19th Century rock house stands straight and true
Matt and Michelle Knepp purchased a small limestone house one mile south of Lincolnville in 2013.
According to the county register of deeds office, the land on which it sits was homesteaded in 1876, about four years after Lincolnville was platted. The 80-acre tract changed hands after one year and was purchased by W. Pope, an early settler in the Lincolnville area. He sold it to Norton Pope in 1902. Though no date is available, it is probable that the Popes built the house during the late 1870s or early 1880s.
Carl Cott bought the property in 1943 and sold it to his son, Jim Cott, and his late wife, Verla, in 1958. The late Ron Mille and his wife, Mary Ann, purchased 20 acres including the farmstead in 1986. The Knepps purchased the property from Mary Ann.
The Cotts had added an entry room to the house. The Knepps renovated it by removing paint from interior rock walls, removing a false ceiling, and installing crossbeams and a ceiling fan. The result is a bright, airy room in which to relax.
“This adds a lot of room to the house,” Michelle Knepp said.
All of the windows in the house are set deep into 24-inch-thick rock walls. Interior walls are sheet-rocked and painted a light gray.
The kitchen includes an original double cast iron sink. The Knepps removed paneling from walls, replaced cabinets with open shelves, and replaced linoleum with tile.
In the dining and living rooms, they removed carpeting and restored the original wood floors.
An outstanding antique feature is a staircase made of dark walnut, leading to three bedrooms upstairs.
The Knepps put a metal roof on the house. They said the rock provides great insulation, an essential quality because of its close proximity to a busy US-56/77.
They have three children who attend Centre schools: Grace, 17, a senior this fall; Dillon, 15, a sophomore; and Santiago, 12, a seventh grader.
The 20 acres the family owns includes a big barn with a huge haymow. They use it to house 4-H projects such as pigs and sheep.
The Knepps moved to Kansas from Illinois when Matt took a job at a feedyard near Abilene. He later worked at Cow Camp Ranch at Ramona and now works for Hett Hay Grinding at Lincolnville. Michelle is assistant coordinator of the Kansas Online Learning Program at Centre.
Last modified May 24, 2018