Photographs by Aaron M. Conway
An organ—and other secrets—inside a Wyoming landmark.
For $1.99 million, one lucky buyer can own this 14,000-square-foot, limestone-clad chunk of Wyoming history. Tucked back on a park-like, five-plus-acre lot on one of the suburb’s oldest streets, this grand estate is on the market for only the second time. Edwin and Luella Stearns (of the Stearns & Foster mattress company family) had Elsner & Anderson design this spacious home in the early 1900s. The couple, it seems, needed room to house their favorite instrument: a built-in organ with three keyboards, its own engine, 40-plus gleaming pipes, and a basement room full of bellows (all of which are still there but in need of resuscitation today).
Stories about the Oliver Road property, which stayed in the Stearns family until 2002, have become the stuff of Wyoming legend: on Christmas morning, the family used to throw open the home’s windows and play Christmas music on the organ loud enough for most of Wyoming to hear.
Tom and Kay Landers are the first non-Stearns family members to own the house. They have renovated the kitchen, repaired and replaced much of the tile roof, updated the home’s electric and plumbing, and renovated the carriage house. They’ve also shared the home on many neighborhood tours and happily shown off its quirky features, like a laundry room that can only be accessed from the home’s exterior, the kitchen’s original warming drawers and icebox, and an ultra-thin secret door cut into the master bedroom wall. It’s not clear why the family needed a hidden door, but that’s just one of the secrets a house like this can keep.
Originally published in the November 2013 issue