Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
156 N ADAMS AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Sarah and DeWitt C. Benham House
Other Name:Chris and Rebecca Jenkinson House
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:48916
Location (Address):156 N ADAMS AVE
County:Green Lake
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1858
Survey Date:1991
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:1
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Nathan Strong Park Historic District
National Register Listing Date:5/10/2005
State Register Listing Date:1/21/2005
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. This structure contributes to the significance of the Nathan Strong Park Historic District under criterion C as an outstanding example of a grand early Italianate bracketed villa. This magnificently preserved brick villa with its abundant and bold bracketed trim at the eaves, on the bay windows and the porch is one of the finest houses of its kind in Berlin. The richly trimmed belvedere on the roof is especially notable. The early date of the house is corroborated by the floor length windows on the first floor and the pedimented Late Greek Revival window caps. This house is another manifestation of the high quality houses built during the town's founding period by pioneer settlers seeking to manifest a sense of permanence and prosperity in their buildings. At the rear of the house is a curious 1920s frame garage with brackets and a cupola intended to relate to the design of the house. These elements were probably salvaged from the carriage house that probably previously stood on the grounds.

This house was built in 1858 for DeWitt C. Benham and his wife Sara, the daughter of Thomas Noyes. Mr. Benham was the first lawyer in town and his office was in the rear of Shumway and Parson's Store.

In 1861, the house was sold because Mr. Benham enlisted in the Civil War. He became a lieutenant but had to resign in 1862 due to poor health. The next owner of the house, Stillman Wright, moved to Berlin with his wife in 1853 from New York. He built and operated a hotel and he was also a carpenter. In 1868, he invested in a flour mill and became the sole owner in the late 1880s. Mrs. Wright died in 1875 and Mr. Wright was re-married in 1877 to Charlotte Pier Swetting. By 1888 the flour mill was one of the largest and most modern in the state. Mr. Wright turned over the mill to his sons in 1901 and died two years later in 1903. His wife lived in the house until 1922 and the house was sold to Frank D. Chapman in 1923.

Mr. Chapman moved to Berlin in 1910 and he was initially an engineer in charge of the construction of a condensery for the Carnation Milk Company. A year later he worked for the Schaeffer Manufacturing Company which built marine engines for river boats. The next job he held was designing and manufacturing concrete mixer and sterilizers and later a variety of different canning machines. In 1923 the name of the company became the Berlin Chapman Company. During World War Two the plant made ship condensers and shell and tube heat exchangers. Mr. Chapman retired in 1944 from the business. He died in 1968 and the house was sold to Roger Field, who purchased a pharmacy in Berlin.
Bibliographic References:(A) "A House on 'Piety Hill'," Berlin Journal, April 21, 1966, p. 19. (B) "New Owners of 114-Year Old Home Greeted by Moose, Bear Heads," Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, March 3, 1969, p. 21. (C) Gillett, pp. 28-30. (D) Title Search. Markesan Regional Reporter 6/14/2001.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, 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".