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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Strunk House (C. Cartwright photo, 2006)

Strunk House (C. Cartwright photo, 2006)

Strunk House (C. Cartwright photo, 2006)

Strunk House (C. Cartwright photo, 2006)

John and Eleanor Strunk House
2306 North Parker Drive, Town of Janesville, Rock County
Date of construction: 1844

John and Eleanor Strunk were among the early settlers in this area of Rock County, close to where the city of Janesville would develop. Like most early settlers to southern Wisconsin, they were "Yankees" from New York State or New England. Interestingly, John Strunk was descended from pre-Revolutionary War German immigrants. But, by the time he reached this area, he was the third generation of Strunks who had married ethnic British Americans, and the family had become true "Yankees" in lifestyle and tradition.

Many Yankees who came to Wisconsin during the pioneer era were not poor farmers, but middle-class and even wealthy Americans looking for further economic opportunity in the newly opened lands of the Midwest. John and Eleanor Strunk were upper middle class farmers in New York State and after they came to Wisconsin in 1839-40, they used their available capital to start a large farm and, in 1844, to build this elegant farmhouse.

Using limestone from the nearby Chapin quarry, the Strunks hired an expert mason to construct their beautiful stone house. Unlike many early houses where the stones were left rough-finished, the Strunk house's main and south elevations were of smoothly-tooled stone. The east and north elevations, unseen from the public view, were left rough. Other details of this house, including the prominent corner quoins, symmetrical windows, and formal main entrance, reflect the Greek Revival style of the building, a popular style brought to Wisconsin by Yankee immigrants.

The Strunk house remained in the family throughout much of the nineteenth century, largely due to Eleanor Strunk's attachment to the property. Right after their fine house was completed, John Strunk died, leaving Eleanor a widow with small children. Eleanor kept the farm and raised her children. As she got older, and her children had moved off of the farm, Eleanor could have sold the property, but she retained ownership until her death, even after she moved to Minnesota to live with her son in her old age.

The succeeding owners of the farm, and especially the owners of the farmhouse during the mid and late twentieth century, chose to retain most of the details of this historic building, even as they updated it for modern living. This elegant Greek Revival style farmhouse, with its fine stone construction, tells us a lot about early Yankee pioneers who brought American architectural styles and building traditions to the state.

This house is a private residence. Please respect the privacy of the owners.

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