piano. And so it’s like you just kind of think about the traditions and that kind of stuff.”

Stotler keeps the obituary of Murray-Jones, who visited them over 10 years ago and died in March of 2020, in a journal in his office.

photo by: Mike Yoder

During the pandemic year, Stotler enjoyed spending time in a small study in the house with a comfortable chair, a piano and north facing window light.

A steep and narrow stairwell leads to the second floor, which includes a spare bedroom, Stotler and Edwards’ bedroom, a bathroom, a den and the sleeping porch. Edwards remembered that to get their bed’s headboard into the second floor, they had to take the second floor bathroom window out to bring it in, because it wouldn’t fit up the stairs.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A small, brightly lit spare bedroom is located on the second-floor.

Outside, the couple have a large front porch with three wooden rocking chairs. Edwards said they live on their front porch all summer, as their neighbors do on theirs. Both Stotler and Edwards enjoy the friendliness of the Pinckney Neighborhood, as well as its proximity to downtown Lawrence.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A large front porch offers views to the south and west, in the Pinckney neighborhood.

Edwards and Stotler met in an online chat room in the early 2000s. Stotler was living in West Virginia at the time. After getting married, the couple decided to live in Lawrence, where Edwards had lived since 1982.

“I liked Lawrence because there were some hills here, and it sort of reminded me of back home,” Stotler said.

Edwards said he was drawn to the character of the home, its size and reasonable price. Stotler said that he has always been interested in homes and history since his childhood and that this was his first time owning a historic home.

The couple hired Dennis Brown, president of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance, for the painting work and other home improvements. When reached by phone Friday morning, Brown said the couple’s love of the home was evident.

“They’ve really been good caretakers of that house,” he said. “I think it’s because they love it so much.”

photo by: Mike Yoder

A photograph of Edwards’s great-grandfather hangs above the steep and narrow set of stairs leading from the front door to the second floor.

photo by: Mike Yoder

When Edwards and Stotler bought the home, they removed all second-floor carpeting and then restored the wood floors found underneath.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Wooden window shutters accent the original part of the 1869 house. Edwards and Stotler said they learned that the unique second floor window shutter configuration at the front of the house, with two window shutters open and one closed, is considered a “wink.” The closed shutter, at left, is outside a closet, where no window is located.


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