Van Pace and Roger Meyer

100 years ago the landscape of Yankton was much different than it is today but the house of Van Pace and Roger Meyer has stood the test of time. The house, which was first built by the Adams family has stood overlooking the Missouri River through 100 years of floods, winters, summers, the changing landscape of the town, and 3 more owners. John Cimpl did a lot of the updating of the house, such as enclosing the original porch, building the new one that is pushed out further into the yard, and renovating the basement into a hub to throw get-togethers.

The Willcockson’s owned the house next and built the great room which covers the stairs that led directly into the basement from outside.

Finally, Van and Roger moved into the dream home.

Before even stepping foot onto the porch you can see the architecture of the house and the beautiful yard that surrounds it.


From the front of the house you don’t get much of a view of the Missouri, however. The yard is full of plants and trees that make it seem almost like a cozy cottage. The porch is stone and with the windows open is a welcoming spot. The first room you walk into when you enter the house is the entrance hall, which was the original porch during the Adams time.

There is exposed brick which is the original façade of the house and two push doors that are glass with wood detail. While Cimpl is the one who enclosed the porch, Van and Roger are the ones who added in the bathroom and closet. Also in the entrance hall is a print hanging on the wall that commemorates Van’s work after 9/11 for FEMA. Van, who worked for FEMA at this time, worked after the tragedy with procuring grants to help New York recover and repair. There are two doors that lead off from the entrance hall, one leading into the sitting room and one leading into the formal dining room.


The sitting room is part of the original house which is evident in the lovely stonework fireplace. The room also features various items on display of Van’s. Van collects cookbooks and has over 1000 of them and she has read every single one.

She started collecting when she was 19 and started with used cookbooks her family and friends gave her. She then started buying one from every state she has visited and has now started working on collecting one from every country she has been to. In a corner she has various awards and trinkets from her time with FEMA and Homeland Security. Van worked for FEMA but left to work for Homeland Security, where she worked for 7 years up to her retirement. Off to the side is the sunroom which not only lets in the sun but the first glimpse of the beautiful view of the Missouri River. Van and Roger updated the room by giving it access to a guest room.

On the other side of the sitting room is the formal dining room, which is also a part of the original house. The dining set Van and Roger currently have is from Van’s college days. She bought it 40 years ago and only paid $60. It has survived moves and various houses. A lot of the artwork throughout the house was painted by Van’s children, which gives it a more personal feel. Though the house is 100 years old there are numerous places for storage. In the dining room there are cupboards built underneath the window to hold dishes Van collects and table cloths. Also on display in the dining room is a block of tea that Roger and Van bought. In colonial times this block of tea would have been used as a form of money.


A butler pantry leads you into the kitchen. The butler pantry offers even more storage, all wood and original. There are serving trays the butlers would use to make it easier to reach even the dishes in the back. Van and Roger gutted the kitchen and modernized it, as the way it was originally set up didn’t give it an ease of use. Even though it was updated the floor remains original. They used flooring from under the sink to blend in to keep it all the same. The floors that are still original vary between red and white oak. Hanging over the breakfast nook in the kitchen is a chandelier that is 300 years old that Van found at a sale and only paid $50 for. She has the original sales receipt that proves its age. The kitchen opens into the great room, which at one time would have been the back yard but was added on during the Willcockson’s time. The entire south side of the room is windows which has a gorgeous view of the river but also offers a breeze and a ton of natural light. There is still some of the original façade in the room as one wall is still the original brick. There is even still a window that is used as a shelf.


Van and Roger have a picture of the way the house originally looked in 1916. Above the bar hangs a picture from the 1916 flood where you can see the house with the rising waters.

Off the great room is the master bathroom and master bedroom. Van and Roger gutted the bathroom and installed a walk-in shower and new bathtub as well as 42 inch sinks.

The bedroom hasn’t been updated but they do have an interesting bed.

The bedroom set is 37 years old and the bed is actually what is called a Paul Bunyan bed. A Paul Bunyan bed is like a four-poster bed, except there are 6 posts instead of four. It’s a massive wood detailed frame that is still the size of a king-sized bed.

Van and Roger haven’t updated or renovated anything upstairs yet, however it does hold Van’s favorite room, one of their guest rooms. The view upstairs from the south side of the house is outstanding as well, and upstairs also holds Roger’s office. Roger is a postmark collector and likes to collect postmarks from all the states. He has several states already completed and is working on more. Collecting postmarks is gathering postmarks from different states, but Roger also will go take a photo of the post office the postmark comes from.

Just like upstairs, there hasn’t been much updating in the basement but it is technically an apartment except there are not enough windows and can’t be used as one. The basement features a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and a bar. There are also several closets which would make anyone with a lot of clothes very happy. The basement was considered Cimpl’s party room as the stairwell led in from outside so his friends would not have to go through the house to get down there. The pool table of Cimpl’s is still down there. A unique find in the overflow bedroom is a reindeer that Roger went 50 miles out of his way in a blizzard to get for Van. As for the little updating that has been done, a few months after Van and Roger moved into the house the sewer went out as it was still the original sewer line which was pipe iron. They had to replace the carpet and fix the ceiling.

Off the great room is the deck that wraps around the south side of the house, offering a fantastic view of the river and a great space to sit.

Off the deck on the west side of the house is the patio area, which Roger and Van updated. The patio area is perfect for entertaining, something Van and Roger both love to do. The backyard is also full of various plants; when they moved to Yankton they brought 300 plants and all of them took to the new soil. The plants were brought in two phases and Van made sure to spray them so no bugs were brought with.

Van and Roger have lived in their dream home for 6 years now, but they searched for this home for 3 years. Roger is originally from Tyndall and the pair knew they wanted to live on a bluff overlooking the river.

Yankton provides just that as well as the closeness to Roger’s hometown.

Working for FEMA, Van saw a lot of houses on bluffs where the bluff eroded or another natural disaster struck and the house was ruined, so they wanted to make sure the house wasn’t too close to the bluff but also that the bluff wasn’t too eroded. Van believes they looked at pretty much every house on the bluff before this one became available.

The house never actually went on the market; the Willcockson’s knew they were looking and that they had seen the house before and asked if they were interested. The three years of looking were well worth the house they got in the end.