The Charming Krause Kasa that Almost Survived

January 26, 2018 Published by Julie Arrison-Bishop

Original article: from the El Paso Herald Post; Author: Jon Eckberg – El Paso County Historical Society

The “Krause Kasa” was a unique home, at one time located at 906 North Stanton.  In an article in the Spring 1971 issue of the El Paso County Historical Society’s Password, Harriot Howze Jones told the story of the home.

Salem, Massachusetts, still has its House of the Seven Gables, immortalized by Hawthorne. El Paso’s “House of the Seven Gables,” alas, was taken down in the fall of 1969 but will be remembered by thousands as a quaint relic of the Victorian era. With its passing, one of last structures in El Paso made of wood has “gone with the wind.” The Krause house was one of the first houses in El Paso not made of adobe and the first “residence” built north of the tracks.

Ernest William Ulrich Krause was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1847. He came to this area in 1881. El Paso was a small adobe village with a population of 500 before the railroads came, but in the next few months it doubled in size.

One of the first trains from California brought a load of redwood, and Mr. Krause bought enough lumber to build a two story house. The lots he bought were in the desert, now the corner of Stanton Street and Montana Avenue. Mr. Krause designed the house and directed the building of it with Mexican labor. His German heritage may account for the elaborate carved wood designs on gables, cornices and window frames. It always reminded me of the gingerbread house in Hansel und Gretel.

To this charming house Mr. Krause brought his bride in 1882. She was Flora Beach of Gonzales, Texas. The Krauses had three daughters who were born in the house and grew up there: Leona, who married Earl E. Sidebottom and moved to California, Mabel who married Charles Montfort, and Kate who married Preston Ball. Kate Ball is a well known artist noted especially for her exquisite illuminated Biblical scrolls. She and her daughter Flora still live in El Paso.

Mabel Krause Montfort and her husband moved into the house with Mrs. Krause in 1945. Mr. Krause had died in 1932. Mrs. Montfort lived there until she sold it, just before her death in 1969, to the R.B. Price estate.

It was hoped by many that the Krause house could be preserved as a fine example of the period, but it had to be moved, and that presented too many difficulties — streets were too narrow, overhead wires would have to be taken down along any route to a new site, and the cost would be prohibitive.

La Villita, ca 1975, Note the Krause Home’s distinct roof atop one of the stores. | Photo courtesy El Paso County Historical Society

Finally, there was no one who would guarantee to do it.

But thanks to Mrs. Jack Curlin (nee Barbara Price), parts of the house are being preserved, a bay window and a gable having been incorporated in La Villita, a shopping compound which has saved parts of several historic buildings and built around them, thus creating the effect of an old town.

The wainscotting from several rooms and the curving staircase from the Krause house are in storage awaiting some use in the future.

This, then, is the requiem of a charming house. It is too bad that it had to be taken down but those who knew it will never forget it.

This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop