Two homes on Auglaize Street were the center of attention Sunday as the Women’s Civic League of Wapakoneta held its first Showcase of Homes.
Proceeds from what organizers hope becomes an annual event are to go toward the Karing for Kids Project, which was created by the civic league in 2006 to help each child be “a part of” rather than “apart from his or her peers.” Some needs the club has filled through the project in the past include calculators for math students, coats, shoes, and other clothing, personal hygiene supplies, money toward band uniforms for band students, school supplies, and school lunches.
Lois Dammeyer, one of the Showcase of Homes organizers, said the fundraiser went better than she ever could have anticipated.
“There was a lot of interest,” Dammeyer said. “We sold 450 tickets and we could have sold a lot more. It was a wonderful turnout and it is the biggest fundraiser we have had so far.”
Those who purchased tickets got a chance to view the homes of Dr. Anthony and Barbara De Nisco, in downtown Wapakoneta at 36 E. Auglaize St., and John and Elaine Poppe, 1100 W. Auglaize St. Oohs and aahs could be heard consistently as attendees walked through the homes.
Dr. De Nisco talked about his home that was three and a half years in the making before they moved in just a little more than a year ago.
“We had lived in a country home in Ada on 80 acres for a little over 30 years,” De Nisco said. “We were just looking for a place that would be comfortable to grow old in.”
When looking around, Barbara De Nisco found an unlikely place in the downtown building that was originally the Auglaize National Bank in 1912. The building also had housed the Welfare Finance Trust Savings & Loan, the Auglaize County Title Bureau, an antique store, an ice cream store and a mortgage company. However, when the De Niscos found it, it was vacant and in disrepair.
The De Niscos hired Heyne Construction to do the construction work, Garmann/Miller & Associates to do the engineering, and Embellishments Interior Design to create a home that leaves the feeling of the rural setting once inside. A fireplace and all the window sills are done in Italian marble. The walk-in safe is now a storage area, and the bank president’s former office is now the couple’s bedroom.
De Nisco told a legend of the John Dillinger gang, which once entered the bank with a shotgun and from a window in what is now their bedroom saw the president standing, but turned around and left.
A stained glass window in front of the home was removed, disassembled, cleaned, restored and reinstalled in its original position.
De Nisco said the home is “very comfortable” and exactly what they foresaw when they began visioning the home.
The Poppe home, which has became infamous in the area for its display of wooden characters during the holiday season, turned out to be eye candy also as many people got their first look at the inside of the home.
“John and I had so many people ask to see our home,” Elaine Poppe said. “We had decided whatever charity came and asked first, we would open it to them. Lois (Dammeyer) was the first to call and ask. We were glad to be able to help.”
The home has grown considerably in size since the couple began living there. For example, John Poppe stood in front of a window with a beautiful view of the Auglaize River and explained how once a barn had stood there.
“We used the building as a law office as well,” Poppe explained. “We needed more office space and we needed more living space. We had a choice of finding somewhere else to build or expanding here. This is the best view from anywhere of the Auglaize River. It made our choice easy.”
Each room in the Poppe home contains different historical items, as well as family heirlooms and memorabilia from travels. The home was featured in the May/June 2010 issue of Electronic House magazine.
The back of the home features a garden complete with a fire pit and a wooden staircase giving access to the river.
The Women’s Civic League decided to get the tour of homes restarted after the Junior Service League stopped hosting the event two years ago.
“A lot of people had enjoyed it and I mentioned the idea to our club,” Dammeyer said. “All of the members agreed. It turned out better than we anticipated.”