State Historic Site
(Trail End Collection)
Manville's Bedroom (Prout)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
April 2013 - December 2013
The Main Staircase and Second Floor Hallway contain the same dark oak woodwork as the Foyer. It was machine-tooled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the Lindner Manufacturing Company. The oakleaf-patterned wallpaper is a replication of the original paper, called Ardennes. The original was replaced in 1990. It had been irreversibly damaged by eighty years of sunlight, water intrusion and daily wear-and-tear. Behind the curtains and shades are three windows with stained glass panels. The generic heraldic design is not the Kendrick family crest.
The center wall on the second floor was once home to photographic portraits of people the Kendricks met during their time in public life, including politicians and socialites. Very few – none of the presidents – ever visited Trail End. Most of the current photos are not the originals; those have long since disappeared. These are from the collections of Diana Kendrick, Rosa-Maye Harmon and the American Heritage Center.
Of all the rooms at Trail End, Manville’s bedroom best reflects the personality of its occupant: simple, modern and straightforward. A reaction to the overly ornate character of Victorian-era furnishings, the Arts & Crafts (or Mission) design of Manville’s room featured plain designs and little ornamentation. Manville, too, preferred the plain and straightforward. He saw himself as a modern rancher, a man of the West where life’s main concerns revolved around land, cattle and family.
When he and his bride moved into the north wing following their 1929 marriage, Manville turned his old bedroom into a den and dressing room, filling it with mementoes of his youth and travels. In a 1982 interview, he recalled some of the original furnishings: "A desk and a small chair and a Navajo Rug. Over here was the gun case and one of those bookcases that you pull out and shove the door back into the slot."
Manville’s is the smallest of the family bedrooms. This was not because his parents liked Rosa-Maye better, but because it was felt that boys didn’t need large rooms; they should be spending most of their time out-of-doors. The room was crammed with furniture. To save space, Manville slept in a Murphy Bed – a closet-like piece of furniture in which the bed was folded up and stored during the day.
The ceiling fixture and wall sconces were designed specifically for the room by Braun Manufacturing of Chicago. The large rug currently displayed on the floor was made from the hide of a steer named "JR." Weighing in at 2,500 pounds, JR was the last animal to carry the Kendricks’ original OW brand. It is not original to the room. (To learn more about JR, see our article Who Brought JR?.
The Master Bedroom is one of the few rooms at Trail End to undergo a major change in appearance; shortly after her husband’s death in 1933, Eula Kendrick repainted and repapered the room. Fortunately for us, she kept the original rug, light fixtures, furnishings and fireplace tiles.
The Master Bedroom’s Circassian Walnut furniture was manufactured by Berkey & Gay of Grand Rapids, Michigan – as was much of the home’s furniture. Like many wealthy married couples reared in the Victorian Era, the Kendricks slept in separate beds – in this case, double beds. This was actually quite considerate; if one or the other came in late or had to get up early, they could do so without disturbing the sleep of their partner.
Rich in feminine trappings, Rosa-Maye’s bedroom at Trail End is a very "girlie" room. It contains everything needed by a genteel young lady – a triple-mirrored vanity table, spacious writing desk, luxurious double bed, private bath, and large closet filled with deep drawers and cupboards. While Eula Kendrick decorated the room with lace, roses and plenty of pink, that may have been just a mother’s wishful thinking, because Rosa-Maye was the biggest tomboy on the block! She drove cars and flew in airplanes – things young ladies didn’t do much of in the 1910s and '20s.
The furniture reflects the Neoclassical Revival style, elegantly finished in shaded ivory. The headboard, footboard, dresser, vanity and desk are draped with carved rose garlands, echoing the patterns found on the walls and in the custom-made chandelier. Although she didn’t live at Trail End after her marriage, Rosa-Maye visited as often as she could. When she got here, she found her old room almost exactly the same as she had left it – with a few new things added, of course.
During the years that the Sheridan County Historical Society operated Trail End, Rosa-Maye's bedroom was used to display women's clothing and personal items. Mannequins and display cases filled the room. The original furniture was not returned to the site until the 1990s.
The north end of the second floor originally contained three guest bedrooms, each with a private bath. It also contains a utility closet and one of two second-floor fuse boxes, plus access to the dumbwaiter, laundry chute, west balcony sunroom and servants’ stairs. Near the elevator is one of the original Wilton-style rugs purchased from the Omaha firm of Miller, Stewart & Beaton in 1912. This is the only one on display; the rest of the machine-woven wool rugs saw eighty years of hard use before being replaced by reproductions (purchased by the Trail End Guilds) in the spring of 2002.
Originally intended as guest quarters, the West Guest Bedroom now functions as a research/meeting space for Trail End staff and visiting scholars. The grasscloth wallpaper is not the original finish; it was added several decades after the home was built, replacing the blue paint that caused the West Guest Bedroom to be known as the "Blue Room." The brass ceiling fixture, complete with original pearlescent globes, was custom-designed for the room, as were the wall sconces. Of the three guests rooms, it was the one preferred by Eula Kendrick’s parents, Charles and Ida Peeler Wulfjen, who made frequent extended visits to Sheridan in the 1910s and 1920s.
From the 1930s through the mid-1950s, the room served as nursery and bedroom for Manville and Diana Kendrick’s two sons, John and Hugh. When it was remodeled in 1933, Eula Kendrick noted in her diary, "Spent morning supervising Mr. Edwards and Edgar in moving furniture out of ‘Blue Room,’ preparation to making nursery for new baby coming to MK and D in late January."
Along with most of the north wing, the 1960s and 1970s found the West Guest Bedroom included as part of an apartment created for Trail End’s live-in caretakers.
Because she didn’t appreciate the sound of small boys running around in the Ballroom above her bedroom, Eula Kendrick had the West Balcony (at the end of the hallway) enclosed in 1935 to make a sunroom/playroom for her grandchildren. When Rosa-Maye came to visit, her children would sleep there. The N. A. Pearson Company completed the work at a cost of just over $1,000.