Ablah House
202-104 Pinecrest Avenue

 

 

 Nominated for the
Kansas & National Registers of Historic Places
12-1-2007

(Quoted from a Dec. 13, 2007 news release of the Kansas Historic Society: http://www.kshs.org/news/releases/pdfs/2007_kshs_national_register_Dec07.pdf)

The Streamline Moderne-style double residence located at 102-104 Pinecrest Avenue is being nominated to the National Register for its unique architectural design and for its association with a prominent Wichita family – the Ablahs. As young boys, Lebanese brothers Fauzie (Frank) and Hafiz (Harvey) Ablah immigrated to the United States by way of Canada in 1907 with their parents and siblings. The family first located on the west side of Wichita among other Lebanese immigrant families. Their father Jabbour worked as a peddler, as did many of the approximately 30 Middle Eastern immigrant families in Wichita. Gradually, many of them developed storefront retail businesses. In 1911, Jabbour broke from the tradition of clustered ethnic settlement and moved his family east across the Arkansas River to open Ablah Dry Goods, Clothing and Fancy Work on East Douglas Avenue. This move marked the beginning of a 60-year family business that Frank and Harvey would carry on and that would have a significant effect on Wichita. Having experienced financial success and desiring a larger residence for their growing families, the brothers built the unique double residence on Pinecrest Avenue. Although prevalent in commercial and public buildings, this style is uncommon in Wichita residential neighborhoods. The flat-roofed dual residence is situated on a corner lot and is built in two intersecting units on a plan that is neither L- nor U-shaped. Smooth surfaces and horizontality typify the Streamline Moderne style. The Ablah residence achieves this in an unusual way in that the ground floor wall surface is variegated brick, but the upper fašade is clad in metal sheeting and painted with silica-textured paint. The Ablah family owned this property until 1996.

Photo: DC & VC 1-08