State Historic Site
Edited by Site Superintendent Cynde Georgen; from Trail End Notes, April 2002
AS THE KENDRICKS were putting together ideas for their new home, they had to do most of their planning by mail, dealing with architects and designers all over the country. At the same time, the local press showed a great deal of interest in the new home rising up on a barren hill northeast of downtown Sheridan.
The following excerpts are from a variety of sources, including the Manville Kendrick Archival Collection, the Construction Era Documents Collection, and the Trail End Research Archives.
John B. Kendrick to Denver, Colorado, Architect F. H. Moorman, 1907 - We have carefully gone over the sketches of plans for the residence sent to us and as they do not entirely fulfill the ideas we have of a home we are returning them by today’s mail. Owing to the fact that I was able to give you such little idea as to the kind and character of the building we wanted during our short visit in your office, it is not at all surprising that the sketches submitted failed to meet the requirements. Within the past few days Mrs. Kendrick has drawn fairly complete detailed plans such as she would like for the first and second floors and after taking a little more time to perfect these I think it quite likely she will forward you a copy asking you, if convenient, to submit us a sketch or two in pencil.
John B. Kendrick to Billings, Montana, Architect Glenn Charles McAlister, 1908 - I have just received the sketch which reached me in good shape. I also have your letter from which I note that you will expect to have an order from me to go ahead with the plans. Incidentally, I will state that you need not expect anything of the kind. What I propose to do is to treat all concerned in even and exact fairness. I am going to take your sketch and the sketch sent from Denver with me to the ranch and at some time within the next ten days Mrs. Kendrick and myself will decide to accept one or the other of these two plans.
The Sheridan Post, 1908 - John B. Kendrick has accepted the plans for his magnificent new home on Neilson [sic] Heights. Teams are now excavating for the foundation, and while the work will take several months, it will be pushed as rapidly as possible.
The Sheridan Post, 1909 - Numerous buildings are in the course of construction, including a number of dwelling houses … Among these is the magnificent residence of J. B. Kendrick on Nielson Heights, which would adorn Fifth Avenue in New York or the lake front of Chicago. … The new home is a beauty in design and finish …
Contractor Frank Ferguson quoted in The Sheridan Post, 1909 - We are, as you doubtless already know, building for Mr. J. B. Kendrick, a magnificent residence, which was designed by Architect McAlister, of Billings. The house is designed on broad and generous lines. The main building being 62x100 feet, with two full stories and basement, and the exterior treatment of the same is attractive, to my mind unusually so, and pleasing to the eye. … The inside trim will be of hard wood, as will also be all the floors. Steam heat will be used and the plumbing of latest sanitary standard. All the decorations and lighting fixtures will be of an artistic character and in keeping with the general cost and design of the home.
John B. Kendrick to Woodwork Manufacturer Charles A. Lindner, 1909 - The question of our interior wood work has given both Mrs. Kendrick and myself an endless amount of anxiety, but since our talk with you we have a feeling of complete assurance as to the outcome so that we have practically dismissed it from our minds.
John B. Kendrick to Interior Architect D. Everett Waid, 1911 - Concerning my wishes as to the general plan of the interior work … I should like to have it treated along the lines of the utmost simplicity consistent with the best artistic effect, in a character that would not only be livable when we first moved into the house but would continue to grow in favor as we become more and more accustomed to it, and, while inclined to avoid any unnecessary expense, I deem it only fair to you to say at this time that I am not in the least inclined to avoid any outlay that would increase the beauty or practical utility of the house when it is finished.
Mary Kendrick Morgan to Manville Kendrick, 1960 - I helped your mother a little on the plans when I was with you folks and she said then the house was going to be a big responsibility. I think that your Dear Father wanted the big house much more than she did.
Drawing of Foyer by D. Everett Waid, circa 1911 (Archival Collection, TESHS)