By Frank J. Buchman
It’s truly a chance of a lifetime.
It’s an opportunity to have one’s very own part of Kansas’ remarkable history.
After the recent $325 million renovation of the Kansas Statehouse, heirlooms of more than a hundred years are on the auction block.
“There’ll be everything imaginable from brass hinges and door knobs to circular staircases,” according to Col. Dave Webb, who’s conducting the online auction through his Webb & Associates at Stilwell.
Bidding opened Monday, May 2, 10 o’clock, and starts to close Saturday, May 9, at 10 o’clock.
While the offering’s significant to all, it’s perhaps most especially meaningful to the auctioneer himself. The statehouse décor had been his home-away-from-home, so to speak, as Webb has served both as a state representative and as a state senator.
“A warehouse down the street from the Kansas Capitol stored everything in need of repair. This is all that was leftover,” Webb said.
While some collectibles went to the state historical society and another museum, there is a long list of sale items. Everything from thousands of feet of trim, to hardwood flooring, archways, library ladders, bookcases and much more will be available.
“Hundreds of unique items from Kansas’ history are to be sold,” Webb said.
One sale attraction most noteworthy to Webb is the copper door that protected the staircase to the dome of the Capitol.
“It’s the only one of those that was ever made. So, this is a true, rare sale feature,” Webb said.
“I don’t know what they replaced that copper door with. I’m assuming it had to have better security, because this just has an old lock on it,” Webb speculated.
Buyers will obviously find many new uses for the old pieces. “The doors would make beautiful tables, and the hinges and door knobs would make the most unusual decorative souvenirs,” Webb said.
Some quite large items also will be offered. There’s a set of cast iron circular stairs that led from behind the Kansas Capitol’s cage elevator to the basement.
Curved desks used by Senate clerks are 20-foot wide. “Whoever buys them will need to have a large office, certainly,” Webb said.
Auction proceeds go to the state, but the auctioneer is uncertain what to expect for total income.
“I think I can safely assure you it will not balance the state budget,” Webb grinned.
Updating the building’s infrastructure while adding a visitor center and underground parking garage were included in the renovation.
A Maryland-based consultant, Elizabeth Watson said the renovated Statehouse, already on the National Register of Historic Places, is worthy of consideration for National Historic Landmark status.
Information about the online auction is available at www.dlwebb.com