On the Same Page: Historic Homes of Sauk County at RPL

Reedsburg Public Library staff

The Hackett House in Reedsburg was built in 1878 by local builder Edward Hackett. (Submitted photo)

Recent visitors to the Reedsburg Public Library may have noticed the beautiful photos of local historic residences on display in the Community Room. On Tuesday, May 23, Paul Wolter, executive director of the Sauk County Historical Society will present the program, Historic Homes of Sauk County, at 6 p.m. at the library. There is no registration or fee to attend the program.

In his slide show presentation, Wolter will detail the history and architectural style of thirty Sauk County homes that were photographed by architectural photographer Eric Oxendorf. Oxendorf’s career has taken him around the world, but he became interested in the homes of Sauk County while residing in Baraboo. An exhibit was formed under the direction of Carol Kratochwill of Luna Bay Art Studio in Merrimac, with the historical research and exhibit text provided by Wolter. The exhibit was funded by the Wisconsin Architects Foundation and supported by the Sauk County Historical Society.

Several of the properties to be discussed are ones that area residents probably pass on their travels every day. Reedsburg’s iconic Perry House, the large white two-story with fluted columns on Main Street, will be one of the featured homes as well as the Hackett House. Wolter explains that this home was built in 1878 by Edward Hackett, a local builder who designed his own house. After the railroad arrived in 1872, Reedsburg experienced a building boom, and Hackett owned a factory that made doors, windows and moldings. The home is designed in the High Victorian Gothic style and, according to the local newspaper of the time, “it abounds in steeples.”

Wolter remarks that his college courses in architectural history provided context for what could be seen locally in Sauk County, but the history of a home goes far beyond its style. In his research, Wolter asks, “When was it built and for whom? What does the style say about the owners or the times? Did local conditions affect how it was built?” The thirty homes in the recent exhibit certainly have stories to tell!

If you would like to do your own research on the history of a Reedsburg home or business, go to the website Recollection Wisconsin and “browse by partner.” Reedsburg Public Library hosts the “Reedsburg Intensive Survey” collection on this website. The survey, conducted by the city and numerous volunteers in 1984, identified several properties of historical or architectural significance. Search “Stolte Hotel” to find an example of the information that can be found on the survey.

If you have questions about any library service or program, call the library at 608-768-READ (7323) or email info@reedsburglibrary.org.