1105 N. Buckeye
Abilene Kansas 67410United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Seelye Mansion tours show off the Georgian Style home's French furnishings, Tiffany glass and Thomas Edison electric lighting purchased at the 1904 World's Fair.
Ask most central Kansans and they'll tell you: Abilene's majestic 1905 Seelye Mansion was a school field trip they still remember. The 25-room, Georgian-style home listed on the National Register of Historic Places incorporates the best the world offered in design and technology at the turn of the 20th century. Dr. and Mrs. A.B. Seelye's trip to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair inspired them to install Thomas Edison's electric light fixtures throughout the veranda-wrapped mansion, which is surrounded by manicured gardens. Reportedly, Mrs. Seelye spent more decorating with World's Fair goods than the manse's $55,000 construction cost. There's gold French furniture, Oriental rugs, a Steinway grand piano, Tiffany glass fireplace, Stuben and Croesus glassware and signed first editions of Mark Twain's novels. Seelye guests dined on Havilland Limoges china (300 place settings were stored in the butler's pantry). The parties flowed from the upstairs ballroom to the basement, where, today, you can still bowl on the 48-foot long, 1902 Box Ball alley. During the holidays, the mansion's rooms twinkle with 70 Christmas trees, dozens of poinsettias and 700 nutcrackers. Admission fees ($10 for adults; $5 for children) include the Patent Medicine Museum, which displays A.B. Seelye Medical Company products sold in 14 states by traveling salesmen. Founded in 1890, the company's popular "cure-alls" included the Wasa-Tusa healing elixir, Fro-Zona menthol and Ner-Vena headache remedy.