It’s been called the ‘Carmean Mansion’ and the ‘Hatcher Mansion’, but since we can call it what we want, we’re calling it the Queen of Hearts Mansion for now (‘The QUEEN” for short)… because we can! It’s SUCH a well-loved landmark here in Marshalltown, Iowa, and we’re so honored to be sharing this ongoing story with you.
Believed to be built around 1902, this unique historic mansion has a very ‘eclectic’ style, and is described by John Shiflet as follows:
[it is] certainly not any pure “style” you’ll find in a guide to American houses. Eclectic is the best fit. Others have suggested French Chateauesque, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne. (I also threw in Art Nouveau, English Cottage, but as this house is a synthesis of details taken from several styles, Eclectic I believe is the best choice) It’s uniqueness contributes a lot to its appeal.
Newton Carmean was the original owner who had it built starting in 1901. He owned a buggy company that went under and he lost the house. He was a shady character with a colorful history… (more on Carmean HERE)
Hatcher, a real estate broker, took ownership of it next. We’re unsure if he even lived there, or just owned it for a time.
Finally, Gaynelle Jacobson lived in the house for 50 years until she passed away in 2006, at which point the steady decline and disrepair of this gorgeous mansion began.
Below are some pics from over the years of the Queen of Hearts Mansion.
There have been several people who have attempted to bring this home back to live since Gaynelle passed, and while some major interior improvements have been made, the exterior has continued to deteriorate, as well as the foundation.
The Queen of Hearts mansion was in the direct path of the EF3 Tornado that came through Marshalltown in 2018 that caused further damage, as well as the Derecho (inland hurricane) that hit our town the summer of 2020. Many of the windows were destroyed, including very expensive curved glass windows. There are important supporting beams in the attic that have been broken and desperately need repair.
Below is a current pic of what she looks like today.
The tornado and derecho also took out all the mature shade trees along Main Street. Below is an old photo someone sent us from back when there were lots of trees in the area. I wish I could remember who sent it so I could give them credit!
Take a tour here>>>
We have taken some current interior photos to share as well. We’re so grateful to the person that spent many hours tediously removing all the paint from the woodwork surrounding the stairs, as well as the fireplace area.
This home features 18 rooms total, including a 3rd floor ballroom! It’s been featured in a book called Victorian Architecture of Iowa (affiliate link), as well as several major websites like www.OldHouses.com and www.OldHouseDreams.com.
The house has also been the inspiration for this beautiful artwork.
After several failed attempts to renovate this gem, the neighbor bought the home when it came up for sale. After seeing that it would take far more money to renovate that it would ever be worth, he has made plans to demolish it in the next year.
We have spoken with him, and he is willing to let us have it, as long as it can be moved from the property.
Help us save it from the wrecking ball
We are in the process of applying for grants, getting quotes for moving a house this size (even just a couple bocks is an astronomical amount of money), and fundraising to save this gorgeous piece of history that our town has grown to cherish.
If you would like to follow along as this story unfolds, please follow us on Instagram (@RealityDaydream) and join our mailing list on the sidebar of this website. Many have asked to donate to the efforts of saving the Queen of Hearts Mansion, so we’ve opened a Venmo specifically for this (@RealityDaydream).
If you have any information about this house that isn’t mentioned here (or pictures!), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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