SIOUX CITY | Visitors flocking to Sioux City’s Peirce Mansion Sunday were looking to get a glimpse of the historic building’s Romanesque character.
Wooden floors, shelves lined with antique china and tea sets, black-and-white photographs and painted portraits were among several items that drew residents’ attention as they toured the renovated Jackson Street home.
“I’m glad to see they saved it,” said Sioux City resident Lisa Vaughan. “This is our history. We don’t having the packing houses or railroads anymore. These are the things that built our city.”
Real estate developer John Peirce began construction on the mansion in 1891. Peirce later raffled the house off in a rigged lottery and left for Seattle after losing his fortune.
Patt Brenden, chairwoman of the Peirce Mansion Committee, said the Victorian-era mansion has proven to be a popular attraction with up to 200 people attending each open house. The last open house was on Halloween.
Given the age of the building, Brenden added the most common question she gets from visitors is, “Is the House haunted?”
The answer is no, or at least not yet.
“To be honest, we’re not (haunted), but I’m tempted to make something up. That would make us popular,” Brenden joked. “T.S. Martin, who owned Martin Department Stores, died in a bedroom upstairs. But I haven’t seen him around.”
Harold and Shirley Hodges, of Sioux City, said they wanted to tour the house to see the changes made after the Sioux City Museum moved out of the mansion in 2011.
Shirley Hodges said her favorite part of the house was looking at the dining room filled with tea sets and china, while Harold liked looking at the woodwork.
“We like old things,” Shirley Hodges said. “It has character.”
Vaughan said her favorite part was seeing the wooden floors and glasswork, features she said also added character to the building and community.
The fact that many of the items are also no longer made only added to the historic experience.
“These things need to be preserved,” Vaughan said. “We’ve already lost so much of our history.”