House: Sauer Castle


Sauer Castle in Kansas City, Kansas

Location: Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Built: 1871
Status: Open as tourist destination

History

The Saur Castle belonged to Anton Sauer and his wife Francesca. The two were married in Vienna, Austria at the age of 18, and they had a total of five children there: Gustave O.L., Anthony Philip Jr., Julius J., Emil, and Johanna. In order to be with Anton’s mother and sisters, the Sauer family decided to move to New York City in 1858. However, Francesca had a worsening case of tuberculosis that eventually killed her in 1868. Anton then decided to move to Kansas City, Kansas.

Shortly after he became successful in his business, he began to court 28-year-old widow, Maria “Mary” Einhellig Messerschmidt, who had two daughters already: Anna and Maria. The couple wed in 1869 and had five daughters together: Eva Marie, Antoinette, Josephine (possibly Fosefa), Clara, and Helen (possibly Frances). Helen died in her infancy at an age of 14 months.

The mansion was fully furnished by 1872. The “castle” sat along the Shawnee Indian trail, part of the old Santa Fe Trail. Anton died on August 16th, 1879 in the second floor master bedroom, leaving Mary and the children to care for the house. In 1919, Mary passed away.

Eve Maria Sauer married a man by the name of William C. Van Fossen, and they both lived in the house. They had one child, Hellen, before the marriage disintegrated 18 months later. She remarried with John S. Perkins, a Wyandotte County businessman, landowner, and widower with six children. Together, they had three children. They remained married up until John’s suicide via handgun at age 73, reasons being his health declining.

John Harrison Perkins, the son of John and Eve, had an infant daughter who drowned in the swimming pool. Eve lived with the family inside the home with her son and two daughters, Eve Marie Perkins and Marguerite A. Perkins. Eve died in 1955 due to natural causes.

Sauer Castle saw five generations of the family over the years. The legacy was ended when Paul Berry, the owner of  home heating oil company, bought the house after Eve’s death. He lived there until December, 1986, when he met his own demise. The house was constantly trespassed and vandalized on since the ghost stories came out in 1930. Berry and his dog fought the offenders off.

In the January of 1987, Bud Wyman, his son Cliff, and his daughter in-law Cindy Jones, bought Sauer Castle with hopes of turning it into a bed and breakfast, as no one lived in the house at this time. Plans ceased, and in 1988, Anton’s great-great grandson Carl Lopp bought the house to restore and reside in. However, Lopp only managed to do small amounts of renovations, and the project slowed.

On August 15th, 1996, Lopp’s caretaker was charged with felony theft after she stole $30,000 worth of belongings in the house, such as a chandelier, dress, tractor, wall sconces, and copper from the furnace. Several ghost stories, most of them false, have been told. The building was put in the Register of Historic Kansas Places on July 1st, 1977, the National Register of Historic Places on August 2nd, 1977, and the Kansas City, Kansas Historic Landmarks on January 29th, 1987.

Sources

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