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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Griswold House (T. Heggland photo, 2008)

Griswold House (T. Heggland photo, 2008)

Griswold House, interior detail (T. Heggland photo, 2008)

George Griswold House
146 S. Dickason Blvd., Columbus, Columbia County
Architect: E. D. Baldwin
Construction Dates: 1857-1858

The Griswold House is one of the earliest of Columbus's unusually large number of fine Italianate Style houses. George Griswold's (1816-1891) failing eyesight prevented him from following the profession of law that he had been trained for, so in 1850, at the age of 34, he came to Columbus from New York State and opened a dry goods store. His subsequent success allowed him to bring two of his brothers from New York to join him in business. It also enabled him to build a new house that was one of the finest and largest in Columbus at the time.

Local historians have stated that the design of the house was dictated at least in part by Griswold's desire to have a house like the one he grew up in, as his familiarity with the floor plan would become an asset when his sight declined further. If so, this may help to explain why this house has such a formal, symmetrical design and why it is so different from other Italianate Style houses in Columbus. These are typically more informal in appearance and have asymmetrical designs. Griswold's choice of an architect may also have had a role in dictating his home's appearance. E. D. Baldwin was the first architect known to have established a practice in Columbus. While very little information is available about Baldwin, it is known that he previously had practiced in the eastern United States and in Canada, where he would certainly have been exposed to examples of the Italianate Style that were similar to the one he designed for Griswold. Whatever his reasons may have been, Griswold's choice served him well. Though he became completely blind soon after his house was completed, he and other members of his family continued to live in this house until at least the 1920s.

The Griswold House is private property. Please respect the owners' rights and privacy.

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