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Stockbridge-Munsee WPA Houses

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1937–1938. N9448, N9299, and N8552 Mohheconnuck Rd., and W13302 and W13412 River Rd.

These stone houses represent a historical turning point for the Stockbridge-Munsee community. Native to the Hudson, Housatonic, and Upper Delaware valleys, the Mohican tribes later known as the Stockbridge-Munsees sided with the colonists during the Revolutionary War. Their loyalty failed to preserve their New York and New England homelands, so after 1802 they banded with other displaced northeastern tribes to find refuge among New York’s Oneidas. In 1818, two tribal members sought out western lands for settlement, and the Stockbridge-Munsee band arrived in Wisconsin between 1822 and 1829. In 1856, they settled a reservation in Shawano County, but by the 1870s they had lost much of their land to logging companies. The federal government dissolved the communal reservation in 1910 and allotted plots of cutover land to individual members of the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe. Many could not pay their property taxes and lost their allotments within two decades.

The New Deal brought a revolution in federal Indian policy. Under the aegis of Indian commissioner John Collier and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the federal government returned more than one thousand acres to the Stockbridge-Munsees and provided low-interest loans to construct houses. The WPA built sixteen stone houses on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation under this program. These vernacular Craftsman-styled houses were based on stock plans. Each is one-and-a-half stories with granite rubble walls laid in irregular courses. The local stone harmonizes with the immediate environment. Although the houses appear similar, each is distinguished by details. For example, the Edwin and Margaret Martin House at N9448 Mohheconnuck Road features a large shed dormer across the front and an arched brick head over the door. Both the Roy and Louanna Miller House at N9299 Mohheconnuck and the Miles Welch House at W13302 River Road have gabled hoods over the entrance stoop, and the Dudley and Lyla Davids House at N8552 Mohheconnuck uses large gabled wall dormers to create a roomier second story. Over the years, the owners have altered some windows and added rooms.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Stockbridge-Munsee WPA Houses", [Bowler, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-SW1.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 318-319.

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