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Norris-Miller House (now part of Norwegian-American Museum)

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now part of Norwegian-American Museum
1856. 520 W. Water St.

This small, one-and-a-half-story dwelling with a steeply pitched roof is of stovewood construction. The walls are built of short pieces of split oak, laid up in an ash-and-lime mortar. This mode of construction was employed throughout portions of Canada and the United States; some examples were built as late as the 1900s. When properly sheathed with shingles, clapboard, or ship lap, such structures have as long a life as any other form of wood structure. It is not known how many structures with stovewood walls were built in Iowa. Counting the number of examples recorded in neighboring Wisconsin, it seems likely that there may have been a substantial number of houses and barns constructed using this mode of wood structure. The NorrisMiller house may well be the only one still standing in Iowa.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Norris-Miller House (now part of Norwegian-American Museum)", [Decorah, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 378-378.

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