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One of Osage’s historic homes has been undergoing renovation.

On Oct. 26, Hollie and Dave Zajicek welcomed family and friends to a day – and night – of Halloween fun in their newly-purchased Victorian home at 119 N. Fourth St., christened “Mapletown Manor.” The home was recently owned by the Carmody family.

The couple, who loves old homes, began a search of the state for a property to renovate and use as a “getaway home” for themselves as well as a circle of family and friends. Hollie, economic development director for the city of Norwalk and Dave, with the Air National Guard, will continue to live in Norwalk.

The Second Empire-designed home may in the future be a venue for small gatherings, Dave said, but nothing has been decided as yet.

But there was plenty going during the day of the party. The Zajiceks, as well as a number of family members, were outfitted in Victorian dress and invited others to do the same. Each of the home’s 17 rooms hosted some type of Halloween embellishment; each room was also posted with a history question about the home, whose answers were part of a game for visitors.

Of special interest by many was the home’s infamous tower – for years known locally for the Santa who always seemed to be stuck in one of its windows – which is undergoing serious renovation. Even the tower was home to Halloween cobwebs and skeletons and windows in the uppermost regions were strung with ghosts.

The couple’s search for a home took them to tour many properties, said Hollie, “but nothing compared to this one,” she said. She is enjoying researching the history of the home, built by Dr. John Whitley, son-in-law to Osage pioneer, Dr. Samuel Chase.

While much work has been done -- including work on the roof of an addition and mechanicals, and the application of lots and lots of paint – more awaits the couple, including tuck-pointing and work on the tower stairway and roof, said Dave.

But that’s okay, they agreed, and look forward to working more on their North Iowa project.

“It was the tower sold us,” Hollie confided. “We thought it was magical.”

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