Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
SILVER CREEK RD | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Captain Alexander A. Arnold Farm (Mary)
Other Name:Eastside FARM
Reference Number:16448
Location (Address):SILVER CREEK RD
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:NE
Quarter/Quarter Section:SW
Year Built:1874
Survey Date:1977
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Arnold, Capt. Alexander A., Farm
National Register Listing Date:3/21/1978 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 State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. The barn to the east of the main house is the only barn with a mansard roof in Trempealeau County. There are outbuildings to the north and south of the barn. BOTH ARNOLDS DIED IN THE HOUSE.

Trempealeau County’s early history reads like a literary epic: a series of encounters, often violent, among Dakotas and Ho-Chunks and explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and military men from France, Britain, and the young United States. With American rule came steamboats, speculators, and the systematic removal of Native Americans. After the organization of Trempealeau County in 1854, its history became a story of farm-building, beginning in the county’s far southern end in the prairies and valleys nearest the river towns.

Here, where Silver Creek gushes into the Beaver, Alexander Arnold established his farm in 1857. A wealthy migrant from the Hudson River Valley, he became a Civil War hero and state legislator, but above all he played a key role in the county’s agricultural history. During the robust wheat-growing days of the 1860s, Arnold introduced mechanical harvesting equipment to the area and rented it to neighbors. He wrote articles on the latest farm techniques, helped found the local agricultural society, spearheaded a railroad to link the county’s farms into a wider market, and even donated land for the county fair. When soil depletion, insect infestations, and competition from the Great Plains competition ravaged wheat growers in the late 1870s, Arnold encouraged local cooperatives and pushed for crop diversification, helping nudge Trempealeau County toward its early-twentieth-century rebirth as a dairy region.

Arnold’s original four-hundred-acre farm has shrunk, but his farmstead, set on a rise in gently rolling terrain, remains intact. Its most prominent structure is the two-story red-brick Italianate house Arnold built in 1874. A low hipped roof covers the central core, and a three-story tower with a bellcast mansard pierces and echoes the front facade. Several verandas once surrounded the first story, but today there are just two smaller porches, neither original.

The farmstead’s other nineteenth-century structures include a stone icehouse veneered with soft brick, a V-shaped corncrib with a cantilevered roof, and a two-and-one-half-story barn. The barn’s rough stone basement, housing cattle stalls, was built into a steep bank (thus the term “bank barn”), opening onto a pasture on the east side. The barn’s unusual mansard roof has flared eaves, which ingeniously allow for a larger loft. Gabled dormers still light the loft, but the large cupola that once crowned the roof is gone.

Covenant/Easement: From 2/23/1984 to 2/23/1989. A 'covenant file' exists for this property. It may contain additional information such as photos, drawings and correspondence. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office.
Bibliographic References:LACROSSE TRIBUNE 10/2/1996. GALESVILLE REPUBLICAN 4/28/1994. EAU CLAIRE COUNTRY TODAY 8/7/1996. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the record you were looking for, or have other questions about historic preservation, please email us and we can help:

If you have an update, correction, or addition to a record, please include this in your message:

  • AHI number
  • Information to be added or changed
  • Source information

Note: When providing a historical fact, such as the story of a historic event or the name of an architect, be sure to list your sources. We will only create or update a property record if we can verify a submission is factual and accurate.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".