Coffeyville's Brown Mansion makes quite an impression. Completed in 1904, the three story 16 room Mansion was built at a cost of $125,000. It was far ahead if it's time and had features like an alarm system, elevator, and a walk-in ice box.
The home was built by W.P. Brown, a businessman who moved to Coffeyville from Ohio in 1890. He first started a lumber company, but discovered one of the largest natural gas wells in the country. He then founded the Coffeyville Mining and Gas Company and owned several other businesses including a 40 acre amusement park and a Natatoirum (spa).
The mansion was designed by Edward Wilder and Thomas Wight, who studied with Stanford White, and the house shares features with several of the famous homes that White designed. Some features of the home (such as the height of the steps) were designed to accommodate Brown's petite wife, Nancy, who was only 4'11".
The Browns had three children who survived birth - William, who lived to age 4; Donald who died at age 11 on November 11, 1911 (11/11/11); and Violet.
Violet Elizabeth Brown married at age 19, but divorced shortly after their only child died. She married a second time and divorced, went to college and became a librarian. In the 1930s, she moved back to Coffeyville to take care of her parents, and the mansion was left to Violet when they died. In 1970, Violet sold the mansion to the Coffeyville Historical Society to use as a museum. She took only what she needed and moved into a Nursing Home where she lived the rest of her life. The rest of the buildings furnishings were left for the museum
The mansion has a living room, parlor, music room, library, conservatory, dining room, billiard room, kitchen, maid's quarters, five bedrooms and three full baths. The basement includes butler's quarters, additional bath, laundry, wine cellar (William Brown grew grapes and made wine), single bowling alley, and other storage rooms. The entire third floor is a ballroom. The wood in the home was hand selected by Mr. Brown, and no knots can be found in the wood. The first floor is pine; the second floor is pecan, and the third floor is maple.
Altough the museum director has seen no evidence that the Brown Mansion is haunted, others have reported experiences with a ghost in the old home. Coffeyville residents also report that during the years that the building was vacant and the power was off, they would occasionally see green glowing lights on the Mansion grounds.
Tours are given on the hour, with the last one starting
at 4 PM. The Mansion can also be rented for special events such as weddings.
copyright 2006-2010 by Keith Stokes