Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
63 E WALWORTH AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Israel Stowell Temperance House
Other Name:Old Delavan Book Co.
Reference Number:10075
Location (Address):63 E WALWORTH AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1840
Additions:C. 1900
Survey Date:1994
Historic Use:hotel/motel
Architectural Style:Greek Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Clapboard
Architect:Israel Stowell
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Stowell, Israel, Temperance House
National Register Listing Date:8/11/1978 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History.

Built by Samuel and Henry Phoenix.

Simple, almost severe, this clapboard building seems to bespeak moral resolve. And rightly so: the people who built the Stowell House were evangelical Baptist reformers, members of the Delavan Temperance Colony, precursor to the town of Delavan. Colony founders Henry and Samuel Phoenix came from upstate New York, a region swept by enthusiastic religious revivals in the early 1830s, as migration from New York to Wisconsin began. The Phoenix brothers, bringing their religious fervor with them in 1836, saw Wisconsin as a place to build a new society free from the evils of alcohol and slavery. They selected a 4,000-acre tract where a road from Racine crossed Turtle Creek, marked its boundaries by painting “Temperance Colony” on the trees, and christened it “Delavan” after a fellow temperance activist.

In 1840, the brothers helped one of their colonists, Israel Stowell, capitalize and build a temperance house, or alcohol-free tavern. Side-gabled and five bays long, the original building is made of oak and walnut timbers, joined by mortises and tenons. Built in the classic saltbox form, the rear eaves slope down, making the inn two stories tall in front and only one in back. Two of the original twelve-over-eight windows survive upstairs. Soon after finishing the inn, Stowell added a three-bay wing to the east, identical to the original in profile and design. Later additions included a front-gable section on the inn’s far west end, a section with a doorway on the east end, and a bay window in front, attached about 1900.

The temperance house operated for less than a decade. By the late 1840s, the Phoenix brothers had died, reform fervor cooled, and non-colonists began settling in Delavan. The secularization of the community was certain when the Stowell House’s new owner began serving alcohol.
Bibliographic References:Delavan Enterprise 5/27/1998. Sanborn Perris maps. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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