Correction: Killarney Cliffs was once owned by Paul and Ruth Canaday. The original version of this story had the wrong first name for Ruth Canaday.
A few weeks ago, I received an Answer Man question requesting an update on an old stone house off of South Campbell with a magnificent view of the James River.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual message I received and don’t recall the name of the person who asked the question — but I do remember he erroneously thought I had written about this house before. I have not.
The 13.5-acre estate is called Killarney Cliffs. The three-story house was built in 1917. The address is 6405 S. Campbell Ave. It’s across Campbell from what was once Steinert’s Greenhouse & Gardens on West Farm Road 192.
The house is up a winding picturesque road, and the best view is while driving north on South Campbell. It is partially hidden by trees.
The house and grounds — which reportedly includes three caves — were purchased from the Lisa D. Reiser Trust in February 2016 by a company called Killarney Cliffs LLC.
The property also has been called Heercliff. It is outside city limits.
One of the prior owners was Francis Xavier Heer, 1862 to 1949.
In 1886, Heer became president of the Heer Dry Goods Company, which eventually became the Heer’s Department Store, which opened on Park Central Square in 1915.
According to an October 1967 news story in the Springfield Leader and Press, Francis Heer had the home built.
Both the house and the Heer’s building, which now serves as apartment space, are on the National Register of Historic Places.
In that same 1967 story, it stated that Garnette and Emily Lytle had sold the home to Paul and Ruth Canaday. I believe the sale was in 1965.
Emily Lytle operated an antiques shop in the home and raised Dachsunds on the property; her husband Garnette ran restaurants, including “Lytle’s” on Sunshine Street and “Cat and the Fiddle” on Glenstone Avenue.
Paul Canaday was a state representative and president of the Executive Security Life Insurance Company.
The man behind the 2016 purchase is Paul Tillman, a contractor who had plans to do historic development and restoration of the house.
According to online records, it has 16 rooms: including four bedrooms, five full bathrooms and one half-bathroom.
Tillman pulled building permits from Greene County starting in February 2019 to do what he estimated would be $75,000 of renovation work.
The most recent piece of paperwork in the county’s file is dated Feb. 4, 2021.
I did not hear back from Tillman on Friday so I don’t know the status of the renovation.
Tillman told Paul Adler at KY3 in a January 2017 interview that the property could become a bed and breakfast. Tillman said he planned to start renovation in the spring of 2017.
Here are a few of the mentions of the house and estate that appeared over the years in the Springfield News-Leader.
Sept. 27, 2015
For sale. Listed by Patrick Murney. 4 bedrooms. 5 full baths one 1/2 bath. Rustic fieldstone villa. Built in 1917. Kickapoo School District. $499,900.
Jan. 15, 1984
For sale: Killarney Cliffs — California owner is wanting quick sale and will sell this show place worth the money. 3-story stone home, with maids quarters, stable, bunk house, 14 acres. Good river view from most every window.
Dec. 19, 1982
For sale: Springfield’s most talked about home. 3 story fieldstone. $280,000
May 19, 1957
Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ray Kelly.
This is Answer Man column No. 8.