We call it the “house with the pillars” or the Vanderdasson home. Those who have been in Emmett for a long time remember the home as the DeClark residence. The three storied Victorian home is located on the corner of North Johns Avenue and Main Street. It has been purchased and will soon undergo renovation and remodel. Diamond B Group, Inc. are the owners/ general contractors for the project.
Owners Mike and Toni Brown will reside in the home after the renovation. The couple moved to Emmett in September, fell in love with Emmett and don’t plan on moving again. Brown is a general contractor, president and CEO of Diamond B which specializes in concrete, high rise buildings, prisons, restaurants and high class hotels. Their lives have been on the run for many years. They are looking forward to a slower pace and are excited to be involved in renovation of a historical house.
The couple wanted to buy the home the first time they set eyes on it. They plan on hosting an open house tour for the public before and after renovations. With their extensive contracting background, many in town say they are the “perfect couple” to restore the home. Others are jealous because many have always wanted to own the “house with the pillars.”
DeClarks pick the ‘best’
to build their home
The 3,172 square-foot brick home stands with its bay windows and white shingled pillars gracing the front door. The home sits on a 115- by 118-foot corner lot in the heart of town.
Frank Arthur DeClark and his wife Emma Belle contracted area builders F. C. Berry and Edwin Campbell to build their home in 1901. Berry and Campbell Construction Company also built the local Methodist Church, the Bank of Emmett, the Ideal Theater and many other homes in the area. It the 1900s, the company was rated as one of the leading building firms in Gem and Canyon counties.
When the home was completed in 1902, it had indoor plumbing and was wired for electricity even though power did not come to Emmett for another four years. Most homes of the time did not have indoor plumbing which was considered a luxury. There were four second floor bedrooms and one bathroom. The 336 square foot third floor was left unfinished.
The pillars and north side were two major additions added in 1904. The kitchen windows looked out onto a screened porch and there was also a summer kitchen. The main floor had a parlor, sitting room, dining room and a steep stairway.
DeClark was a progressive realtor who helped develop Emmett. He was responsible to bring property investors from the east.
Historical records say that Emma loved her home and spent most of her time there as she raised their four children. In 1920, Arthur passed away and Emma followed in 1928.
Vanderdassons move in
The Vanderdassons family moved to Emmett in 1887 and ranched along the Payette River four miles west of Emmett. They raised four children there and donated property for a school, near Tom’s Cabin, which was named for them and many still remember.
In 1931, the Victorian Emmett home was deeded to James and Elizabeth Vanderdasson. The house was left to their son Blaine and his wife Vura who moved in 1932. They lived in the home and had an apartment added to the back of the house for Vura’s parents, James and Matilda Walker. After Vura’s parents passed away, the apartment was often rented to high school students from Ola and Sweet who attended school in Emmett.
Vura lived in the home until 2002 when she died at the age of 108. After her death, the home was left to her only grandson Michael Carmichael who lived in the home until his death. The house was then left to his 16-year-old son. In October 2005, the home and its contents were sold at a real estate, antique and collectible auction.
The historical hitching rock
In front of the home is a hitching rock which was brought to Emmett for a Fourth of July celebration in 1902. Some say the hitching rock is one of the most interesting features of the home.
In an old newspaper article, it is said that the rock was placed on Main Street close to the canal near the center of downtown. There was a contest held and the man who could drill the deepest hole in the top of the stone with a single jack in the allotted time won prize money.
The rock was moved to the front of the home and served as a hitching post for horses and carriages for whoever needed it.
Gem County Historical Museum records show the Vanderdasson family quoted as saying, “most of the boys and girls who have grown up here in our town since the early 1900s have at one time or another tried to climb the rock, to stand on it, to sit on it and they always jingle the hitching ring.”
The Vanderdasson home is said to one of the most photographed homes in town.
Watch future editions of the Messenger Index for information regarding the open house.