Old homes will always have their quirks and often need a great deal of upkeep, but this one, located at 616 7th Ave NW, surprised its homeowners when they discovered a cistern beneath the porch. Aside from crumbling old magazines and toys, the cistern was empty, providing poor support for the above structure. Fortunately it has now been filled and the home stands sturdily on its strong foundation.
The property also includes what used to be a horse stable, which is now a serviceable garage. One interior side is still equipped with a wooden trough for animals, which now has been creatively repurposed as a storage box for the children’s toys. The attic, formerly the stable’s loft, would have held hay for the horses.
The home was the birthplace of Dr. Howard Bennett, who graduated from Cornell in 1941 and served on its Board of Directors. He was born in the front room of the home, which was likely the parlor. While a student at Cornell, Bennett was a member of the track team, specializing in the high jump and hurdles. He continued his education at the University of Iowa Medical College, and went on to serve as a medic in the United States Army during World War II.
Older homes can sometimes feel a little confining due to their close quarters and lack of overhead lighting, even with their often impressive size. Not so with 616; the home's abundance of windows allows natural light to create an airy, open, and comfortable atmosphere. Large pocket doors on the ground floor make the main living space customizable.