Category Archives: small town life

Prairie School: 508 South Beaumont, Prairie du Chien, WI

Prairie School: 508 S. Beaumont, Prairie du Chien, WI | This American House

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that driving around looking at houses is one of our favorite pastimes. Among the older homes on any given block, you’re sure to see variations on a few styles. Tudors and Victorians and Colonials are some of the most common designs we’ll encounter on our sightseeing jaunts. So when we come across a Prairie style house – especially one in great condition – it always gets our notice.

A detour on our way to Piggly Wiggly led us to this beautiful Prairie style house in, of all places, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. “Stop the car!” The Mister implored as I raced toward the Pig for nourishment. I pulled a u-turn in the middle of the street and doubled back to 508 South Beaumont, the site of this beautiful Prairie Style house. We snapped a few photos and then spent the rest of the afternoon wondering whether it could be one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes … or at least the design of one of his students.

508 S. Beaumont, Prairie du Chien, WI | This American House

When we got back home later that day I Googled around and found an old listing for the house. Here’s what I was able to learn:

  • The house dates to 1914. (That’s three years older than our house.)
  • The listing refers to the house as “Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired.”
  • At the time of the listing, the house still featured a number of built-ins, including a kitchen buffet and hutch.
  • The original hardwood floors are intact but the rest of the wood trim has all been painted.
  • The house is palatial with 2,976 square feet that contains four bedrooms and three and a half baths.

According to Realtor.com, the house was last listed for $199,500 in December 2013 and then delisted later that same month. The property history on Realtor.com also shows that the house has been listed and delisted multiple times over the past few years.

It’s always amazing to us to see how these big old houses are priced in small towns. Even in this difficult housing market if you could pick this house up and move it to Chicago, it would list for close to a million dollars. If not more. To see that the house has been listed for a fraction of that price is a testament to the shortage of high paying jobs in small town America. After all, we had to drive five hours out of Chicago before we could find a big old house we could afford! But of course we can only afford it because we have jobs back in the city.

But don’t let me get on a diatribe about the economy and the dearth of good jobs! This post is all about this gorgeous Prairie Style house and how we’re happy to have discovered it.

To see photos of the inside of the house, check out this old listing on Zillow.

Images: This American House

Pioneer Cemetery: Rossville, Iowa

Pioneer Cemetery: Rossville, Iowa | This American House

One of the many things The Mister and I have in common is an appreciation for cemeteries. He spent his teen years exploring old cemeteries along the plains of North Dakota and I spent mine discovering forgotten burial grounds on the back roads of rural Ohio. Mind you, we weren’t goth kids and there was nothing macabre about our appreciation of cemeteries. The Mister was interested in the history of the crumbling tombstones and I was just happy to escape to someplace that offered solitude and silence.

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So Much Depends on a Green Wheelbarrow

The Green Wheelbarrow | This American House

When The Mister came home and saw the wheelbarrow stocked with all the limbs and sticks that I had gathered from a recent storm, he quoted William Carlos Williams’ poem The Red Wheelbarrow:

so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

And that is your cultural moment for the day. Go forth and make poetry, people!

Image: This American House

Meeting the People Who Used to Call Our House Home

The Delbert Meier House circa the 1920's | This American House

We’ve always been romantics, The Mister and I. We’re the kind of guys who’ve always rented vintage apartments with charm instead of modern homes with convenience. Dating back to our very first apartment, we’ve chosen character over comfort. Our first time cohabitating was in a two bedroom mid-century building not far from Wrigley Field. The Mister had left it up to me to choose our first apartment. He was working weekends a lot back then and, well, I was the more opinionated of the two of us when it came to housing. Or at least I thought I was.

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Bask in the Glow of Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014 at This American House

If there are clear skies where you are this evening, look up at the supermoon. What’s that? you ask. A supermoon? Did someone put a cape on the moon? No, silly, a supermoon is just another term for the Perigee moon, meaning the moon is bigger and brighter than it has been in the past 20 years. And it’s all happening tonight!

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