The Richards Mansion

In the Joseph C. Richards Estate settlement, it shows that the payment of $8,000 was paid for the construction of the Mansion on August 10, 1893. This would be six months after the prior home burned. The Mansion was built under the supervision of a Mr. Muecka, who was a Strutt Street and Oliver Springs resident of Austrian extraction. Only the finest craftsmen were employed. There were no construction plans, but the idea for the home came from a photo in the Scientific American Magazine. The house was constructed with three stories and a basement, a round observation tower, or cupola, provided a panoramic view of the town, the nationally-known resort hotel one hundred yards to the North at the foot of Walden Ridge. The rotunda and a large hall of the first floor were utilized as a living room-ballroom combination. The house was decorated with carved mantels and tiled fireplaces. The hand carved banisters and staircases were said to have been imported from England. Some of the innumerable windows were of stained glass and leaded. The windows in the rotunda had curved glass. A gas plant in the basement provided gas for lights, but a dynamo would later be used to provide electricity.

The house remained in the family until the murders of Margaret and Ann Richards along with 16 year-old errand boy Powder Brown where all three met their final fate February 5, 1940. The case is still unsolved. According to a news article the house and 14 ½ acres was then sold to the American Legion and after installing a new furnace the home burned October 1946. Very few photos exist of the home in a quality that show the many details of the splendid home and this drawing is a
combination of a few and one very good one from Robbie Underwood.
Khotan Depot

The time was around 1904 on the L & N branch of the Cow Creek line at the Khotan Depot. The side spur on the left ran to the Piedmont or Khotan tipple. In the distance was the Windrock Mountain that had almost been completly clear cut of its timber. The newly laid track would soon begin carring out the black gold. The Windrock Coal & Coke Company’s #1 mine is located on Windrock about four and one-half miles north of Oliver Springs. It lies in the southern edge of the Wartburg Basin, at an elevation of 2,400 feet above sea level. This location commands a splendid outlook over the valley to the south. The camp can be reached from the Khotan depot.

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