The Green Leaf Place – 425 North Madison Street, Bloomfield
Opened for business as a bed and breakfast in 2007, The Green Leaf Place is one of Bloomfield’s historic properties. Built in the English Tudor style with natural brick and oak trim in 1912 by Henry Clay Taylor, the original lot was 1¾ acre in size and included the presently standing two-story carriage house.
Henry C. Taylor was born on January 17, 1859 in Davis County, Iowa. He was educated in Davis County schools including the Southern Iowa Normal School. (That school’s building was adapted to become the present Gilfillan Clinic Building.) He studied/read law at the State University and was admitted by practice in June 1888. He went into partnership with F.W. Eichelberger until the latter went on the bench and then joined H.C. Traverse until Traverse retired. It was then that he and James McGowen started the bank on the southwest corner of Bloomfield’s square known as the Taylor-McGowen Bank. (That building still has the bank vault on the second floor and is the current location of Bloomfield Main Street’s office.)
Helen Steckel Taylor was one of four daughters of Amos and Ellen Steckel, Amos’ second marriage. Helen was an accomplished musician, having trained at Oberlin (Ohio) College.
The contractor for the Taylor home in 1912 was Weitz Construction of Des Moines, the same company that built the W.J. Steckel home in 1914 immediately south of the lot. Originally there were five rooms and a bath and a half on first floor, six rooms and three baths on the second, and a theater room on third. All woodwork is solid oak with large oak ceiling beams in rooms downstairs and features an open stairway and telephone booth. There are three fireplaces, a spacious 15 x 21 foot dining room equipped with the original claw-footed dining table, buffet and eighteen chairs carved in Jacobean style. The latter are the originals ordered from the Marshall Field Company of Chicago. The original home was equipped with a central vacuuming system and a living room rug made in pre-World War I Austria.
The next owners of the property were George and Rachel (Taylor) Kyl, the latter being a daughter of Henry C. and Helen Taylor. George Kyl took early retirement from the FBI as a lab expert and bought the clothing store business owned by Harry Burchette, located on the west side of the Bloomfield square. He was co-owner of Kyl’s Men’s Store with his brother John Kyl who served as Congressman of the 4th District.
George and Rachel moved there in 1964 and restored several pieces of the Taylor furniture. Avid gardeners, they had an orchard of 21 fruit trees, five flower gardens, and a vegetable garden. Following Rachel Kyl’s passing, George remarried Charlotte Brown who encouraged building the addition to the home. George Kyl’s ancestors came from Holland and he brought a touch of that country into the family room fireplace decoration with its Dutch Delph tile.
In 1994 the Kyls sold the property to Jerald and Sharyl Roberts who owned the property until 2005 when Valerie and Gary Mishler purchased it. The Roberts were owners of a Bloomfield fiberglass business. From 2005 to 2007 the Mishler’s renovated and redecorated rooms, adding a bathroom upstairs. Thus the three bed and breakfast rooms have private baths. The home has been offered for tours including the third floor theatre space which may in the future become useable for community small audience events. The carriage house is being remodeled which hopefully some day will have rentable space upstairs as a honeymoon suite. They have reintroduced the original name of the historic home and offer it as a bed and breakfast facility. It has various hospitality and meeting rooms with English Tudor and Craftsman-style ambiance.