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Mecikalski General Store, Saloon, and Boarding House

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c. 1899, John Mecikalski. 465 Max Rd.
  • (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

This is an intact example of stovewood construction, a singularly American form of folk construction. Mecikalski immigrated to Wisconsin in the mid-1870s from East Prussia. When he married, he bought 160 acres of land here and created this combination general store, saloon, and boarding house. He served the transient lumberjacks of the Northwoods and the settled community of mostly Polish farmers. For this building Mecikalski used eighteen-inch lengths of cedar, some as large as sixteen inches in diameter, and laid them in a bed of lime mortar. To make the building more imposing and conventional looking, he added a clapboard false front with a stepped parapet. The side walls remain exposed, enabling visitors to observe the technique. At 24 x 33 feet, the building is unusually large for a stovewood structure. Two one-story wings flank the building. Large display windows flanking the glazed-and-paneled double doors light the interior. At the second story, Mecikalski added an elegant touch—a transom edged with stained glass panes at the center of a tripartite window. In 1985, the Kohler Foundation (which specializes in the restoration of Wisconsin folk art) rescued the buildings from near ruin, restored the main structure, and reconstructed the one-story wings.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.



Marsha Weisiger et al., "Mecikalski General Store, Saloon, and Boarding House", [Pelican Lake, 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, 328-328.

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