Awards of Excellence:
Leonidas W. Coleman Furnished Rooms

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: 1911 | Year Saved: 2011
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

The area around the Kansas University campus in Lawrence, Kansas, has been under intense development pressure with historic residential properties being lost to large multi-unit housing complexes, commercial development, and expansion of the university itself. The Leonidas W. Coleman Furnished Rooms stands in opposition of this trend, and is a rare example of a restoration to original use making sound economic sense. The house was built in 1911 by Harriet E. Tanner, an early Lawrence residential designer and mother of Edward Tanner, the architect for much of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

L. W. Coleman purchased the property in 1913, and he and his wife were the proprietors of furnished rooms at the site until 1917. From then until today, the building went through several different lives, serving as the house to three different fraternities, and was finally converted to apartments for KU students. The most significant feature of the rehabilitation effort was the reconstruction of the front porch to match the original, allowing the building to become contributing to the Hancock Historic District. At the rear of the building, the original porch had become dilapidated and unsafe, resulting in its rebuilding to provide a safe secondary means of egress from all three floors. New storm windows were installed, the roof soffits were restored, and in the process of replacing the roofing the existing half-round gutters were repaired and painted. Inside, the historic finishes were restored, historic doors were reinstalled in their proper locations, the central wood stairway was restored, and renovated bathrooms and kitchens were provided. The house now stands to serve once again as it did originally, making furnished rooms available to KU students.

Federal and state historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.

The project team included: Alor, LLC; Hernly Associates, Inc.; First State Bank and Trust; Natural Breeze Remodeling, LLC; Crawford Construction; Lacey’s Painting and Restoration; Homer’s River City Heating and Cooling; Ace Electric – Jones Company; Kastl Plumbing, Inc.; Klinknett Roofing; Martin Hardwoods; Coby Houser; Kennedy Glass; Yard Barber; 2 Guys Construction; Alliance Fire Protection; Rueschoff Secturity; Hi-Tech Interiors, Inc; Black Gold, Inc.; Seibel Fabrication, LLC; and Hicks Classic Concrete.

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