Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

914 N BEQUETTE ST

Architecture and History Inventory
914 N BEQUETTE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Old Rock School
Other Name:Peter J. and Laurel A. Lang House
Contributing:
Reference Number:16187
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):914 N BEQUETTE ST
County:Iowa
City:Dodgeville
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1853
Additions:
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:one to six room school
Architectural Style:Side Gabled
Structural System:
Wall Material:Limestone
Architect:
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Old Rock School
National Register Listing Date:12/18/1978 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
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, State Historic Preservation Office. ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE:

THE OLD ROCK SCHOOL IS SIGNIFICANT AS AN EXAMPLE OF NINETEENTH CENTURY CORNISH MASONRY WORK INDIGENOUS TO THE DODGEVILLE AREA. THE BUILDER AND MASON, THOMAS CARKEEK, AN IMMIGRANT FROM CORNWALL, PARTICIPATED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF "NEARLY EVERY OTHER CONSIDERABLE BUILDING" IN THE REGION INCLUDING THE IOWA COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND JAIL. THE SCHOOL HOUSE'S RESTORATION, SENSITIVELY HANDLED, MAKES IT A FINE EXAMPLE OF ONE OF DODGEVILLE'S LIMESTONE MASONRY BUILDINGS BUILT IN THE 1850S.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

DODGEVILLE'S "FORMAL" EDUCATIONAL HISTORY BEGINS IN 1849 WITH THE ORGANIZATION OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE ELECTION OF A SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. PREVIOUS TO THAT TIME VARIOUS "SCHOOL ROOMS" WERE RENTED IN PRIVATE RESIDENCES AND LATER IN THE TOWN HOTEL. AS THE CITY PROSPERED IN THE FOLLOWING YEARS, MORE ADEQUATE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES WERE REQUIRED. IN 1853 AFTER THE VILLAGE WAS DIVIDED INTO TWO SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, THE FIRST PERMANENT SCHOOL BUILDINGS WERE CONSTRUCTED. THE OLD ROCK SCHOOL AND THE GROVE SCHOOL (DEMOLISHED IN 1898 AFTER SERVING AS THE FIRST ST. JOSEPH'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, SEE C. 303 E. WALNUT ST., 45/36) EXISTED INDEPENDENTLY, SERVING A TOTAL OF 226 CHILDREN OF SCHOOL AGE.

THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, DODGEVILLE'S ECONOMIC BASE EXPERIENCED A TRANSISTION FROM MINING TO AGRICULTURE AS RICHER ACCESSIBLE ORE WAS EXHAUSTED AND THE PRICE OF LEAD BECAME UNSTABLE. THE CONCOMITANT GROWTH OF THE VILLAGE BROUGHT ABOUT THE ADDITION OF A HIGH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT TO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. IN 1864 THROUGH AN ACTION OF THE TOWN BOARD, THE TWO SCHOOL DISTRICTS WERE UNITED. THE ROCK AND GROVE SCHOOLS HOUSED THE PRIMARY AND INTERMEDIATE LEVELS AND SPACE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL WAS RENTED IN THE TOWN HALL. IN LESS THAN TWENTY YEARS, ENROLLMENTS DOUBLED AND FURTHER SCHOOL EXPANSION WAS NECCESSARY. THE OLD ROCK SCHOOL, IN USE UNTIL THE WINTER OF 1881-1882, WAS SOLD AT PUBLIC AUTION TO DEFRAY COSTS OF CONSTRUCTION FOR THE NEW FACILITY.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

THE SCHOOL'S STATUS, AS THE ONLY REMAINING PERMANENT SCHOOL HOUSE OF THE TWO BUILT IN 1853, MAKES IT SIGNIFICANT TO THE EDUCATIONAL HISTORY OF THE DODGEVILLE AREA.

DESCRIPTION:

A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FORMER SCHOOL BUILDING IS INCLUDED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATION FORM. THE TWO-STORY STRUCTURE IS FRONT GABLED IN STYLE, RECTANGULAR IN PLAN, AND HAS A GABLE ROOF. THE FORMER SCHOOL, NOW A PRIVATE RESIDENCE, IS CONSIDERED TO BE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.
Bibliographic References:B. WALKING TOUR OF HISTORIC DODGEVILLE, WISCONSIN, DODGEVILLE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION, 1995.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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