Did architect J. Riely Gordon design the house at 103 City St.? Tantalizing hints suggest that he might have. Rudolph Staacke and his wife, Adele Sartor Staacke, built the house in 1894, the same year that Riely Gordon designed the Staacke Bros. building for Rudolph and his brother August at 309 East Commerce St. The buildings share some design elements, including the arched stone entry and architectural features topped by medallions.
Adele and Rudolph were first cousins, not so unusual at the time. Adele was the daughter of Alex Sartor and his second wife, Emilie. Rudolph’s mother was Emma Sartor Staacke, Alex’s sister. Adele had been exposed to business her whole life and was not reluctant to be an equal partner. After her husband’s untimely death in 1898, she became an active partner in Staacke Bros. Could this young couple have been so pleased with the design of the business building that they hired Mr. Gordon to design their home? No real evidence has been uncovered to confirm that this happened, but who knows?
More to come in the latest revision of The King William Area, to be published in the fall.
- Jessie N. M. Simpson