Town & Country home houses historical treasures
By: Sue Hornof
The home at 13348 Conway Road in Town & Country might strike the casual observer as rather unremarkable. In fact, if not for the “For Sale” sign recently placed in the yard, those driving along the stretch of Conway between Hwy. 141 and Mason Road may not even notice the modest story-and-a-half surrounded by million-dollar homes.
Passersby who look a bit more closely at the property, however, might have their interest piqued by the two-story smokehouse that stands out back. Topped with a shake roof, copula and weather vane, the old, stone structure is reminiscent of a bygone era and appears to be at historical odds with the adjacent dwelling.
But things are not always as they appear, and the home’s historical significance does indeed equal that of the old smokehouse.
“It’s a two-story log cabin,” Carrie Mueller said of the house, which her mother currently owns. “It was built in 1847 by Mr. George Oge, a French immigrant, on a parcel of land known as New Alsace.”
While not visible from the exterior, that two-story log cabin remains intact within the home. The cabin consists of two rooms – one upstairs and one down, connected by ladder stairs – but the home now features eight rooms in all.
Mueller, 43, was in the third grade when her parents bought the property. They moved in during the summer of 1978 and were the fourth family to own the house.
“It was my mom’s dream home,” Mueller said. “She loved antiques and history.”
When Mueller’s family took ownership, the major additions to the home already had been made, but Mueller’s mother went to work on other projects.
“My mom did all the restoration,” Mueller said. “She actually finished the banister (of a second staircase) by hand. It took her a couple of years to refinish all the old spindles, and the banister is beautiful.”
Other projects brought the home added historical charm.
“The neat part of the house is that the walls in the pit area where the big fireplace is are old doors from the old Gaslight Square,” Mueller said.
Also salvaged from the Gaslight Square district were a banister, family room bookshelves and bricks used for flooring in the kitchen, family room and patio.
Mueller’s father researched the history of the property and found that Oge, who built the cabin, was a farmer, grocer and acting postmaster of New Alsace, which had a population of about 50.
“They would smoke meats out back, and the cabin served as a trading post,” Mueller said.
The house sits on about 1 acre and is listed with Carla Borgard and Carmen Gassert of the Coldwell Banker Gundaker Town & Country office for sale “as is.” It is being shown by appointment only.
Mueller knows there is a chance the property’s next owner will raze her childhood home, but she is hoping otherwise.
“It would be wonderful if someone would buy the house and preserve the log cabin and smokehouse,” she said. “Ultimately, that would be the best thing.”