157 – The Rock House

John Webb had died in January 1903.

Shortly after John died, Anna moved the family to the town of Larned. She decided she’d be better able to raise five children with a job in town instead of farming. She moved to the “Rock House.”

157

The “Rock House” has an exalted position in family lore. We’ve all heard stories about it.

Anna Webb on bench in front yard of the rock house

Family events

The house was the center of Webb and Buhrer events in town for several decades. Some of Anna’s nieces moved from their farms and lived in the rock house while attending high school in Larned. Anna’s parents and siblings visited when they came into Larned.

Ralph Jarvis and Chleo Webb married and lived in the rock house. My father, Mel Jarvis, was born in the rock house.

And, of course, Anna’s own children were raised in the rock house.

The Rock House (looking west) – 219 Kansas Street – Larned, Kansas – c 1908
Anna Webb’s family – (l to r) Myrtle, 14, May, 18, Jim, 16, Laura, 11, Anna, 40, Chleo, 6

The history

The house was one of the earliest structures in the town of Larned. It had gunports, small openings for watching for danger and for rifle openings.

219 Kansas Street, Larned, Kansas – The Rock House – The Coles were later owners – Panorama of Progress – The Tiller and Toiler – 1972

The stone quarry

The rock for the foundations and walls was quarried on site, so the house was surrounded by the rock outcroppings.

On this 1902 map, you can see the location of the house and stone quarries. Anna bought the east half of block 37.

Quarrying stone – Larned, Kansas – c 1890

The quarry surrounding the north and west sides of the house must have been a great playground when the children were young. In later years, the quarry provided the backdrop for photos.

Quarry behind the rock house – Chleo Webb (lower left and upper right)

The gardens

Anna must have liked gardening, as there are lots of photos of the grounds around the rock house. Of notable fame are the iris beds. Several family members have iris today that came from the rock house.

The Rock House gardens – Anna, Jim, and Chleo Webb

The Rock House today

Sadly, the Rock House is gone. In a research trip to Larned, I explored the site. Parts of the foundation remain, a row of hand hewn rocks. The stone face of the old quarry remains on the north and west of the property.

Here’s my imaginary reconstruction of the house.

Here’s the location on Google Maps.


Sources

  • Photos – The Rock House, quarry, gardens – Jarvis Family Documents – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
  • News article – Rock House History – Panorama of Progress – The Tiller and Toiler – 1972
  • Map composite – Plat Book of Pawnee County, Kansas – Northwest Publishing Co. – Minneapolis, MN – 1902
  • Map and Street View – Rock House – Google Maps 2021
  • Photos – contemporary photos of site of rock house – Mark Jarvis – 2017

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