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The Mill House (Douglass-Stevenson House)

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c. 1857, Carlos Lavalette Douglass; c. 1873, c. 1910 additions. 398 Mill St.

The two-story, front-gabled part of this house is Wisconsin’s oldest known stovewood structure. Douglass built the dwelling about 1857 by laying short, fourteen-inch lengths of log in a mortar matrix to create solid walls that look like stacked firewood. He plastered the walls, but later owners cut an opening in the plaster in one room, where this building method can now be seen. The stovewood house recalls Fontana’s beginnings. Douglass bought property here at the west end of Geneva Lake in 1852, and by 1860 he was operating two gristmills. The mills attracted settlers, who built the village on land sold by Douglass. Sometime before 1873, profits from his land dealings and mills enabled Douglass to expand his house with a one-story, side-gabled wing of frame construction. A porch, graced by folk Victorian turned columns and scroll-sawn brackets, stretches the length of the wing. Carlos’s son Horace added a stuccoed rear wing around 1910. The house is now headquarters for the Geneva Lake Conservancy.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "The Mill House (Douglass-Stevenson House)", [Fontana-on-Geneva 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, 186-186.

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