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Washington Ames House
3rd and J Street
About this Exploration:
Come to Leoti and marvel at the magnificent Washington Ames House, known locally as the Big House! The Big House, at the corner of J Street and 3rd Street in Leoti, recently underwent a royal treatment of renovations including a new roof, new paint and a polished, put together inside. This beautiful house was built in the Victorian Style in the late 1800s, between 1886 and 1900 by William B. Washington.
William B. and Julia Washington were the original owners. W. B. came here from Kentucky. He made his home in Leoti since May of 1886,and set up practice as a pioneer lawyer before the county had actually been settled. After the passing of his parents, Herschel Washington rented the home as a private residence to the Cibluski family. Several years ago, Martin Van DenLangenberg, a descendant of the Cibulski’s toured the museum and donated a lovely picture of the house taken in the late 1930s.
In 1943, the big house was sold to Pearl Burch, and in 1947, Tom Burch acquired a Hotel & Restaurant license and rented the upstairs bedrooms to teachers or high school students that lived in the country. One of the licenses was still hanging up on the porch when Margie & Oren purchased the house. Margie and Oren Ames purchased the big house in about 1958 from Tom Burch. The Ames family lived there for many years. Sometime after the passing of her husband, Margie moved to a smaller home in Leoti. The big house was full of antique furniture and other collectibles, remaining that way until her passing in 2004.
One of the best displays in the Washington Ames House is Margie’s Boutique and Millinery Shop, which is full of Margie’s favorite thing, HATS! When hats became out of style and ladies were getting rid of their hats, Margie was collecting them at garage sales, auctions, or anywhere else she could find them. Margie and hats are synonymous, she always wore a hat.
Stop by the Big House and find Karen Walk working inside most days, fulfilling the vision for this historic building, or stop by the Museum of the Great Plains to get someone to give you a personal tour of the Washington Ames House!
206 South 4th Street / P.O. Box 345
Leoti, KS 67861