There's something totally special about this 1885 house in Mankato, MN. Not simply because it's in the historic and elegant "silk stocking" district of this college town. And not just because it's a charming home from the 19th century.
The Victorian, which sold after just a day on the market, holds a beloved place in the heart of "Betsy-Tacy" book fans everywhere -- it's where the real-life character of Tib lived. "It's quite a home," says listing agent Harold Natvig.
"There's been lots of interest," due to its literary connection. "The young lady who lived there was Tib. It was their family home," he adds.
The books, written by Maud Hart Lovelace, were based on her childhood memories growing up in Mankato. The author drew on characters inspired by her real-life friends, as well as their houses.
Although the property is already pending sale, there were plenty of opinions about it as soon as it hit the market. A fan on the Betsy-Tacy Society Facebook page said, "I was disappointed when you were unable to do so when it was for sale previously. It seems that it SHOULD be added to Betsy's and Tacy's since Tib was the third member of their indomitable friendship."
The society, which holds events to celebrate the series, had previously purchased up the author's childhood home along with the home of her compatriot, Tacy. A fan post added, "I checked the real estate listing with photos; it's a beautiful house."
We agree: it is a beautiful house.
As described in " Betsy-Tacy and Tib," "Tib lived in a chocolate-colored house which was the most beautiful house Betsy and Tacy had ever been in. It had front stairs and back stairs and a tower and panes of colored glass in the front door."
The big front lawn is there along with a huge porch, and the stained glass is intact. Other details include those two staircases, nine-foot ceilings, "elegant original woodwork," and "charm galore," according to the listing description. Light fixtures were salvaged from the local Opera House, according to the agent.
Jacqui Woodwick and her family lived in the home for two decades -- they're selling to retire to Arizona. She says, "I kind of think of it as my home. It's more than that. It's a big piece of Mankato history. It's been great fun." The seller recalls re-enactments of scenes from the books on her porch, home tours, and her own connection with the original kitchen, now the pantry, where she imagines Tib's mother cooking.
Natvig notes that the buyers are history professors with two small children who are "very interested in maintaining the memory of the house and the integrity of the home." He adds, "They recognize that the 1885 home will be a love affair of the future. They're willing to invest in that, which is comforting to know."
Fans of the series may be comforted as well.