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Yukon couple works to restore historic home

A 100-year-old Yukon home is getting a complete renovation to try to bring it back to its original glory.

The house, located at 219 S. 5th St., was built in 1916 by Frank and Catherine Kroutil. The Kroutil family is one of Yukon’s historic families that helped the town grow.

Frank and Catherine emigrated here from Czechoslovakia with their children Mary, Frank Jr. and John around 1881 or 1883. They moved to Yukon sometime between 1890 and 1895, according to Yukon’s Treasures A Historical Home Tour and YNB’s website, Frank Jr. and John founded the Yukon Mill and Grain Company in 1902. Mary married A.F. Dobry, who also helped with the purchase of the Mill. John opened Yukon National Bank in 1912 to “speed up payments to farmers from whom he purchased grain for the Mill,” according to Oklahoma Historical Society credits both Kroutil brothers to YNB.

*Some of the information and dates differ. I stuck primarily to the dates that can be found in Yukon’s Treasures A Historical Home Tour, YNB’s website and the Oklahoma Historical Society. I did my research and tried to provide the most accurate historical background possible.

The Frank Kroutil home was the first Kroutil home here, but not the first home in Yukon. There is a roman numeral I on the chimney designating as the first of the Kroutil family homes, according to the current homeowners, Chris and Cindy Janka.

Chris and Cindy moved to the home in 2008 when their oldest daughter was about to start high school. They lived in Oklahoma City prior to that, but they said they moved to Yukon because it had better schools.

“There’s a lot of history here,” Chris said. “These houses are known and we’ve seen a lot of interest since starting the renovation. We wanted to do what was original as much as possible and get it back to the way it was.”

The home turned 100 in October.

“Start the next 100 years looking good,” Cindy added.

Yukon is not under a historical preservation district so there are no set guidelines or rules for what must be done or kept the same.

“It’s encouraged you stick with historic, but it’s not a requirement,” Cindy said.

This is the fourth week of the renovations. Chris and Cindy are working with contractor Kirk Maynord with Bass Roofing and Siding Inc. One portion of the renovation is replacing the underlayment on the roof. The current tile has been there since it was built, Chris said. They are restoring the original Ludowici roof tiles because of their “historical significance and architectural appeal,” he said.

“The roof accents are rare and worth the effort to restore,” he added.

The Janka family are also doing a full replacement of fascia and molding, removing and rebuilding the front porch, rebuilding of a few of the window boxes, replacing any of the rotted wood, doing some masonry work, adding new gutters, and repainting.

Chris and Cindy already replaced the beams supported the porch about a year ago because they were rotting, but they stopped the renovation at that point since they knew they had to do the roof, Chris said.

“We’ve loved it,” Chris said. “We’ve actually always have lived in older homes. The home we moved out of was an older home that was built in 1929 and we had an addition on that house and renovated that house completely as well. We’ve always liked historic homes.

“This house had been on the market for quite some time. When we saw it, we fell in love with it, but it took us about a year to put an offer on it.”

They did some internal work before moving in and right after, including replacing the heat and air system, redid all the electrical and plumbing line, redid the basement, and updating.

Cindy said Central Elementary third graders have to learn about Yukon’s history as part of their curriculum so sometimes they’ve come to tour the home with her permission because she works with Yukon Public Schools.

“It’s just part of their understanding of the history of the community that they live in,” Cindy said.

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