Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

714 Broadway St.

National or State Register of Historic Places
714 Broadway St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Bowman House
Reference Number:86000621
Location (Address):714 Broadway St.
City/Village:Wisconsin Dells
Bowman House
714 Broadway Street, Wisconsin Dells, Columbia County
Date of Construction: 1904

Architecture in the United States underwent a dramatic change at the turn of the twentieth century. The period saw the emergence of the Prairie Style, spearheaded by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Bowman House in Wisconsin Dells is an early example of the style. Prairie style was prevalent throughout the Midwest, and an early example of this is the Bowman House in Wisconsin Dells.

Built by Abram and Alberta Bowman in 1904, the Bowman House has many features of the Prairie style, including a long horizontal appearance, low-pitched roof, and wide eaves. This was a drastic departure from the more traditional Victorian styles of the period, focusing on an open floor plan and a strong horizontal emphasis. Although the Bowman House has no known architect, Abram and Alberta Bowman may have copied or adapted elements of the Prairie Style from published designs.

Abram Bowman, son of State Assemblyman and Senator Jonathan Bowman, was a successful banker and real estate businessman, though inhibited by failing health throughout his career. He died shortly after the house’s completion in 1907, and his widow sold the house to Abram’s two unmarried sisters, Emma and Jennie Bowman. When Jennie Bowman died in 1934, she left the house as a memorial to her father Jonathan Bowman, requesting that the house be turned into a free vacation home for working women over 45, called the Jonathan Bowman Home for Women. Thus the memory of Abram Bowman was overshadowed by that of his father, a man who had died before the house was even built.

The vacation home operated until 1977, when it was turned over to the city and eventually made into a museum by the Dells Country Historical Society, which opens the house to the public on a regular basis during the summer season. The house and adjacent park are well-kept by the Society, and the Bowman house continues as an example of the early Prairie style. Further information about the Dells Country Historical Society and the Bowman House Museum can be found at: website.

Period of Significance:1900-1924
Area of Significance:Architecture
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Domestic: Single Dwelling
Architectural Style:Prairie School
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:04/03/1986
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
Number of Contributing Buildings:2
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
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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