Historical houses tend to make the best bed and breakfast inns. The Engle House in Abilene, Kansas, is a perfect example of that rule. Built in the early 1900s, its owners transformed the house into the city’s best bed and breakfast inn.
Chris and Scott Ostermann bought the house in 2014 with intentions to renovate and then sell it. Unbeknownst to the would-be house flippers was that the Engle House was more than just an old building in need of repair, its history included connections to a local building legend and an American president. Built around 1910 by noted architect Jacob Krueger, the Ostermanns found his name written among the trim work. The more they looked into it, they discovered letters and more to confirm Krueger indeed designed the house. Krueger also designed Seelye Mansion for Dr. AB Seelye and his family.
Jacob Engle owned the house for several years. He hired David Eisenhower to work at the local creamery where Engle served as the vice-president. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the future 34th president of the United States, also worked for Engle. As a school board member, Engle signed Dwight Eisenhower’s high school diploma.
The Ostermanns fell in love with the house as they worked on their renovation. Instead of selling it, they decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast. The Engle House was named to National Register of Historic Places.
We fell in love with it during our weekend visit to Abilene in early December. The B&B offers three bedrooms on the second floor, as well as a sun porch that can be used during warm weather. Each room has its own assigned bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about sharing with strangers. Another person stayed at the Engle House that weekend, but we didn’t meet her until the final day of the stay. She discussed her love of the bed and breakfast and that she planned to return with her family.
Decorated for the holidays, each room featured beautiful Christmas ornaments and exhibits. I imagine the parlors – a small one and a larger one with a fireplace – are beautifully decorated year round. Chris mentioned that Connie Brunner of Cedar Street Market Antiques helped with designing each room’s décor.
Our bedroom was the Lancaster Suite. The main room included a queen-sized bed and sofa, as well as wall-mounted television with cable service. We also had a small sun porch where you could enjoy a cup of coffee and observe the neighborhood. A small hallway included a laundry set. The bathroom included a shower unit.
If you had to choose only one reason to stay at the Engle House, it could be breakfast. Chris prepared delicious entrees each morning. From a sausage and egg casserole to scrambled eggs and locally-produced bacon, there was absolutely no way of leaving the table hungry. A self-taught chef, Chris also caters meals for special events at the Engle House.
If you have a trip planned for Abilene, we recommend staying at the Engle House. I know on our next trip to the city, we’ll be staying there.
For more information or to make reservations, please visit their website.