The Kaley House was once one of the most beautiful homes in Red Cloud. It was situated on “Quality Street,” the name given to the area by author Willa Cather, to describe the neighborhood where some of the town’s “best” citizens resided.
Charles Kaley had the house built in 1885, 14 years after Red Cloud had been founded. Kaley, a lawyer, lived in the house with his wife, Cyrelia. She died in 1901 after becoming ill. The couple had no children.
The Kaleys had entertained visitors often, so he believed he needed a woman of the house to handle that responsibility. He asked his brother David and sister-in-law Dora to move in, and have Dora take on the responsibilities of the lady of the house.
Charles Kaley passed away in 1917 at the age of 38. David and Dora inherited the house. They lived there until their deaths. They also didn’t have children.
Francis and Josephine Bohrer bought the house in 1958. He passed away first. Mrs. Bohrer lived in the home until the mid-1990s.
The house fell into bad shape toward the end of Mrs. Bohrer’s time there. It looked to be on the verge of collapse. Unable to keep up with maintaining the house, Mrs. Bohrer was ready to move to a nursing home. What would happen to her home?
Jay and Sally Yost played in the house and spent some nights there as children. Jay loved the place. Sally said it scared her. Young Jay once told Mrs. Bohrer he wanted to buy the house.
Jay, a banker in New York, along with his partner, Wade Leak, bought the house. Jay and Wade bought the house for $5,000 on April 1, 1996. “April Fools?”
The New Yorkers went to work right away in salvaging what they could from the house, built in 1885. A long process started in getting the house renovated and livable. The process dragged on, from 1995 until about four years ago. That’s when Sally (Hansen) joined the duo in managing the renovation.
About a year and half ago, the Red Cloud Bed and Breakfast at the Kaley House opened to its first guests. And they’ve been consistently occupied since.
The house underwent a massive renovation. But, Yost wanted to keep things as close to original as they could. They did an excellent job accomplishing that goal.
The woodwork is original in the house. It took four years for a painter to complete the woodwork, Sally said. The front stairs’ have beautiful ornate work. The front door glass is original.
The wood on the shutters in the parlor are original, along with the hinges. The hinges have designs.
During renovation, they discovered that the Kaleys had used old circus posters as wallpaper at one time. They kept a square of it in one of the front rooms. It’s hidden behind a mirror.
The house is immaculate. The dining area beckons to the heyday of “Quality Street.”
The second level offers guests their choice of three bedrooms. The Master Suite is a cornflower-blue room with a king-sized four poster bed. The room has two long windows, which allows guests to get an amazing view of the Widow’s Walk.
While the Kaley House harkens back to the days of Willa Cather, modern conveniences aren’t forgotten. The suite, as with the other bedrooms, has a wall-mounted TV.
Each room has a private bathroom. This suite includes a bathroom with a large soaking tub, with jets, as well as a standalone shower. The bathroom floor is heated.
The “Quality Street Loft” includes a four-poster bed. The room includes a library ladder that guests can climb to a reading loft.
The bathroom includes a heated marble floor, along with a standalone shower.
The third room is named “Dora’s Room.” Willa Cather and Dora Kaley were longtime friends. This room features a brushed nickel sleigh bed.
The bathroom for this room is located on the main floor. It can be accessed by the back staircase or the main one. Guests have bathrobes for their use.
The bathroom has a basket-weave heated marble floor. The deep bathtub can also be used for showers.
The bed and breakfast is definitely geared toward adults. We’re not sure children would be comfortable in the house, with a lot of delicate pieces of artwork around.
Future plans include a landscape project that will represent the original era of the house. Among other plans, they want to recreate the summer kitchen that was once used as an office.
Jay dreams of rebuilding the carriage house.
We truly enjoyed our tour of the Kaley House. Lisa is trying to figure out when we can return to Red Cloud and book a room at the bed and breakfast. She’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
For more information on the Red Cloud Bed and Breakfast at the Kaley House, please visit www.redcloudbb.com.