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Boscobel Hotel and Central House (Central House Hotel, Bobel House)

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1865; 1873 addition; 1881 interior reconstruction. 1005 Wisconsin Ave.

Adam Bobel built a two-story inn with a saloon at street level and guest rooms upstairs. Stone quoins and a cast-iron storefront (now somewhat reconfigured) betray the outlines of the old Bobel House. By 1873, increasing numbers of railway travelers led Bobel to expand his building. He added a three-story block and a kitchen wing, giving the building an L-shaped plan, and renamed it the Central House Hotel. For the facade, masons laid limestone blocks in neat courses, but to save labor and money, they used limestone rubble for the side walls. Segmental-arched windows and doorways light the ground floor, and upstairs the windows are round-arched with stone surrounds. After an 1881 fire gutted the hotel, Bobel replaced the doors and windows and rebuilt the interior. The paneled and bracketed cornice that once ran along the roofline is gone, but otherwise the Italianate building looks much as it did in 1890. That year a chance meeting at this hotel between two strangers, John Nicholson of Janesville and Samuel Hill of Beloit, gave rise to Gideons International, an evangelical organization best known for its efforts to place Bibles in every hotel and motel room worldwide.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.



Marsha Weisiger et al., "Boscobel Hotel and Central House (Central House Hotel, Bobel House)", [Boscobel, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 346-346.

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