Seelye Mansion


 

Seelye Mansion

SeelyeMansion smallSeelye Mansion

Built in 1905 at the cost of $55,000 the Seelye Mansion is a three story, Georgian style mansion designed by a New York architect for Dr. and Mrs. A.B. Seeyle in 1904. Dr. Seeyle made his fortune in the “Patent Medicine” business which allowed him to build this 11,000 square foot mansion for his wife and two young daughters, Helen and Marion.

Seeyle House Living RoomSeeyle Mansion Living Room

The furnishings for the home cost another $60,000 and many of them were purchased by the Seeyle’s at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The house also included original “Edison” lighting and light fixtures that were designed by Thomas Edison, whom the Seeyle’s met at the World’s Fair. Both much of the original furnishings and the original light fixtures and lighting are still used in the house. Some remodeling of the interior of the home was done in the 1920’s under the guidance of Frank Lloyd Wright and a fire in recent years required some restoration to the upper part of the home, yet most of the original contents of the home remain to this day.

Original Thomas Edison Light FixtureOriginal Thomas Edison Light Fixture

While the story of the home itself is a remarkable one, so is the story of how it finally came to be restored and open for public tours. Dr. Seeyle’s daughters, who remained unmarried, continued to live in the home after the death of their parents. Both sisters lived into their 90’s so the home remained within the Seeyle family until 1981 when its current owner, Terry Tietjens, purchased the home from the Seeyle sisters and then lived with them during the final years of their lives. This allows the tour of the home really come to life as you hear stories passed down from the sisters to the new owner as he lived with them those final years of their long lives.

Seelye Mansion LibrarySeelye Mansion Library

Unlike most “do not touch” tours of historic places and homes, the Seelye Mansion tour is unique in that the owner allows and even encourages you to sit in the chairs or play a song on the Steinway piano. The tour guide also played some of the Edison phonographs on one of several Edison music machines. You are even allowed to roll a bowling ball down the 1905 “box ball” bowling alley that was purchased by the Seeyle’s at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It is said that when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a young boy delivering ice, that he snuck in and bowled on that very bowling alley.

Seelye Mansion Box Bowling AlleySeelye Mansion Box Bowling Alley

My tour of the historic Seeyle Mansion fulfilled my longtime desire to see that beautiful house and is a tour I would recommend to anyone who loves older homes and historic sites. The house and its history are a remarkable story and it is like taking a step back in time as you see the home much as it would have been when it was often visited by important dignitaries and famous people. It is well worth the time to stop and see if you are in the area. It is easy to see why the Seeyle Mansion is listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture. With so much to see Abilene is a great destination for one or several days spent enjoying the rich history of this part of Kansas.

Touring the Seelye Mansion

The Seeyle Mansion is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday thru Saturday and from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

During the Christmas Season the house is fully decorated with Victorian trees, red poinsettias and a collection of over 600 Nutcrackers. Holiday tours begin the day after Thanksgiving and continue into January.

The home is also available for hosting weddings and other events.

Seelye Mansion
1105 N Buckeye Ave
Abilene, KS 67410
www.seelyemansion.org
(785) 263-1084

Seeyle Mansion Image Gallery

 

Seelye Mansion Map

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