Discovering Eureka

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gingerbread House carved from fairy tale

It's only one room wide and two stories high, with gingerbread carving under the eaves of the gable roof. More ornamental carving frames the tiny balcony and its gable. A dome tops the bay window like a sultan's turban. Inside, a spiral staircase climbs up through the middle.

That's about all Greg and Kathy Hughes know about the gingerbread house they own on North Main.

"We didn't build it," said Greg Hughes. "We don't know much about it."

The Hughes buy houses that need rehabilitating, and like a princess who kisses frogs, turn them back into princely abodes. The first was a pink house on First Street, where they lived while effecting the transformation. Located in back of the Grand Central Hotel, it was further transformed by the next owners, who painted it yellow, and is now a guest house, Sunflower Cottage The Hughes have transformed four other houses in town, including one next to the Presbyterian Church on Spring Street and two across from the Palace Hotel, the ones built on top of limestone outcroppings as large as giant's feet.

The Hughes were restoring the two houses when the gingerbread house and adjacent property came up for sale seven years ago. They bought it from the owner and builder, Phillip Krebbs. But before the Hughes could do anything with it, an artist, Barbara Kennedy, asked to buy the house on the adjacent property. So they sold it to her and kept the small one.

Now the gingerbread house awaits occupants -- perhaps a princess, a family of bears or someone who has always wanted to live in a fairy tale.

"The little house was going to be a future project," Greg Hughes said. "We still might do something with it."

The origin of the gingerbread house came to light with a call from Phillip Krebbs of Village Construction. Krebbs, who sold the North Main property to the Hughes, said he built the gingerbread house as an office for a Victorian trimwork business he had in the larger house. The little house was appropriate for the historic district and the business, he said.

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Jennifer Jackson is features writer for the Lovely County Citizen. She can be reached at

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