Historic Tudor-style Iowa Mansion is “Steal of the Week”

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Historic Tudor-style mansion is getting national attention as “Steal of The Week” in “The Week” magazine’s November issue, as reported in Biz Buzz by Lynn Hicks of the Des Moines Register.  It’s an 1893 historic mansion for $350,000. Interesting that the magazine features homes from across the country each week. The November 15 issue theme is Homes of Philanthropist.

Des Moines Register reports the real estate agent for the Tudor-style Iowa mansion listing, Melissa Palen,  is receiving phone calls everywhere including New York, California, and Texas.  It’s good to be a historic home for sale featured by “The Week” magazine.

Located in Ottumwa, the Tudor-style Iowa mansion was built by Thomas D. Foster owner of John Morrell & Co, a food packing plant that fueled the area’s economy as the largest employer for almost 100 years.

The mansion is now split into apartments, but new owners can easily convert it into a single-family home.

Historic Tudor-style Iowa Mansion is "Steal of the Week"


Significant is the sellers are only the 2nd owners since the original family lived here.  They have kept the historical integrity intact even with converting it into apartments.

205 E 5th St Ottumwa IA fireplace


The “Steel of the Week” Tudor-style Iowa mansion has 5,132 square feet, five bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and a half bath.  Plus five fireplaces.

205 E 5th St, Ottumwa, IA


Heavy wooden doors with stained glass and ornamental knobs.

205 E 5th St Ottumwa IA


Original leaded and stained glass windows.

205 E 5th St Ottumwa IA carved wood interior

Dark oak woodwork carved with nudes.

Ottumwa has a rich Fifth Street Historic District of prestigious residence originally owned by historic philanthropists with map tours offered by the city.

Famous People From Iowa:

John Wayne who was born in Winterest, Iowa as Marion Robert Morrison and later changed to Marion Michael Morrison, because a later brother was named Robert.  It’s hard for me to understand naming a male child Marion.  Even harder to swallow is it belonged to John Wayne.  Thank you Hollywood.

Donna Reed was born on a farm southeast of Denison, Iowa.  She was a true farm girl in 4-H, milked cows, fed chickens, and won a blue ribbon at the State Fair for her biscuits.  She was homecoming queen in high school and won a beauty contest at Los Angeles City College when MGM signed her and changed her name twice.  She starred in movies receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “From Here to Eternity”.  She is forever famous for getting the moon lassoed for her heart by Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  She also had her own TV show “The Donna Reed Show.”

Cloris Leachman was born in Des Moines, Iowa.  She was discovered after competing in Miss America as Miss Chicago.  She is likely most remembered for “The Last Picture Show” (Academy Award Best Supporting Actress) and as the annoying, nosy neighbor on the beloved 1970s TV series “Mary Tyler Moore.”

Other famous Iowans include Elijah Wood, Larry Mathers (Leave It To Beaver), and Buffalo Bill to name a few.

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  1. I am so happy to hear from you and thrilled that you have been inside of this home. I am overwhelmed by just looking at it let alone having been inside. My sister who lives in Iowa is the person who drew my attention to it. Let me know if you happen to notice who buys this wonderful home or what happens to the property if you have time. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories.

  2. My family is from Ottumwa, Iowa, and knew the owners of the house. I remember being inside the house only once when I was very young. All I remember about the house, is that I was overwhelmed by its beauty. I knew it was on the market, and hope someone buys it who will love and care for the house, and who likes small town life.

  3. Next time I go to Winterset I will go see John Wayne’s birth house there. The woodwork they did in the past it so beautiful, no wonder preservationist work to preserve it.

  4. fabulous wood work and its a “steal of the week” now if only i would hit the lottery or something hee hee interesting about John Wayne

  5. From the sound of all the calls the real estate agent is getting, a lot of people are very interested in this historic mansion. Glad you liked the famous people from Iowa information.

  6. Carol, those are the most outrageous names for a male and any sport coach, even ridiculous. No wonder John Wayne was named Marion; it was some kind of trend of the time.

  7. The carved wood is wonderful.

    At my high school, there were teachers whose names were Marion, Beverly, Francis, Wendy, and Shirley. All of them were men. Marion was the football coach. Francis, Shirley and Beverly were the track coaches and Wendy was the basketball coach. Could you imagine using those names today?

  8. Damn that woodwork is AMAZING! I hope some preservation minded person buys it and maintains all the charm but gets rid of that carpet, etc!

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