MISSOULA — The “Under Contract” sign now hangs in front of the John R. Toole home, also known as the Kappa Kappa Gamma house, located in the heart of Missoula’s University District.
The sorority decided it had to sell the house, but wanted assurances whoever bought it to keep it, maintain it or even restore it to its vintage splendor. That’s exactly what's going to happen.
Peter Davis recently poured over the many dog-eared yet intricate plans of the Toole Mansion that etched out the specs of this historic home — a home he and his wife Susan plan to restore.
"We live a couple of blocks away; we drive by or walk by or drive by every day and we thought there’s no way we’re going to let this go. If we can be the successful buyer, then we’re going to try to do it. It was an easy decision, let us try to save this place,” Peter said.
Peter and Susan Davis — who own the Missoula Paddleheads baseball team — have always admired the stately house. And then one day, a for sale sign showed up.
"'Wow, look what's available now.' And I said, 'you're kidding?' It was a very quick decision," Peter said.
They plan to restore the home to what it was back in the early 1900s when it was built. The first step will be fixing the exterior and then comes work on the inside.
In the meantime, there will be young men -- baseball players-- instead of young sorority women living in his home. The house will accommodate some of the Paddlehead players and staff who come to Missoula for the summer as they wait to be placed with local families.
"A great opportunity for us to have the people we can’t place in adopt a Paddlehead — homes we can have them stay here,” Peter said. “So, between the two it solves the short-term problem for the baseball team.”
The Davis’ plan to work with historic preservation experts as they make their repairs with an eye toward history and a foot firmly in the past, honoring the legacy of not just the Toole family -- but the Kappas as well.
“And so, we want to make it as true to what it was when the Toole's built it as we can and so we want to work with the historical people and honor all those things. And the Toole family -- I understand there are some still alive -- so we want to honor those, too. And so, we want to be as true to what it was originally in 1915 as we can.” - Peter Davis
Susan’s long-term plan is to create a nonprofit to help empower underprivileged women through classes or even communal living at the home.
Meantime, people who would like to open their home to a Missoula Paddlehead player can visit https://www.milb.com/missoula/team/adopt-a-paddlehead