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Farmhouse conjures memories of Christmases

Staff writer

Standing like a sentinel over history, a weathered, two-story, wood-frame house can be seen on a hill along US-56/77 northeast of Marion.

The shingles are gone, windowpanes shattered, and doors missing, but its rooms once were filled with the voices of parents in conversation and children at play.

The house sits at the end of a long driveway on the edge of a hay field. It was the home of Mick Summervill‘s grandparents, the late Charles and Ida Bredemeier.

He especially remembers the Christmas gatherings when the five children — Mildred, Esther, Hazel, Lola, and Junior — and their families came together. He recalls the house as being “awfully small.”

“That house was just full of kids, parents, and grandparents,” he said.

The cousins played in the barn that was south of the house and in the outdoor cellar.

The house had running water provided by an outside tank, and the kitchen had a gas stove.

Summervill said his grandparents moved to Marion in the early 1960s, and the house has stood vacant since then.

The property the house sits on belongs to Greg and Mary Beth Bowers.

“I wanted to tear that house down, but Mary Beth won’t let me,” Greg said.

“I like old houses, and this one isn’t falling down,” she said. “It’s kind of a landmark.”

Once a family member suggested making a bonfire out of it.

“No, you can’t do that,” Mary Beth told him.

“I feel I have to defend it,” she said.

The house used to be surrounded by trees, but two or three years ago, Greg cleared them out, making the structure more visible from the highway.

They have seen cars stop in the driveway from time to time to take a better look.

“One car had a Johnson County license plate, and a couple of women got out and took pictures,” Greg said.

“We don’t mind people driving up and checking it out, but we don’t want them to go in,” Mary Beth said. “They might fall through the floor.

“I think it’s kind of neat. A lot of people lived there and made memories there. I don’t know how old it is, but as long as it stands, it will stay there. But if the roof falls in, we will have to do something about it.”

Last modified Dec. 8, 2016

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