America officially entered World War I in 1917. This same year, local attorney J. P. Steele built the house at 615 W. Filmore St.
Years later, in 1952, Dr. Paul and Anjean Chestnut purchased the home for their family. At that time their daughter, Sally, was 6 years old. In 1995, Sally Chestnut Oldham and her husband, Dave, took the opportunity to move back to her family home and finish raising their two children.
Their early prairie/fireproof style, hipped roof, two-story home is constructed of three-brick-thick walls with a cinder block basement. The house originally had a brick porch. But because of crumbling mortar, her father replaced the porch with what still stands today as their front entrance.
Apart from the welcoming foyer, the living room spans the entire front of the house. This room showcases built-in bookcases and a fireplace. It was in this room in 1974 that Sally wed David Oldham.
The dining room joins the living room to the galley-style kitchen which Sally’s parents remodeled out of what was previously the very large pantry. The side porch, complete with fireplace, was also added by Sally’s father. The open turning staircase gives access to the four bedrooms upstairs. Three of the bedrooms are adjoining. Two of those bedrooms have a Jack and Jill dressing room complete with an original sink for freshening up. A door in the master bedroom leads outside to the balcony above the front porch. Sally fondly remembers moments of tomfoolery throwing things off the balcony at neighbor kids.
The full bathroom is upstairs while a half-bath with a tiny triangular corner sink is off the foyer. Another half-bath in the basement displays graffiti of those fortunate enough to use it. The laundry chute begins all the way up in the attic. The attic was never finished. But Sally’s brother made quick fun out of sending cherry bombs down to the basement when their parents weren’t home.
Sally, now retired, cherishes all the memories of living in her house, particularly ice skating every year in their neighbor’s purposely flooded yard. Dave enjoys roasting coffee beans in the basement as a hobby and loves that his old house is “so easy to maintain,” he says with a grin.