Don’t we all drive by certain homes and wonder, Who lives there? Or, perhaps even more interestingly, Who lived there? I certainly do! There is a home at the corner of Warson and Litzsinger roads that has always intrigued me—this is a house with a history!
The current homeowner explained to me that the original parcel, which was part of the New Madrid Land Settlement, was approximately 170 acres (now down to 3) and owned by George Preiss. The home was built about 1849, and it’s where he and his wife set up housekeeping with their growing family. Clearly, these were some of the first Ladue settlers.
The Preiss family was instrumental in the formation of what is now known as the Parkway United Church of Christ. In its infancy, the congregation met at the Preiss home before a church structure was built. There is still a bell on the property that was used to call the folks to church or a town meeting. Another bit of trivia is that this home was on the alternate route for the Pony Express.
The original property has been integrated into what is now a 4,800-square-foot home with all the modern conveniences. You enter the home through the original location of the front door into a small vestibule that opens up to a large living room. A fireplace sits at one end, and the original bookshelves line the pickled wood panel-lined room. Large picture windows let light in during the day.
An interesting staircase leads to the upper level and the bedrooms. The master bedroom comprises one entire end of the home with windows on three sides, creating the illusion of sleeping in a tree house.
The main level has been expanded, as well, for entertaining family and friends. In addition to the spacious living room, a large family/game room, dining room, hearth room, kitchen and mudroom comprise the public spaces on this level. A historic surprise is a ‘trap door’ in a hallway off the kitchen and dining room that leads to the original cellar. Upon inspection, this mud floor, stonewalled space gives a builders view of the construction of the original residence. The floor joists actually are trees, with the bark remaining on some, which support the first floor. There is a long hallway that could have been used as part of a safe haven for slaves, I am told.
Further down on the property past the side lawn is an in-ground pool and a guesthouse with a garage that is used currently as an office for the gentleman of the house. The most interesting thing about this structure is the silo, which is original to the property and has been cleverly integrated into the outdoor deck/living space. A great conversation starter!
If you want a house for history that has been lovingly restored, this could be the one. If things keep going the way with the cuts for the Post Office, it could be a plus to be on that alternate route for the Pony Express! 10002 Litzsinger Road is listed by Elaine Medve.