The Grounds

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Overview

The grounds of the Longnecker House is a roughly 80 x 400 ft corner lot extending from a standard street front to a perennial creek that forms the border of the back yard on the border of a city park, with an elevation change of about 20 feet from front to back.

Two established city bicycle routes pass by the property.

Front Yard

The grassy boulevard is interrupted by several street signs, and a fire hydrant.

The front sidewalk is 5 feet wide and generally in good condition apart from two sections with severe pitting near the fire hydrant.

Lining the sidewalk are 4 evenly spaced medium-sized red cedars of similar age but not similar shape, having obviously been variously sculpted over the course of time. It is hard to see on the old overhead photos available at the Iowa Geographic Map Server, but it seems that 4 small trees are visible on the image from the 1930s, which would make the 4 cedars roughly 80 years old.

The sidewalk to the front door has a curved deflection revealing the past location of a very large tree just to the east, which is also revealed in the lean of the oaks that line the front drive. There is a depression in the yard to the west of the sidewalk closer to the house where there was, evidently, another large tree in the past.

The yard is lined by 3 burr oaks along the driveway to the east, and the neighbor's line of young spruce trees along the west.

Mature, slightly overgrown yews form a foundation planting at the base of the porch on either side of the cement front stairs (which replace original cracked stone steps visible in a c. 1908 photo) with wide, stone railing. On the west end of the yew plantings, the yew on the end has grown vertically higher than the front porch and has interesting, peeling red bark.

West Side Yard

The yard along the west side of the house drops about 8 feet mostly from the dining room bay back. Upper level foundation plantings consist of a mature mock orange (which is a little too close to the porch and the tall yew) and a mature Persian lilac. A large standard lilac that was crowed between the mock orange and Persian lilac has been split into three clumps and planted along the west property line.

Wild cucumber vines and Virginia Creeper and a few wild grapes volunteer along the foundation as well.

The downslope along the house is planted with common day lilies which struggle to bloom and suffer from deer and wild cucumber overgrowth. A mature burr oak grows among the day lilies and leans over the house to a fair extent.

Along the west property line