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3774 COUNTY HIGHWAY P | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
3774 COUNTY HIGHWAY P | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:John and Theresia Kalscheur House
Other Name:
Reference Number:4794
Location (Address):3774 COUNTY HIGHWAY P
Township/Village:Cross Plains
Unincorporated Community:Pine Bluff
Quarter Section:SW
Quarter/Quarter Section:NE
Year Built:1852
Survey Date:1977
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Front Gabled
Structural System:
Wall Material:Stone - Unspecified
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:0
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History.

FRAME ADDITION ON SOUTH SIDE HAS BEEN RESIDED IN VINYL SINCE FIRST SURVEYED IN 1977. The stone portion of the building has been partially stuccoed.

The earliest recorded transfer of this property took place May 21, 1847 when it was acquired by Ripha Warden, who later sold about 130 acres in Section 21 and 22 to Johann Kalscheur (1799-1889) on September 14, 1852, the same time the earlier sale was recorded. Johann and his wife Maria Theresia and their seven children reportedly had arrived in New York City aboard the American Ship E-Z on August 18, 1852, less than one month earlier. The property on which the original stone house is located remained in the Kalscheur family until the early 1890s when it then passed through a series of hands. In 1931 Theresa Gabelt acquired the property with the stone house and barn (about 36 acres) that has remained in the Gabelt family since then.

Hazel Gabelt, occupant in 2009 and widow of Theresa's son Joe Gabelt, who had lived in the house across the road and moved to this one as a young child, believes the stone wing of the two-story house may have been built in 1848 or 1849 for the Wardens. Other sources believe the Kalscheurs constructed the original stone portion that does not have a full basement but only a cellar under one room. The current barn on the property was constructed in the 1920s. According to the current owner, a frame addition to the house was built sometime before the 1940s, and a local carpenter named Schmitz reportedly constructed a still later porch.

Historical publications issued by the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pine Bluff and a Kalscheur family member include references to the first masses in Pine Bluff being celebrated at Johann Kalscheur's home, where visiting priests also lodged during trips to the area from Madison or elsewhere. Contemporary diaries written in German by Reverend Maximillian Gaertner are sited to support the claim that Father Inama conducted the first mass in Pine Bluff at the Kalscheurs' home in 1852 and that Gaertner continued this practice. The claim is also mentioned in Pine Bluff: A Crossroads in Wisconsin, where Bob Buege writes that starting in February, 1853, Father Gaertner "visited the Kalscheur home repeatedly to say the Mass, hear confessions, perform baptisms, give catechism instructions..." prior to the completion of the first St. Mary's Church in the spring of 1854. If this claim were found to be true, the modest stone house would be a valuable building in the history of Pine Bluff as well as the St. Mary's Parish.

In 1919, an adjoining portion of the earlier Kalscheur property on which John Peter Kalscheur had began operating the Pine Bluff Creamery in the 1870s was then owned by Peter Olson. He sold the property that year to the Pine Bluff Cheese Producing Company for $1,900. (the land is now the present parking lot of Morgan's bar and restaurant). When Mineral Point Road was widened in 1960, the expansion would have consumed a portion of the cheese factory, so the old building --reportedly of stone construction -- was torn down.

Note: Although most sources suggest that the religious activities took place in this stone house, it is possible that they occurred in a much larger frame house, also owned by the Kalscheurs and still situated across from the stone house on HWY P. Examining Father Gaertner's 1853 diary and documents identifying when the frame house was constructed should help to clarify the locale of the religious services.
Bibliographic References:Town of Cross Plains Architecture and History Inventory. October 2009. Prepared by Mary Jane Hamilton. Vera Riley, Cathy Fjelstad, and Ken Esser.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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