Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
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 Mount Pleasant with this column. The identity of the featured home will be published with the next featured home.
Last week’s featured home: The Allen House, 207 East Henry St.
This week, we feature another “Barber” house, this one built in 1893 by Isaac Van Cise, who had lived in Mt. Pleasant since the age of 6, some 36 years. He married Mt. Pleasant native Mary Howard in 1882. The 1893 home remained in the Van Cise family until the death of their daughter Edith Van Cise Willits in 1967.
Young Van Cise eventually took over the pharmacy on the west side of the square which had been operated by his father. He had gone east to study the field in Philadelphia for two years.
He had been an active Mt. Pleasant businessman for 45 years at the time of his death in 1914.
During his lifetime he had served on the school board, the city council and was a member of the board of two Mt. Pleasant banks.
Mary Van Cise outlived her husband by 27 years and was also active in the community in various social and fraternal organizations.
A gentleman by the name of Tom Carr bought the house at Mrs. Willet’s death but kept it for only a year or so.
The next owners were Dr. J.W. Kral and his wife, Helen. Dr. Kral was a dentist at the Mental Health Institute, and his wife was involved in many artistic ventures from various types of painting to leather work.
She taught the latter at Southeastern Community College and interestingly had learned it at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
Dr. Kral had been a Boy Scout in his youth and carried on as a scoutmaster and a district Scout Commissioner in his adult life.
No doubt Helen’s connection with the ranch came from a stint her husband spent leading boys at the famous New Mexico ranch.
The home was on the market in 1989, which is probably the time the Krals retired to spend their later years in Arkansas. They both died there in 2012 in their mid-90s.