Located where the Chicago and North Western Railway crossed the Baraboo River, Reedsburg has long served as a trading center for the largely agricultural area around it. Although Reedsburg’s first store opened in 1850, the town did not prosper until the 1870s, when the railroad connected it to larger markets. After a fire in 1871 destroyed everything on the north side of the street except for J. V. Kelsey’s brick general store (297 Main), a building boom in brick commenced. Consequently, Reedsburg’s downtown is unusually cohesive. The buildings are further united by elaborate metal cornices and decorative lintels, in the Italianate manner.
Standing out from the uniformity is the exuberant Queen Anne former Hotel Stolte. Morgan Building and Lumber, a local company, erected the three-and-a-half-story building. At the corner, a three-story turret with an arcaded attic level and a conical crown rises above the roof, visually dominating the street. Five bay windows, three on one street and two on the other, terminate in dormers with jerkinhead gables, creating a lively rhythmic pattern at the skyline.