|Frank W. & Francis, two of the children of Belle & Frank Steunenberg, sitting on the edge of the front porch. This home was located at the corner of 16th & Dearborrn, Caldwell, Idaho. Photograph from JTR Collection and The Martyr of Idaho.|
At some point, Belle left Caldwell and lived in Walla Walla, WA for a time (late 1910's - early 1920's perhaps?) and other locations in Washington, Oregon, etc., to be near family and/or Adventist communities. Eventually she headed to California where some of her children had moved. The post assassination timeline regarding Belle's movements is a bit murky. Maybe other kinfolk or historians can shed some more light on it.
|Looking at the front gate leading up to the circular porch to the entry door and the prominent second floor turret. This is not the gate through which Frank entered when he was killed. He came through the side gate and up the path to the right. The above photograph is available from various sources and publications, including the JTR Collection, ISHS, Early Caldwell Through Photographs.|
|1406 Everett, Caldwell, ID. I have lightened up the picture a bit as the original was rather dark.|
|Written on the back of the photo above by my father during a visit to Caldwell for a Steunenberg reunion.|
|1417 Fillmore Street, Caldwell, ID. Photo courtesy of Jackie Mills.|
Janet had a strangely similar story to the house on Everett, indicating this home as also having been constructed utilizing some remnants from the burned Steunenberg house. This home reportedly had an outside stairwell that led to a second story consisting of a turret. And yep, it too had a fire that destroyed the upstairs. The home was recently sold and an inspection of the attic showed evidence of a previous fire. Adding to the interest is that Janet's aunt, who lived here for quite a number of years, was Elaine C. Leppert, a local Caldwell librarian and co-author of Early Caldwell Through Photographs. As I told Janet, I have three copies of the book, one that remains an arms length away from where I am typing this blog post. I use the book very frequently for reference when researching Caldwell photographs.
|Detail of the turret on the original Steunenberg home at 16th & Dearborn.|
|From another photo of 1417 Filmore Street showing left front porch/corner area. Courtesy of Jackie Mills.|
|Detail of the left front corner/porch area of the Steunenberg home.|
So what does all this mean? Two homes, same neighborhood, both allegedly built with some salvaged pieces from the front of the Steunenberg house, including the second story turret and both having had fires that destroyed the turrets, upstairs and leaving both as single level homes.
So one or the other (or maybe both?) of these homes have or had a piece of the original Steunenberg residence. Early photographs of either house showing what allegedly were second story turrets would certainly be helpful. I am hoping someone has more information or photos.
I will no doubt scout out these homes a little closer when I visit Caldwell again—maybe even knock on a couple doors. Perhaps the current residents will see this post and contact me directly. Does the partially burned Steunenberg home equate to two homes, two turrets, two fires? A lot of coincidences. If no more information surfaces, we may need to call in the local Idaho Ghostbusters on this one. Something fishy is going on and taking a piece of the Steunenberg house from where Harry Orchard prowled the grounds before brutally killing Frank may not have been a good idea.
Should you know and/or find other information about any of the homes mentioned above, please click below on "comments" to this post or email me privately at: firstname.lastname@example.org