Trail End Foyer, 1913 (Kendrick Collection, TESHS)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
April 2013 - December 2013
TRAIL END LOOKS very much the way it did in 1913. The Foyer, for example, had the same hand-painted ceiling, oak woodwork and burgundy draperies. The deep red rugs, while not original, have the same pattern and colors as the ones installed in 1913.
Trail End was built to impress, but it was first and foremost a home. While Senator Kendrick could hold formal receptions in the Foyer, visitors were just as likely to find Mrs. Kendrick answering correspondence at her desk in the corner or teenagers dancing to the latest tunes playing on the phonograph. Most of the furniture in Trail End is original to the house, though it doesn’t all date to the 1910s. Over the years, the family purchased additional pieces and added them to their collection.
THE CLOAK & POWDER ROOMS
As its name implies, the Cloak Room was where family and guests left their cloaks and coats. The two closets were used for outerwear of all sorts, including jackets, hats, boots and umbrellas. The wallpaper in this room is not original (we aren’t sure when it was installed), but the ceiling fixture is. A sketch from 1912 notes that this "new suggestion" for the Cloak Room had a verdigris finish and cut-glass bowl. The Cloak Room also contains one of Trail End’s six intercom stations. Others are located in the Basement Hall, Kitchen Hall, Master Bedroom, Third Floor Hall and Carriage House.
The Powder Room was Trail End’s "public" restroom – the one used by guests who came for dinner or an evening’s entertainment. It is one of twelve full or partial bathrooms in the house. All are similar, with porcelain fixtures, ceramic tiles, marble trim and stained glass windows. This is the only one, however, to be outfitted with a double pedestal sink. Its faucets and fixtures are made of German Silver – an alloy of zinc, copper and nickel that was used before the popularization of stainless steel.
The red wallpaper, a newer reproduction paper, is very similar to the original. At some point prior to 1966, someone – most likely Eula Kendrick or her daughter-in-law Diana – had a curious red, white and blue "cityscape" paper installed, along with heavy, salmon-colored drapes. (By the way, many visitors ask if toilet paper had been invented by the time Trail End was built. The answer is a definite YES! While various forms of bathroom tissue had been around for centuries, the perforated toilet paper roll we know today was patented in 1891 by the Scott Company.)
The Library’s layout and American Gothic design were patterned after one that Mrs. Kendrick had admired at a home in Virginia. The hallmark of Gothic styling – pointed arches – can be seen in both the chandelier and the wall panels. The diamond-shaped leaded glass doors add to the Gothic feeling. In September 1912, project manager John Gross of the Lindner Manufacturing Company attempted to advise Mrs. Kendrick about these bookcase doors: "While this [diamond-shaped glass] gives a very pleasing and artistic effect, [plain glass] displays handsome books to a far better advantage than the leaded glass."
In the end, Eula ignored Gross’s advice, choosing to adhere to her original vision. One part of Eula’s vision was altered: early Library specs called for the same dark mahogany finish as the Drawing Room. Plans changed around 1912, however, and the room was finished in a warm Golden Oak instead. Matching that warm finish is a spring-operated Regina Corona Automatic Changer music box. Shipped to the Kendricks’ Montana ranch in 1895, it was a family favorite for many years.
The Drawing room was used for entertaining as well as relaxation. It combined sophisticated finishes – Honduran Mahogany and French Silk Damask – with comfortable furniture to create an inviting space. The checkers and checkerboard on the cherry game table belonged to Manville; the tea service was Eula’s.
While most of the furnishings and finishes in Trail End were made in America, a few were imported. The mahogany for the beams and wainscoting, for example, came from Honduras. It was then machine-tooled by the Lindner Manufacturing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The glossy "piano finish" was attained by the application of multiple coats of paste wax.
In addition to the French paintings and wallcoverings, other European imports include the Italian Pavanazzo marble surrounding the fireplace and the tall brass and glass Russian lamp in the corner. The room’s most impressive import is the massive hand-knotted Persian carpet. Made by nomadic Bijar weavers in northern Persia (Kurdistan), the rose and blue rug – already an antique when Mrs. Kendrick purchased it – contains roughly five and a half million knots. Its purchase price was roughly the same as a typical three bedroom house in 1911: $3,125. Rug salesman A. J. Miller described it as "without question, a most unusual, exclusive and pleasing rug."
Famed portrait artist Frederick Roscher painted the portraits of John and Eula Kendrick in the 1920s. Another large work of art, the floral study over the fireplace, was painted by Raoul de Longpre, a 19th Century French artist renowned for his exquisite paintings of roses, lilacs and peonies.
The original Drawing Room draperies were made of rose-colored, satin-striped Damask. They were lined with Parma Satin and finished on the edges with harmonizing braid. While the window drapes were replaced long ago, the original portieres (door draperies) remain.
THE DINING ROOM
Trail End’s Dining Room is one of the most formal rooms in the house. With its glossy mahogany walls, Italian marble fireplace, hand-painted ceiling, rose-silver chandelier and deep blue corduroy draperies, the room practically begs for tuxedos and evening gowns! Despite its fancy finishes, however, the Dining Room was not used just for formal dinners. Nearly every meal was eaten here, from breakfast and lunch to dinner and midnight snacks.
A brass electrical outlet is located on the floor beneath Eula Kendrick’s chair. It contained a button that, when pressed, sounded a buzzer in the Butler’s Pantry. By using it, Mrs. Kendrick could call in the maid or housekeeper to assist with the meal. When fully extended, the large table seats 24 people. The small tilt-top table in the far corner is a miniature of the main table, originally intended for use by children. It was manufactured by the Retting Furniture Company of Grand Rapids and sold by the Lindner firm.
THE BUTLER'S PANTRY
The Butler’s Pantry – a noise and odor buffer between the Kitchen on one side and the Dining Room on the other – housed the family’s china, silver, crystal, linens and flatware. It is also where food was taken from its cookware and placed on plates, platters, bowls and tureens prior to service. The sink is made of German Silver, a precursor to stainless steel. Because it was more flexible than porcelain, the metal sink was the perfect selection for a room where fine crystal and delicate china were washed daily.
Trail End’s original icebox was a built-in model that stood in front of the large, low window. Outside stairs leading up to it allowed the iceman to deposit his product in the top of the box without entering the house. The icebox was later dismantled and replaced by a modern refrigerator.
Historically, because they were work areas and not public areas or family rooms, kitchens were often overlooked when it came to allocating space inside the home. Most tended to be small, dark, hot, and dirty places where wood-burning stoves poured out greasy smoke and unbearable heat. Eula Kendrick wanted her kitchen to be just the opposite – and she succeeded.
Another big boon to life in the Kitchen was the addition of indoor plumbing. James B. Clow & Sons of Chicago manufactured the porcelain sink. It was used primarily for washing pots and pans (china and crystal were washed in the Butler’s Pantry sink). The "pantry faucet" at the end of the work counter was for filling vases and pitchers with cold water. City water – both hot and cold – was piped into the room; waste lines led to the city sewer system.
Dominating the Kitchen is the original Majestic stove on which Trail End’s cook prepared all meals until 1926, when a gas range was installed. The Majestic had no legs and was designed to stand flat on the floor. According to Manville Kendrick, the small wooden seating area is not original; it was added in later years to give the caretaker’s family a place to eat (they painted the table and other woodwork yellow, a color which later had to be stripped to return the Kitchen to its original look). Earlier employees dined in a small room across the hall known as the Maids’ Breakfast Room (not open to the public).
THE KITCHEN HALL
The hallway outside the Kitchen contains an intercom station as well as access to the laundry chute and dumbwaiter. There is an alarm for the walk-in vault (located in the north vestibule between the Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry) and one of the original copper and marble fuse boxes. The white box high on the wall is an annunciator – a device that showed which of the house’s many doorbells had been rung. When any doorbell was pushed, a corresponding number dropped down in the annunciator’s window.
(Trail End Collection)
State Historic Site