Emporia Vacation home embraces local history
____________________ September, 2015
Tom and Michelle Kriss own a house that is a piece of Emporia Kansas history. Now they rent it to vacationers, travelers, and corporate employees on the road.
Before offering it as a vacation rental, they worked to update the house to keep the turn of the century integrity and meet New Millennium standards, and to celebrate Emporia Kansas.
Here’s more information.
This old house
In June 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Kriss purchased the house at 819 Union Street, in the historic downtown area. While researching the history behind the property, they discovered that the house was built here in 1901 by Will Wayman, founder of the Emporia State Bank, that is now ESB Financial.
Over the years the house had changed ownership, and eventually fell into hands of minimal upkeep and overall neglect. The plumbing was in disrepair, and the most up to date decor was a 1960s style kitchen, while the upstairs hallway had seemingly Victorian style wallpaper that featured huge flowers.
Yet the “bones” of the house, as architects would put it, were structurally sound. So the Krisses felt they could dedicate their passion and expertise to restore it.
“We decided to give it some love,” Mrs. Kriss said.
Mrs. Kriss worked long days all summer, and her husband joined after hours from his dental practice, to make this old house a modern day haven. They ripped out upstairs wallpaper and repaired damaged plaster. They gutted the kitchen, pulled out carpet, stripped paint from woodwork, updated the electrical and reworked the plumbing.
There were pipes sticking out of the bedroom walls and ceilings that had once streamed to a basement tank for gas lighting. The Krisses cut the pipes off, and plastered over them.
They discovered that there was a cistern beneath the driveway, still running water via the city water line — and turned off valve.
This new house
Today the house at 819 Union Street has newly-varnished original hardwood floors and wood trim. It has two and a half bathrooms with modern plumbing, up-to-date electric wiring, central air and heating, and a modern kitchen that has electric stove, microwave, a stainless steel refrigerator and dishwasher.
The Krisses name the house after Will Wayman, original owner of the house, and they open doors to vacationers, business travelers and excursionists to rent.
The first floor has a foyer, a dining room, an open kitchen with countertop seating, and a parlor that may be open to enter, or enclosed by sliding wood doors on one side and by French doors on another.
That parlor now features an L-shape sofa and Smart TV with stereo sound.
The second floor features three bedrooms
— Master Suite with private bath
— “Dirty Kansa Suite” to celebrate the annual Dirty Kansa bicycling event based in Emporia
— “Veterans Day Suite” to celebrate that Veteran’s Day was founded in Emporia.
O yes! “Dirty Kanza” attracts up to 1,500 bicyclists for the annual spring event, and the official National Veteran’s Day started in Emporia back in 1953.
The Dirty Kanza room features bicycle bedspread and custom-made Kansas theme furniture.
The Veteran’s Day Room decor features Red, White & Blue colors and military posters.
To boot, the third floor attic has sleeping areas with four more beds. The Wayman House interior includes 2,200 square feet living space.
The exterior has the original front porch and back porch, and a grill for those who love to cook out.
Tom and Michelle Kriss live in Emporia. Mr. Kriss is a dentist with a local practice. Mrs. Kriss is a retired naval officer and licensed engineer.
The house in which they live is also vintage property that they restored. And they worked together to renovate Dr. Kriss’s office. All this made them feel poised to restore the Wayman House. Mrs. Kriss is an expert in electrical tasks, and Dr. Kriss is by practice, an expert in plumbing.
They both express feeling pleased to offer a beautiful home to folks visiting Emporia. They enjoy meeting people who stay there.
Thus far, the Wayman House has been open less than a year, and they have met guests including hunters from Louisiana, folks from Florida who attended the Emporia disc golf tournament, Mexican ladies who worked at the Nuclear Power plant in nearby Burlington, folks from California who partook in Dirty Kanza, — and this ‘Writer in Residence.’
Dr. and Mrs. Kriss are happy to share Emporia information to their guests. Check out the publications they provide in the house that feature Emporia highlights and events. Or ask them for suggestions in places to visit.
— Wayman House is located downtown, near boutique shops, museums, and restaurants. For more information, including photos and an availability calendar, visit here.
— ‘Tis only blocks from the historic Granada Emporia Theatre. Here is a Romantic’s CINEMA feature about the Granada: “The Chevrolet Stylemaster and the Granada Theatre.”