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Architecture and History Inventory
612 E MAIN ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Edward M. Hackett House
Other Name:Aaron Powell and Jean Meier House
Reference Number:61156
Location (Address):612 E MAIN ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1878
Survey Date:1977
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:High Victorian Gothic
Structural System:
Wall Material:Clapboard
Architect:Edward M. Hackett
Other Buildings On Site:1
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Hackett, Edward M., House
National Register Listing Date:12/26/1984
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:Multiple Resources of Reedsburg
Additional Information:The Edward M. Hackett house is a two story, clapboard sided High Victorian Gothic residence with a tower. The building has an irregular plan that approximates a rectangular one. The gable roofs are steeply pitched and covered with asphalt shingles. The rear section of the house is one story, with a one story screened in porch on the south side. Asphalt shingles cover the multi-gabled roof and a two and one half story tower with a pyramidal shaped roof. The tower, facing north, also has a dormer with a pyramidal roof, topped with finals, as is the gable roof. Bargeboards with a leaf-like pattern ornament the gables. Similarly patterned woodwork is on the triangular shaped heads that cover the paired second story windows in the gables. The windows themselves have arched heads, as do those on the bay windows and those on the first floor of the house. One second story window has a flat head. The bay windows on the north and west sides have brackets and sawn woodwork with a quatrefoil pattern below the cornice.

The main entry is through a porch on the northeast section of the front facade. The porch has a mansard roof, bracketed columns and ornamental lattice work under the cornice. The double doors have an overlight above them. A later addition (post 1977) to the entry is a wooden enclosure built under the porch to keep out cold air. There are entries on the south and west sides also. A wood water table and a concrete wash foundation delineate the basement section. An 1893 drawing of this house demonstrates that the house has had few exterior alterations. Iron cresting was on the roof ridges and the tower roof had a diamond, shingle and fishscale pattern that could have been slate or wood. Shutters were on all windows and the foundation was faced with brick. (See Bib. Ref. C). It is not clear from the drawing if the west side box bay window was there or was added later, although stylistically it is similar to the front bay window. Although now painted white, the house had a "judicious selection of colors" when painted by Sheasby Brothers of Madison in 1878. (See Bib. Ref. E). The "Reedsburg Free Press" also noted that it "abounds in steeples" and would become a welcome addition to the "already fine residence neighborhood." (See Bib. Ref. I).

Most of the interior woodwork is oak. The door and window moldings are wide and very thick with ogee curves. There is a parlor, dining area, kitchen and bedroom and bath on the first floor. There were pocket doors between the parlor and dining area (which are now gone). Lattice-like woodwork (now stored in the barn) ornamented this opening. A beveled glass door leads to the parlor from the hallway. Many of the corners in the house are curved rather than angular. The dining area fireplace and mantle are made of mottled Kentucky marble and were added in 1882. (See Bib. Ref. D). The kitchen has been modernized. On the east side of the first story is a walnut staircase with a sharp turn near the second story. Two of the bedrooms on this story have vaulted ceilings.

South of the house is a barn or carriage house of two and one half stories. (According to a map of the property, the carriage house is located to the north of the residence). The carriage house was built in the early twentieth century and has a gable roof, two-over-two windows and sandstone and wood exterior building material and is included in the nominated property.

Architectural/Engineering Significance:

The E. M. Hackett house is an outstanding local example of High Victorian Gothic design. It is the only house of this style in Reedsburg and has most of its integrity intact. Designed by Hackett as his own residence, it is characterized by its steeply pitched roofline, tower and ornamental woodwork. Its hilltop location lends it visual importance or prominence in the Main Street residential neighborhood where it is located. The excellence of design degree and high degree of integrity of this house gives it local architectural significance.

E. M. Hackett was a prominent local lumber company owner, builder and architect whose style was imitated by other designers. This residence, one of his early designs, is the best known representation of this work and is significant for its association with a locally prominent architect.

Historical Background:

Edward M. Hackett came to Reedsburg in 1874 and went into business with William Dierks, a local builder. They had a sash, door and blind factory. (See Bib. Ref. H). He laid the foundation for this house in the winter of 1877 and commenced building the next spring. At this time, he was a partner in Hackett & Buckley, a building firm.

In 1881, Hackett was a partner (with Keith & Kellogg) in the Building & Lumber Company. In 1882, the Building & Lumber Company (also called Reedsburg Building & Lumber Company) consisted of Hackett and a man named Henderson. An 1886 ad stated that he was an architect and a member of the Building & Lumber Company that also did interior wood finishes and had contracts for work in "no less than three states." (See Bib. Ref. J). The company went through many name and ownership changes and no longer exists, although what is now Phillips Home Center absorbed a much later version of the company. Hackett's name as an architect and builder occurred frequently in the "Reedsburg Free Press" when new buildings were mentioned, but many of these structures are gone or their location cannot be determined. Sometimes Reedsburg Building & Lumber is noted as the builder, on such a building as the City Hotel, an individually nominated property at 125 Main Street (SK 9/4), but whether Hackett was the designer of the building being mentioned or just part of the building team is not known. In addition to his own house, he is known to have designed Charles Sheldon's house in 1880 at 339 South Pine Street (significantly altered) and the Free Press building, a pivotal building in the Main Street Commercial Historic District, in 1889 at 272 Main Street. He did the plans and elevations for the Mason's Hall/Hagenah Block in 1880 (now part of 201 Main Street and significantly altered). Hackett and Buckley were the carpenters and builders for N. W. Sallade's drugstore at 237 Main Street, although S. V. Shipman of Chicago was the Architect. In 1892, Frank Howland of the Building & Lumber Company had designed a house at 311 Third Street and the newspaper noted he "belongs to the Hackett class of architect, and throws a good many original ideas into his plans." (See Bib. Ref. K). Another house on East Main Street, since gone or altered beyond recognition, had a tower added to it that was built to resemble the 1878 Hackett House. (See Bib. Ref. L).

Hackett sold his residence to Joseph L. Green in 1882 for $3,000. (See Bib. Ref. G). Green was living in Rudd's Mills and was soon to buy Kellogg's flour mill in Reedsburg (in partnership with J. G. Heaton) and move here. He was born in Cairo, Greene County, New York and came to Racine, Wisconsin in 1843. In 1848, he was in Reedsburg working for David C. Reed (an in-law) in his saw mill. He became a local merchant from c. 1853 to 1864 and then moved and took up hop farming. He next (c. 1870) moved to Rudd's Mills in northern Monroe County until he returned to Reedsburg. While here, he helped incorporate the woolen mills and the Reedsburg Bank. He built a business block at 275 Main Street in 1885 that was completed after his death that year. Mrs. Green remained the owner of the Main Street house until at least 1890. (See Bib. Ref. M).

Dr. Carl Kordenat, often referred to in the newspaper as "our German druggist" or "German physician and surgeon," moved in next. He was from Wiessech, Germany, came to the United States in 1874 and arrived in Reedsburg in 1882 to run his father's pharmacy. He began as a druggist and became a physician in 1887 after moving to Chicago in 1885 while attending the college of physicians and surgeons there. He died in 1904 and the home had several owners until 1940, when Ralph Wirth bought it. Wirth was a textile designer and manager of Appleton Woolen Mills. When the mills became locally owned in 1954, Wirth was elected president of the company. He died in 1964. (The mill closed in 1967 and burned in 1968). Mrs. Ruth Wirth still resides at this house (as of 1983).

Individuals associated with this residence and the dates of their associations include the following: Edward M. Hackett, 1878 to 1882 (see Bib. Ref. A); Mr. and Mrs J. L Green, from 1882 to 1890 and beyond? (see Bib. Ref. G, M); Carl Kordenant, from the 1890's to 1904 (see Bib. Ref. C); and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Wirth, from 1940 to the present (see Bib. Ref. F).
Bibliographic References:A. "Reedsburg Free Press," April 4, 1878. B. "Reedsburg Free Press," February 7, 1878. C. 1893 Map of Sauk County at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. D. "Reedsburg Free Press," Decmeber 21, 1882. E. "Reedsburg Free Press, June 6, 1878. F. Mrs. Ruth Wirth, owner, fall, 1983. G. "Reedsburg Free Press," May 25, 1882. H. "Reedsburg Free Press," June 11, 1874. I. "Reedsburg Free Press," September 6, 1877; November 29, 1877; February 7, 1878; April 18, 1878; April 25, 1878. J. "Reedsburg Free Press," April 15, 1886. K. "Reedsburg Free Press," September 8, 1882. L. "Reedsburg Free Press," April 30, 1896. M. Tax receipts for Reedsburg in 1889-1890 at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. N. "Reedsburg Free Press," July 6, 1882. O. WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL 2/4/1996.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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