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A House Adorned-The History

The A.C. Carter House, Circa 1888 is significant for it’s historic connection with the economic and social development of North La Crosse, Wisconsin. It serves history as a prime example of entrepreneurial spirit , alive in La Crosse, an important Mississippi River port of the 19th century. This home is a rare, and excellent example of fine craftsmanship and detail, in the late Gothic Revival style of the Queen Anne Victorian Period of American architecture. Highly ornate, it was one of the most adorned suburban residences of the new North side subdivision at it’s time of construction. It directly reflects still, the tastes and character of it’s original occupant, and builder, Amos Claude Carter.

Carter, a civil war veteran, shot in Richmond and present at Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, came to La Crosse in the 1880’s, and worked as a craftsman in many different area’s of construction. Being of strong spirit, a leader of men, Amos Carter soon became a builder and independent contractor. An entrepreneur, Amos Carter began yet another business, that of a wholesale grocer and dry goods merchant, and was among those to first build a North side business district in the 1300 block of Caledonia Street. A.C. Carter & Son, provided a good income as well as an outlet for his new venture, Fell’s Patent Medicine. Being very successful in his endeavors, he built himself the home of his dreams, at 1803 Charles Street, and cherished it till his dying day.

After his death, the home eventually passed to his youngest surviving daughter Bessie, whom occupied the home until her death in Feb, 1985. Just two months short of her 101st birthday. The home still stands today, relatively unchanged, as the legacy of the free enterprise, and spirit, that was A.C. Carter.

A.C. Carters granddaughter Avis Riley, who grew up in the home, still resided in the smaller home north, until her death in 2007. We forever thank her for her invaluable contributions, and use of photographs in researching it’s history.

Additional Carter Family Data
Amos Claude Carter, Civil War Veteran, married Lurene Henry, *great granddaughter and direct descendent of  Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death”) in New York, Aug. 15, 1865 (date also recorded as Sept. 14, 1865, perhaps a 2nd wedding  ceremony).  This kinship  being subject of an article in a Minnesota newspaper  from the 1890's,  shown to us by Avis Riley, about the Henry family wedding spoons presented to Amos and Lurene (aka Lorena) by a Patrick Henry descendants society. We do not know the true exact genealogical connection.  They bore four children, one, a daughter Mae Bell, died in infancy. Son Claude, and daughters Maude and Bessie survived. First settled in Sparta, Wisconsin before moving to La Crosse. They lived above their dry goods store during much of the four year construction of the A.C. Carter House.

The home was purchased in 1985, first restored, and is still currently owned by Dean and Signe Gronbeck-Johnson, owners of Grandeur Restorations of Madison, and Edgerton,  and  it was accepted for Nomination for the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

The A.C. Carter House is featured on page 77 of the book “Daughters Of The Painted Ladies, America’s Resplendent Victorians” Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larson authors, Douglas Keister photographer. It is widely considered the 'bible' of Victorian restorationists. One of only two La Crosse homes selected on Ms. Pomada's nationwide tour, the photographer was sent back  from San Francisco to capture 2 photos during restoration to be on time for publication. Ms. Pomada described the home as one of the most delightful surprises of her tour.  We are truly honored by her recognition of this wonderful home that time seemed to have forgotten.
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