203 Turley Avenue – Paul Coleman DeVol/L. Henry Cutler
This lovely Queen Anne bears the names of two families – DeVol and Cutler – who played a significant part in the growth and development of Council Bluffs.
Three generations of the DeVol family appear in its early history, beginning in 1847 when the frontier town was still known as Kanesville. David and Delia DeVol were married in 1830 and were the parents of ten children, five of whom lived to adulthood. The family lived in Chatham, NY and West Stockbridge, MA for nine years, and then moved to Nauvoo, IL where they lived until 1846. Continuing westward, they spent the winter at a site near the Des Moines River and arrived in Kanesville in 1847. They brought with them the family of Dustin Amy, Mormons who left Nauvoo in search of freedom to practice their religion. The DeVols were Presbyterian. David DeVol worked as a clerk in various mercantile stores and at other occupations and was elected Kanesville’s first justice of the peace in 1852. Their home on Bluff Street is no longer there; a later home still stands, at 117 South First Street.
Paul Coleman DeVol, David’s son, found various ways to earn and save money. In one such venture, he kept a small stand in a six-foot space between two buildings and sold pies, etc. to emigrants going west. At about age 18 he began to learn the tinner’s trade. In 1861 he opened a stove and tin ware store with Milton Rogers. After two years he bought out his partner and ran the store alone until 1883. He then formed a partnership with W.S.Wright and opened a jobbing business. After two years, they entered into a stock company under the name Rector, Wilhelmy & Co. in Omaha, transferring their jobbing business to Omaha and leaving their hardware store in Council Bluffs. The DeVol retail hardware store became a successful family business. P.C. and Catherine had five children. Their home at 332 Willow Avenue, which was purchased from O.P. Wickham, is now known as the Wickham/DeVol House.
Their son, Paul Clyde DeVol, joined the hardware business in 1892. In 1900 the firm became known as P.C. DeVol & Son. Paul Clyde held leadership positions in several other Council Bluffs businesses and was the first president of the Iowa Retail Hardware Association. Paul Clyde DeVol and his wife, Bessie, are said to be the original owners of this home (203 Turley Avenue).
L. Henry Cutler was the son of Lewis Cutler, a funeral director in LaPorte City, Indiana. Lewis Cutler and Carrie Weir were married there in 1877 and had four sons. In 1901, the family came to Council Bluffs and founded the Lewis Cutler & Son Funeral Home. Henry Cutler, with his father, ran the business which was continued by William Cutler Jr., Henry’s nephew. Lewis and Carrie Cutler lived at 133 Bluff Street, which remains today on the corner of Bluff Street and Willow Avenue.
This house (203 Turley Avenue) was purchased in 1914 by Henry Cutler and his wife, Mae. According to the Third/Bluff/Willow Historic District nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, this 1897 Free Classic Queen Anne house “retains its clapboard siding, wrap-around porch with tripled and square posts and intact rail, wide eave overhang, cornice returns, Palladian window variant in the gable end, and a rounded two-story bay window on the front. Most windows are original fixed pane and multi-pane over single pane windows. ”
Henry Cutler’s wife, Mae, started the Council Bluffs Garden Club. Many of the plants and shrubs growing in the Turley Avenue yard today were planted by Mae Cutler and will be a beautiful testament to the gardens of yesteryear on the annual Dodge House Garden Walk.
For information about the June 22nd event, please call the Historic General Dodge House at 712-322-2406.
Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information for this series: National Register of Historic Places nominations, the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library, the auditor’s office of the Pottawattamie County courthouse, Council Bluffs Community Development Department, homeowners, family members and individual research.
Preserve Council Bluffs is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve the heritage of Council Bluffs through its architecture, sites, and people.
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