From the Civil War until World War I, real estate promoters and businessmen used bird’s-eye views to advertise cities to prospective investors and settlers. These lithographs, drawn from a forty-five degree angle, usually displayed a city in panorama and highlighted buildings important to a city’s commercial and cultural life. One of the most important publishers of bird’s-eye views was Joseph John Stoner, who collaborated with several artists to create panoramas of cities all over the United States.
From 1865 until 1885, Stoner lived in this two-story Italianate house built of locally quarried sandstone. The house has a wide cornice with attic windows and paired brackets, flat stone lintels above the windows, and an entrance porch with scroll brackets. A two-story veranda once ran the length of the rear elevation. In 1983, the Wisconsin chapter of the American Institute of Architects rescued the building from demolition for use as its headquarters and a museum.