412 S. Eighth St.
Judge Egbert E. Aylesworth
This relatively unchanged Dutch Colonial house was built c.1891 for Judge Egbert Aylesworth who practiced law in Council Bluffs for more than 40 years, except for 12 years on the bench.
Judge Aylesworth was born in 1838 in Milford, New York, a descendant of one of the old New England families. His grandfather, Benjamin Aylesworth, was born in 1791 in Pownal, Vermont, and moved to Milford, where he farmed, and where his son, John, and grandson, Egbert, were born.
Egbert received his primary education in Milford, attended Hartwick Seminary in Otsego, New York, and completed his studies at Delaware Literary Institute in Franklin, New York, in 1860. He returned to Milford where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1863. He continued to practice law there for the next three years.
On Sept. 20, 1864, he married Marcella Winsor, a native of Otsego County. Egbert and Marcella moved to Council Bluffs in 1866, where he opened an office and practiced law for the next 40 years, except for his years as superior court judge.
He was elected to the position of city attorney in 1874 and again in 1876, serving all four years. In March of 1882, he was elected judge of the superior court and remained on the bench for 12 years, according to H.H. Field’s “History of Pottawattamie County”. He retired in 1894 from that position and returned to private practice.
Judge Aylesworth served on the city council and the board of education. He was an active member of the Elks and the Eagles. He and Marcella were members of the Episcopal church. They had three sons and one daughter.
The Aylesworths occupied several homes in the South Eighth Street neighborhood. The house around the corner at 812 Fifth Ave. was built for Judge Aylesworth in 1874 and later became the home of Sheriff James O’Neill, featured in this column on Oct. 11, 2015.
The nationwide depression of 1893-1898 brought economic upheaval across the country. The Aylesworths lost the property at 412 S. Eighth St. — where they had built the new house in 1891 — twice during the 1890s, and Marcella bought it back in 1899. They are last listed in the city directory in 1911.
They moved back to their home town in Milford where Judge Aylesworth died in 1918 and Marcella in 1924. They are buried in Pinegrove Cemetery in Milford.
The recent South Eighth Street’s survey describes the house as “an unusual side-gabled Dutch Colonial-style resting on a rock-faced brick foundation, clad in narrow clapboard siding on the first story and Masonite or similar hardboard siding on the second story (possibly replacing original wood shingle siding). Its gambrel roof is covered in composition shingles. An unusual feature of the house is its use of close eaves on the gambrel ends”.
The first story of the front (east) façade has a recessed entry on the north and a shallow three-sided cutaway window on the south. Two gable-roofed dormers are located on the front façade. The posts, railing and deck of the porch are modern.
The nomination concludes that the house retains it essential features identifying it as an early 20th century Dutch Colonial-Revival–style residence. The South Eighth Street district nomination has been submitted and is in the process of applying for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
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