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W1420 State HWY 59 | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

W1420 State HWY 59

National or State Register of Historic Places
W1420 State HWY 59 | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Knapp-Calkins Farmstead
Reference Number:100003061
Location (Address):W1420 State HWY 59
Knapp-Calkins Farmstead
W1420 State Highway 59, Town of Palmyra, Jefferson County, Wisconsin
Date of Construction: 1850

Albertus Knapp was a pioneer settler in Jefferson County who became a prominent dairy and sheep farmer in the area. He was born in Monroe County, New York and came with his family to the Delavan area of Walworth County, Wisconsin in 1838 as a 16-year-old. When he was 20, he came to Jefferson County and in 1843 and 1844, he purchased the land around this farmstead. He married Polly Duncan, who was from a pioneer Palmyra area family, in 1844, and the couple settled on their new 160-acre farm.

The Knapps originally built a log cabin on their farm, and a few years later, they built a four-room house on roughly the footprint of the rear ell of the existing Italianate house. This four-room house was greatly enlarged and remodeled in 1881 and has largely retained this appearance until today.

Outbuildings on the Knapp-Calkins farmstead were added as Albertus Knapp and the later Calkins family changed and expanded their farm operations during the mid- to late-nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century. Three generations of the Calkins family added additional buildings and remodeled existing outbuildings primarily during the twentieth century.

The Calkins family took over the farmstead when Adella Knapp married Charles Calkins. Charles Calkins was already a successful operator of cheese factories in the area and he continued to operate the factories along with maintaining the successful Knapp farm. Della and Charles Calkins owned the farm during the era when dairying significantly expanded, resulting in the construction of a second basement barn, built for use as a dairy barn.

Della and Charles had one child in 1891, Edward H. Calkins, who continued to operate the farm and the Calkins’ cheese factories into the twetieth century. He and his wife, Mary Jane, had one child in 1929, Stewart E. Calkins. Stewart Calkins and his wife, Carol Pierce Calkins, began operating the farm in the mid-20th century and actively farmed until 1987. Their important contributions to the farmstead included modernizing and expanding the dairy barn to include an updated milking parlor and building a large modern metal pole building to store equipment. However, as the fourth generation of the Knapp-Calkins family occupying this farm, Stewart and Carol Calkins also maintained both the house and the historic outbuildings in as much of their original appearance as possible.

Carol Calkins still resides on the farmstead and maintains both the house and farm buildings while renting out the farmland to other farmers.

Period of Significance:1860-1950
Period of Significance:1881
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Art
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Domestic: Single Dwelling
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Storage
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Animal Facility
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Agricultural Outbuildings
Architectural Style:Italianate
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:10/29/2018
State Register Listing Date:08/17/2018
Number of Contributing Buildings:7
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:2
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:2
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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