A Piece of Living History

Built of brick in 1855 and 1856, the Ira and Asenath Sturdevant house is the oldest surviving dwelling in Waverly, Iowa. Sold outside the Sturdevant family after Ira’s widow, Asenath, died in 1867, descendants repurchased it at a sheriff’s sale on April 14, 2009, loaning the money to the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance (now Preservation Iowa) who will own it until it has its own separate non-profit organization.

Led by descendants of Ira and Asenath, the project will restore the house at 502 1st Street SW to approximate its original appearance. When finished, it will be opened to the public as a community, educational, living-history site.

The Ira & Asenath Sturdevant House

The June 2008 Cedar River flood filled the original cellar and damaged 150-year-old plaster and bricks on the first floor. Grant funds sponsored mold remediation in the cellar during summer 2009. In May 2010, project members scraped plaster, mortar, and crumbling brick from the brick that will survive and repaired exterior features. In July 2010, we began to remove modern wallboard and framing from the first-floor interior, exposing door casings, window frames, the kitchen chimney, and the original location of the stairs to the upper floor. In October, project members painted the trim to preserve it from further disintegration. During the fall Waverly salvage campaign by Preservation Iowa and AmeriCorps youth, they set aside materials salvaged from other flood-damaged, historic houses in Waverly for later use in the Sturdevant house project.

A Living History Project