Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Fairfield’s James A. Beck House has new owners
FAIRFIELD — The historic James A. Beck House in Fairfield has new owners, who are committed to updating the house while preserving its iconic look.
The house is among the most famous in town, a beautiful purple building with a polygonal turret rising from its second story at the corner of East Burlington Avenue and South D Street. Many Fairfield residents refer to it as the “Sloca House” after former owner Charles Sloca, a professor at Parsons College.
The home now belongs to Richard and Kendra Lint, who moved to Fairfield from the West Coast because they were so entranced by the home’s beauty. Since purchasing the property in 2020, Richard and Kendra have created a Facebook page where they post photos and newspaper clippings from their research into the home’s history, dating to its construction in 1896.
The Lints are undertaking a few remodeling projects to the home’s interior. One of those projects is replacing the wallpaper in the parlor so that it more closely resembles the wallpaper in the rest of the home. Richard said most of the wallpaper in the house still is that of the Sloca-family era, put in when the family bought the home in 1964.
Another project on the horizon is removing the sheetrock wall that is covering the upstairs bathroom window. Richard and Kendra said they were outside one day and noticed that one of their upper story windows was black, and wondered why. They realized the window went to the bathroom, except there was no window in the bathroom because a prior owner had sheet rocked over it to make the bathroom warmer. The Lints plan to restore the bathroom to its original appearance by tearing down the wall, putting new wall coverings in, and adding a high-tank toilet and clawfoot tub.
Unlike some people who move to Fairfield for job opportunities, to be closer to family, or to attend Maharishi International University, Richard and Kendra Lint were attracted by the prospect of owning their “dream house.”
Before their move to Fairfield, the couple and their daughter had been living in Portland for about 15 years. On her way to get supplies for their business, Kendra would drive by a beautiful, big Victorian home with a round front porch and a tower.
“I always wanted to live in a house like that,” Kendra said.
That home was a Barber home, made by George F. Barber & Co. of Knoxville, Tennessee, the same company that designed the James A. Beck House in Fairfield. Kendra began looking online for homes in that same style, and on Christmas of 2019 she saw that there was a home for sale in Fairfield, Iowa, that was very similar to that Barber home in Portland. She couldn’t believe her luck. She had stumbled upon the house of her dreams.
Kendra and Richard researched Fairfield to learn about its schools and weather, because Kendra longed for snow, having grown up in the Midwest. The couple decided to visit Fairfield during their daughter’s spring break in March 2020. They made the 28-hour drive to check out the town and specifically the house. When they toured the Beck House, they could barely contain their excitement.
“I loved it,” Kendra said. “We saw it in the morning, came back the next afternoon, and that’s when we put in our offer.”
The home’s previous occupant was Patricia Miller, who died in May 2017. The home was vacant until the Lints moved to Fairfield in 2020.
Richard and Kendra run a business reproducing graphics for arcade games, often for private collectors. Nearly all of their business is conducted online, so they can do it anywhere in the country. In fact, they realized that they could save money by moving to Iowa since they would be more centrally located in the United States, and not have to pay as much to send their products to the East Coast.
Their initial thought was to convert the carriage house on the north side of the property into a shop, but upon further examination, decided it was not suitable. Kendra said the carriage house is the one part of the property that has not been modernized.
“It still smells like horses,” she laughed.
Richard and Kendra Lint have connected with previous owners of the home, Mark and Donita Woodruff, who bought the Beck House in 2001 and lived there about nine years while they remodeled it. The Lints said the Woodruffs did great work renovating the home’s exterior, fixing the mortar in the bricks, re-roofing it, repainting it and replacing the boiler.
“If not for all their hard work, we wouldn’t have this house,” Richard said. “They even left a letter for the next owner documenting all their work. They made sure the home could continue.”
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org