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Sandy and Dan's Terrace Hill Trip

North West view of Terrace Hill

We have had several friends tell us the stunning beauty of this wonderful home in Des Moines, IA. In fact we most often hear about it around the holiday time when people tell of the great interior decorations that can be seen in this 1860's landmark. So this year (2000) we took the time to drive to our capital city for a tour.

We were fortunate to get a break in the weather the day we visited. The day before Des Moines had a 10 inch snow fall followed with sub zero weather, so we were much relieved to have a day with a clear sky and some much needed sunshine.

Our tour began in the carriage house that housed horse stalls in the basement and tack and carriage rooms at this level. This building has been nicely converted to a visitor center and gift shop. There are many displays along with an interesting video presentation of the history of the home.

A short walk from this building brought us to the very large arched front door (over 3 inches thick) that opens into this huge foyer. The magnificent cherry staircase leads to a landing and the stairs turn back toward the front of the house. The image below is of the music room complete with holiday decorations.

One of the most prominent features of this home is all the huge arched topped doors. The doors shown below are in the reception room, which is the room near the front door on the left.

The other very prominent feature is the huge stain glassed window on the landing at the top of the stairs. The window was added by the homes second owner, F. M. Hubbell in the 1880's. We apologize for the quality of the image, but the South facing window was fully lit with the bright sun and the limits of the digital camera were fully tested.

The image above is looking down the stairs towards the front door with the stain glass window at our backs. The two light fixtures atop the newel posts are original to the house but have been converted from their original gas source to electrical.

The next image below is an arched top door that contained what was described as a "man-lift." This lift was original to the house and made it possible to reach the second floor without climbing the stairs. It was explained that the person would enter the lift and then using a rope would pull themselves up to the next level. This lift has been removed and is now a chase for plumbing pipes and a clothes chute.

The image below is known as the sitting room, one of the Hubbell's favorite rooms.

This home featured several marble mantels that, like most of the furnishings, were transported to the building site by mule teams and wagons from the Mississippi port to the East. The mantels were either pink or white.

The next image shows one of the many portraits that hang in this home, this particular one is a portrait of Mrs. Hubbell and hangs in the front foyer.

Folowing the tour of the home we took a minute to check out the Carriage House displays and the gift shop. I left Sandy to finish the shopping and walked towards the back of the house to take this next image.

If you look closely in all the exterior images you will see scaffolding and other construction equipment. Most of this equipment is in place for the replacement of the slate shingles on the mansard roof level of this building. Our guide told us that this project began early in 2000 and is scheduled to be finished by spring.

Those that know me understand that there isn't a construction project I don't want to check out, and this one was no exception. A worker was on the scaffolding sweeping the snow away, but ducked out of site when I snapped this shot.

We plan another trip to view this home during warmer weather. We understand that once the scaffolding is removed the Victorian garden will be restored. There is also a swimming pool slated for renovation so there is plenty to see when the weather is better. You can visit a web site dedicated to this landmark by clicking here.