Stowell House work moves forward in Delavan
Upcoming fundraisers for the Israel Stowell House include:
-- 4:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, at the Delavan Culver's, 1931 E. Geneva St., Delavan. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Israel Stowell House.
-- 8-11 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Israel Stowell House, 61-65 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan. Drop off your aluminum cans for recycling.
To help with the restoration, send a check to the Delavan Historical Society, P.O. Box 746, Delavan, WI 53115. Please put "For the Temperance House" in the memo line.
DELAVAN In 1840, Samuel and Henry Phoenix hired Israel Stowell to build the architectural foundations of a dream.
The Phoenixes dreamed of creating a temperance colony, a progressive, alcohol-free, Christian community. At the center of this dream was a gathering place: a hotel and meeting point for like-minded people.
For the past two years, a group of volunteers have been working to save remains of that dream, the Israel Stowell House.
Two fundraisers are coming up to help the work continue.
Progress has been made on the house, said Patti Marsicano, president of the Delavan Historical Society.
The society is working with an architectural preservation firm to do a sustainability study and a historic report.
The feasibility study will look at the area's demographics and consider what the building could be used for in the future.
"You can't just do all the work on the building, pat yourself on the back and say you're done," Marsicano said. "It needs to be sustained."
Part of the building might be used for a museum or as part of the historical society.
"There's all sorts of ideas that have been thrown around," she said.
Renting part of the building for office or retail space might be a possibility.
Parking would be available behind the building, making it even more attractive.
The historic report will detail a more in-depth history of the house, including details such as how the rooms were used, design details and construction styles.
The study and the report are stepping stones to bigger things.
"If you want to apply for grants for larger amounts, you have to show that you've done your homework," Marsicano said.
In the meantime, volunteers have been working on cleaning up the appearance of the building and the surrounding area while fundraising continues.
It hasn't been easy.
"These are tough economic times," Marsicano said.
But the work is worth it, she said.
"This is the last temperance house in the state," Marsicano said. "Without this house, there would no longer be a physical representation of the temperance movement in this state."