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Adam and Mary Smith House Restoration
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

This Italianate-style farmhouse is now listed with the National Register of Historic Places but in the late 1990’s it was slated for demolition because it was located in the path of the expansion of Highway 51. Housing developer Veridian Homes enthusiastically undertook the challenge of moving and restoring the historic structure to give it new life as a centerpiece element of a larger development called Smith’s Crossing. Design Coalition worked closely with restoration consultant John Freiburger to design a new foundation, create accurately reconstructed porches, incorporate ADA accessibility and comply with strict National Park Service reviews.


Above: The restored Adam and Mary Smith House now sits half a mile from it’s original location, prominently situated on the town square of 'Smith's Crossing', a "new urbanism" neighborhood development between Madison and Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The mis-matched front porch designs are original. While it may seem peculiar to us, it was a not unusual custom of the Victorian period for the primary front entry porch to be of a heavier, more "masculine" design while the smaller "ladies" porch off the formal reception parlor was of a more delicate, "feminine" design.

 


Above: The deteriorating Smith House prior to being moved from it's original site. Many of the front porch posts and brackets were recovered in bits and pieces from the weeds where they had fallen. The design for the long gone rear "kitchen" porch was reconstructed from outlines of paint remaining on the brick.


Above: House-moving in progress.

Adam and Mary Smith relocated to Wisconsin so that he could help build the first state Capital. They built the elaborate red brick house on their 480 acre farm in 1873. A civic-minded early settler of Burke Township, Smith was voted the first Towne Chairman and was also chosen as the first postmaster when the Burke Post Office was created in 1854. He served as Justice of the Peace and was elected to the state assembly in 1859.

For more on the history of the house and the relocation process, check out an illustrated article at the Wisconsin Historical Society website...