Date in History: 1873 – 1919
The site of the new Walgreen’s Drugstore going up at the corner of North Main and North Third Streets in Fort Atkinson used to be the site of Congressman Lucien Caswell’s dramatic 17-room Italianate mansion. Built for Mr. Caswell in 1873 by local mason Joseph Emery, the house boasted a black walnut staircase, two marble fireplaces, nine bedrooms, four porches, a glassed-in cupola atop the house and the first stationary wash bowls with hand pumps in the city.
People used to come from far and wide to see the home and its grounds, which required the services of a full-time gardener. A white picket fence encompassed vast lawns and gardens. Vegetable and flower gardens, the grape arbor, the two barns for horses and cows, and later a tennis court, all added to the aura of gracious living.
After Mr. Caswell died in 1919, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church bought the house and used it for their school, and later as a home for nuns. It was finally torn down in the summer of 1955 to make way for the new church – a building that would last only 50 years.
This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 07/18/2005.