What’s in a name? Maison Steinbüchel?

name“And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise of the age-old foundations; you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”   Isaiah 58:12

A name is important.  At the surface they are handles one hooks to an object, a person , an event or even a place to communicate something.
However, a name, when used well, is an embodiment of what it is hooked to’s character, personality, history, future and/or purpose.
The reason we call our home  Maison Steinbuchel  deserves some explanation.  It goes deep into the history of the families for whom the house is deemed historic as well as our very personal connection to the property.

Which name:  Maison Steinbüchel or The Steinbüchel house?

How did we get drawn into the Maison Steinbüchel story-line?  Aside from simply purchasing the property, why is it so personal?  In addition to the history, and there is a lot of it, let’s put the house into a contemporary context.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook see some version of the following on my profile:

“Marie-Louise Steinbüchel, wife of prominent Wichita real estate man, Herman Steinbüchel, was born in Strasbourg, France in the 1860s and came to Wichita as the bride of Peter Stackman, another famous Wichitan. The unique combination of Richardsonian and Victorian architecture of their residence as well as the position of the family in the community, led to the designation of 1905 Park Place as a local Historic Landmark in 1977. The residence was placed on the local Historic Register in 1978 and named a Kansas State Historic Landmark in 1992.”

The registers show the name simply as The Steinbüchel House.  We began calling it Maison Steinbüchel, not to be pretentious, but rather to bring to the forefront Marie-Louise Hahn Stackman Steinbüchel’s French Alsatian roots.  These roots are quite precious to us and are how our paths converged even before we were aware of it.

Our Journey into the Story

In the late 70’s when my husband began the process of deciding which University he would attend to study for a Doctorate.  His mentor suggested he consider the University of Strasbourg, France.  It was, to say the least, an idea that took our breath away.  He had attended a couple of summer courses in Strasbourg in the early 80’s as a part of of his Masters in Apologetics from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law.   However, the thought of moving over in order to complete a doctorate was stunning.
However, one step at a time, the idea became a reality.  In 1987 he received the degree of “doctorate de la  troiseme cycle” in Protestant Theology.  During the 1983-84 time frame while we were in residence, I received a degree in French from the University of Strasbourg.
Of course, in the course of living and studying abroad, we learned much and fell in love with the Alsace region of France.  Note to self:  I must write, soon, and capture the story behind this season of our lives.

Coming Home

In 1988, I received a promotion in air traffic that took us to Kansas, and back to my roots.  We lived in the Los Angeles area and grew weary of congestion, cost of living, tract houses and, yes, sunshine.  I longed for my Kansas sunsets, sunrises and seasons.  As we looked at houses, I wanted something with depth and history and we homed in on Maison Steinbüchel.  It had all of the features I wanted in a house.  Yes, it needed work, but something about this house said “yes”.
It was during our final walk through, before all the offers and counter-offers, that we learned of the house’s history and the fact that it was named for a woman who had been born and raised in Strasbourg France.  No wonder the house was calling to us!  It needed a French speaking family in it again.  One who remembered what Marie-Louse knew.  We were coming home in more ways than one.

The Book And A Name

The owner gave us a book that had belonged to one of the family members.  “A Living Gravestone” documents the roots and history of the family.   At closing, we took custody of the abstract of the house in which the first entry refers to the signed treaty by President U.S. Grant.
It states that the land the house stands on was purchased from the Osage Land Trust in 1870.  The Abstract is current through the 1970s.  In it are notations of the various legal transactions including a few tussles among family members involving the property.  It is a great supplement to the book.

People and Places

This is is of itself awesome.  But more that that, we have met many of the descendants of Marie-Louise, Peter Stackman and Herman Steinbüchel.  French, German and American.  In may of 1999 we hosted a reunion at Maison Steinbüchel of the Hahn family.  French and American members were present.  We interpreted for them!  What an honor.
We have visited the Steinbüchel region in Germany, seen the manor house and walked the estate.  We were guests in Marie’s great great nephew’s home in Strasbourg.  During that stay we passed by the location of the shop where Marie-Louise’s family sold groceries.
It is an honor to live in a Historic Landmark structure.  It is wonderful to know descendants living today as a testament to the courage and adventuresome spirit of their ancestors.  Who left their families and country to make a new life in Wichita, Kansas.  This is more than a project, this is real to us.

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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