Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
This home was built by a successful Ohio merchant
Mt. Pleasant Beautiful
MT. PLEASANT — With the cooperation of the Southeast Iowa Union/Mt. Pleasant News, The Mt. Pleasant Historic Preservation Commission will be publishing, every week or two, peeks at some of the featured homes in the 1909 book, Mt. Pleasant Beautiful.
In the series, the 1909 picture will be contrasted with one of recent vintage. The Commission has been collecting information for the eventual issuance of a new book updating the information on the still standing homes from the 1909 publication.
You can test your knowledge of historic Mt. Pleasant with this column. The identity of the featured home will be published with the next featured home. The last featured home was the Ambler House, 404 East Monroe St.
This week we feature a house that was built circa 1870 by Daniel Phillips, a gentleman in his mid-70s, who was married to Nancy Robbins Phillips, his second wife, his first wife having died in 1864.
A successful Ohio merchant, he retired to Mt. Pleasant and purchased a substantial house at 400 East Washington. This house was featured earlier in this series and has been called the oldest house in the city.
The purchase included the entire block on which there were no other houses. As best can be determined, Phillips built this week’s house about 1870 on a portion of that property.
Daniel died in 1873, leaving an estate that in today’s dollars would be about $2.5 million.
One of his daughters and her husband, William and Frances Walton, purchased the aforesaid block for $5,000.
Occupation of the featured house is unclear but it is thought perhaps that it was lived in by Daniel’s widow. However, she remarried in 1875 and moved to North Adams Street.
In 1903, the house was sold to Frank Bird and it was occupied by him and his wife Augusta until 1916.
Bird was a grocer and a horse trader and also served as manager of the Farmers Cooperative Store.
An ad from 1933 for his grocery features prices that are hard to fathom today. For instance, large sweet potatoes were six pounds for 25 cents and oranges one cent each!
The current owners have occupied the house for 30 years.