The Potters’ main living room is a perfect place to enjoy domestic comfort. But its arched ceiling serves as a reminder that this space was once a hopping, bebopping ballroom.
The weather—and especially the Kansas wind—takes a toll on outdoor plantings. For this reason, Treva recently switched to silk plants. Now she enjoys the skyline and a weatherproof garden.
“I had live flowers here for about 10 years,” explains the rooftop gardener. “But we have so much wind and so much sun, it became so much work.” She does, however, create some gardening work for herself by changing the artificial plants in correspondence with the season. By late fall, the geraniums will give way to holly and shrubs with autumn color. Though she didn’t necessarily envision the garden, Treva had long dreamed of living in a high-rise apartment. “A penthouse, actually,” clarifies Treva. “When I was a child, I wanted to live in a New York penthouse. I was influenced by the glamorous image from the movies.” It’s not New York, but Manhattan is just up the road, and Treva has grown to love her home’s view and unique history— including its own fair share of glamour. Now owned by CoreFirst Bank & Trust, the Kansan Hotel opened in 1924, and the Potters’ top-floor space was the former Roof Garden ballroom and restaurant. The ballroom was still standing when rock legend Elvis Presley came to Topeka, rented the hotel’s entire ninth floor and, as the story goes some decades later, charmed a gaggle of young, screaming fans who had arrived at the ballroom for a dance that night. The apartment’s high, arched ceiling is all that remains of the former ballroom. In 1966, the hotel’s top six floors were converted to apartments. But the venue lives on strongly in memories and stories throughout Topeka.
TOPEKAMAGAZINE Spring 2009