Three Districts in Lake Mills receive designation as National Historic Districts
Lake Mills is home to many beautiful historic homes, After much research and lengthy application and review processes, three areas were awarded both recognition by the State of Wisconsin and The National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Thank you to Timothy Heggland, Angela Hronek, Emily Pettis and numerous others for their work on this project.
Lake Mills Aztalan Historical Society is the sole organization responsible for the upkeep and public programming at the pioneer and museum site in Aztalan. When we received news that our districts were approved on the national level, it was decided by our Board of Directors that a separate committee was needed. In 2019 The Lake Mills Preservation Guild was organized. The LMAHS President is the Chair and the group includes community members who share our passion for education and preservation. Read about our current project -- Restoration of the Fischer's Dry Goods Store Ghost Sign.
Individuals are welcome to join the Guild to support the mission through volunteerism, education, organization, and fundraising activities. Contact us for more information.
COMMERCIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
"The Lake Mills Downtown Commercial Historic District consists of the large Village Commons Park and portions of six city blocks that together form the historic downtown core of the city of Lake Mills.
The district contains the park and 44 buildings, 30 of which face onto the 100 and 200 blocks of Main street, and 13 of which face onto the 100 block of E. Lake Street and the 100 and 200 blocks of W. Lake Street.
These two streets were historically the most important commercial thoroughfares in the city and these 44 buildings contains most of the surviving intact nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century commercial buildings that remain in this historic and highly important section of the city"
Timothy F. Heggland, Historian for the National Register of Historic Places Registration nomination.
RESIDENTIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Mulberry Street Residential Historic District is a small, but architecturally distinguished and highly intact, grouping of buildings located in the historic heart of the city of Lake Mills comprised of 11 single family residences and a single church.
These 12 buildings are situated on both sides of a two block-long stretch of Mulberry Street. The southwest end of the district begins one block northeast of Lake Mill’s historic downtown commercial district.
The two earliest contributing houses are fine, cream brick examples of the Italianate style that were built in 1853 and 1854. There are two more fine cream brick examples of this style in the district that were built in 1869 and 1879, and the district also contains an excellent cream brick example of the Second Empire style that was built in 1877.
In addition, the district contains four excellent examples of the Queen Anne style that were built between 1893 and 1904, and an excellent Craftsman style house having Tudor Revival-influenced features, built in 1905".
Source: Timothy F. Heggland, Historian for the National Register of Historic Places Registration nomination.
SOUTH MAIN STREET
RESIDENTIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
The District consists of approximately two residential blocks located south of the historic commercial downtown of Lake Mills.
South Main Street (WIS 89) is a tree lined street with sidewalks and a narrow grassy terrace running on a north-south axis through the center of Lake Mills. Residential properties within the District are located on the east and west sides of the street.
Located between 264 and 308 South Main Street on the east side of the road, but not a part of the District, is the Lake Mills Fish Hatchery.
The District contains 28 buildings, of which 23 are contributing and 5 are noncontributing to the significance of the District. Contributing resources were constructed between 1843 and 1920. Early buildings were built throughout the District on large lots.
The 1843 Captain Joseph Keyes House and farm property, which comprised the earliest residence in the District, occupied much of the east side of South Main Street.
By the late 1870s a number of homes were scattered on the west side of the road. The majority of the District’s homes were built in the 1880s and 1890s, occupying more uniform lots on the east and west sides of South Main Street, and the remainder filled in during the early twentieth century. These properties are primarily single-family residences, with the exception of the Cottage Inn Hotel (265 South Main Street), which has been converted into an apartment building. Additionally, a few of the homes either began as, or have been converted into, duplexes.
Houses throughout the District are large; a good proportion of them measure two or two-and- one-half stories. Contributing houses display their original massing, form, style, and ornamentation. Styles represented are among some of the most popular in Wisconsin including examples of Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Neoclassical Revival style.
Even though many homes in the District are not pure expressions of a particular architectural style, displaying more modest stylistic elements, they do feature quality materials and workmanship throughout.
Angela Hronek and Emily Pettis, Cultural Resource Specialists for the National Register of Historic Places Registration nomination