The Muchnic home was built in 1885. The 14-room, three story, brick residence was built by a lumber merchant, George W. Howell. For several years prior to construction, Mr. Howell, the builder, carefully collected beautiful woods to use in the interior. Especially noteworthy are the handsome parquet floored of walnut, mahogany and oak. The lower and upper halls, the dining room and library floors are of intricate design and beauty. All the woodwork is carved, and especially unique are the carvings of the faces on the ornate newel posts in the lower hall. The eight faces are said to represent the Howell family.
Cast bronze hardware is found on all the doors. Other notable details are the original fireplace tiles (each representing a theme), fireboxes, fenders and bronze fireplace trim. Embossed leather is found on the paneling in the dining room and both lower and upper halls. Beautifully etched glass embellishes the transoms above the bedroom doors on the second floor.
The leaded stained glass conservatory windows are appropriately of flower design. The top panels of the parlors and dining room windows are also decorative stained glass, but are presently covered by drapes. In the library, the decorative glass at the top can be seen through the the lace curtains.
The third floor is completely finished, and with its fine hardwood floor, was originally used as a ballroom. All three floors are connected by a spiral staircase at the rear of the house. These are not available to be viewed by the public.
The house was purchased by H.E. Muchnic in 1922 for $9,000. The house is now owned by The Muchnic Foundation, which has made it available to the community for use as a gallery and for related art functions. The Atchison Art Association is responsible for the management of the gallery.
There are many beautiful historic homes in Atchison featuring many architectural styles. Come to Atchison and drive through the residential areas, or take a one-hour narrated trolley tour through the back streets, and hear the stories of many other fine mansions.
Open Saturday-Sunday 1-5 p.m.; Wednesday- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. No charge.