– circa 1874 or so
Ernest A. Wiggenhorn Mansion – NE corner of 15th & Boyd.
This magnificent 3 + story home occupied the South 1/2 of the block between 14th & 15th Streets on the North side of Boyd Street.
The photo below is a rare photo of the Wiggenhorn mansion, looking west, showing the carriage entrance, the yard in foreground& the First Congregational Church in the background
The family has informed the AHS that their private collection
1442 Boyd Street, Ashland, Nebraska Lots 7 & 8, West 22′ of Lot 9, Block 16, Flora City Addition to Ashland Block 16 was purchased by W.B. Warbritton from Austin Smith and his wife in the first recorded transaction.
Marsillist Giffin bought all the block and sold lots 7,8, and 9 to John Schweitzer who sold them to Ernest A. Wiggenhorn in July of 1873 for $400. Mr. Wiggenhorn built a lovely large home with a turret and an iron fence around it. The porte cochere on the east of the house was a covered area where people could step down from their carriages and enter the home and the horses could go on back to the carriage house on the north of the lots.
Mr. Wiggenhorn had come to Ashland from Wisconsin and was listed in the 1870 census as a lumber dealer. He used the very best materials in building his mansion. The woodwork in the living room was birdseye maple. The 1880 census lists him as a flower merchant.
The 1915 History of Saunders County by Charles Perky has the following to say about E. A. Wiggenhorn’s bank:
“In 1883 E. A. Wiggenhorn started in the private banking business. In 1904 the bank was incorporated as a state bank with E. A. Wiggenhorn as president and H. A. Wiggenhorn as cashier. During the same year the former died and H.A. Wiggenhorn became president, a position which he still holds.”
Ernest A. and Augusta Wiggenhorn had 8 children: Josephine E., Eugenia B., Hugo A., Edwin, Ida I., Dora C., Ernest A. and Selma A. Passenger records show that in August of 1876 Ernest and Augusta returned home to Ashland after visiting in Germany with their daughters, Josephine, Eugenia and Dora. There were always servants to help with the upkeep of the home. At some point a small house was built on Lot 12 where Marie Walsh lived. She cooked and cleaned for the Wigenhorn family and the house was deeded to her.
Ernest A. Wiggenhorn made out his will in February of 1897 and was very specific about what was to happen with his holdings. His son, Hugo (H. A.), was to manage the bank.
His property was not to be divided for ten years after his death. The profits were to be divided equally among the children each year. Each child upon marriage was to receive $7000. The residence was left to the unmarried girls and the estate was to pay taxes, utilities and repairs as long as they lived. The will was probated in June of 1919 and at that time Ida had married Arthur Meyer, a dentist, and lived in Watertown, Wisconsin. Josephine married William Albert Harnsberger, a vice president at the Farmers & Merchants Bank, and lived in Ashland. Selma married Arthur Pancoast, a lawyer, and they lived in Omaha. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ashland was beautifully decorated for her wedding and a picture of it hangs in St. Stephen’s Church. Each of the children received a one eighth share of the property. Edwin did not marry and continued to live in the home and to work as cashier in the bank. His unmarried sisters, Eugenia and Dora, lived there with him.
The May 9, 1929 Ashland Gazette ran an article about recent new buildings erected in Ashland. This described the handsome new carriage house built by Mr. (Edwin C.) Wiggenhorn. “Mr. E. C. Wiggenhorn had his old garage torn down and a new brick edifice built on the same location that the old one occupied. This new building has a two car garage and a gymnasium, as well as several rooms which can be used for varied purposes.” Dale E. Wild lived across Boyd Street on the corner of 14th Street. He remembers Mr. Wiggenhorn fondly and writes of him in his autobiography. ” Mr. Wiggenhorn was a millionaire bachelor who lived a block from us. The summer after Mother died, he came by our house and took three of us kids to Keedy’s Pharmacy for an ice cream cone. This was the first cone I’d ever eaten. We thought they were great.” ” That Christmas was to be a sparse one. Mr. Wiggenhorn came to our house on Christmas Eve with gifts for all of us, saying, ‘Santa Claus made a mistake and left these packages at my house. I knew they belonged at your house.’ ” “He’d stop and talk to us, asking about our grades. Then we got to take our report cards to him. If our grades were good enough, he gives us a nickel or dime accordingly. “Our Scout troop agreed to scoop the snow for the Library. The first couple of snows, we had a good turnout. By the end of winter I was the only one clearing snow. He came by and asked how much I got paid and I told him it was my Boy Scout good deed. He handed me a silver dollar and said, ‘Here, take this.’ I told him that it wouldn’t be right.” “That summer was Boy Scout camp. Some of the boys did not have $7.50. Our Scoutmaster approached Mr. Wiggenhorn. He agreed to pay the fee for any boy who couldn’t afford to go, providing that no one was to be told where the money came from. “At Christmas time Mr. Wiggenhorn approached me and told me (Dale was working at the grocery store at the time) that he wanted me to fix 20 nice Christmas baskets for the most needy in town, deliver them and tell them it’s from Santa. Put it on my bill. He did this for many years.” The home was sold several times after the passing of the Wiggenhorns but buyers found that it was not practical to restore it. It was sold to Guilford R. (Jerry) Darst and his wife Ruth who carefully took down the house saving the lovely woodwork. They built a new one-story home on the foundation of the old house and used the birdseye maple woodwork in the living room and used some of the bathroom fixtures from the old house in their new home. The iron fence was sold to a man who used it around his vintage restored home in Wahoo. The property was divided and Lots 10 and 11 were sold to Norman Mayfield who built a home there and kept the carriage house. That home was sold to George Noel Snodgrass and his wife Edna May “Kay” Koehler Snodgrass. Present owners are Neil and Pam McAlexander. Gil Darst continued to live in the Darst house after the death of his parents, Jerry and Ruth. The home was sold to Ricky Sillman upon the death of Gil Darst. He restored it and sold it to Chris Sumner Sawyer, III and Joyce Sawyer in August of 2004. They built a cement ramp on the east side of the home to make it handicap accessible and continue to live there. Chris passed away December 9, 2013. Joyce, his widow, continues to live there.