Richard and Sarah Miner House (1870)
This Victorian eclectic-style house changed hands many times, with 12 owners and at least four different renters. In 1975 the architectural firm of Johnson, Johnson and Roy rated it a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 for having “none to minor” alterations when the nomination for the Southside Historic District was filed. The parcel of land on which this house sits was first sold from the State of Wisconsin to John W. Trowbridge in 1849 for $113.40. In 1865 John Gallien, a brick mason, bought the parcel for $250, built a house, and sold it to Richard and Sarah Miner in 1872 for $3,000. Richard’s company manufactured house furnishings. The Miners added the first story south wing and no doubt added woodwork to the house from his factory.

Walter P. Dutton, president of the Dutton Lumber Company, bought the house in 1884. A newspaper account states that on September 22, 1893, a lightning bolt hit the house, blowing a hole in the roof, and Walter was thrown from his bed. No one was injured, though family members were “shocked, not seriously.” Dutton sold the house to Alfred and Elnora Lewis in 1893. Alfred was a prominent hotel owner and manager, operating the Racine Exchange, the Blake House, and the Merchants Hotel. His obituary in 1910 states, “By his courteous and genial disposition he … became known as an ideal hotel man to thousands of traveling men throughout the country.” Charles E. Wells and his family resided at the house from 1902 to 1919, though he purchased the house from Alfred’s widow in 1908. Wells was the manager of Fish Brothers Wagon Company. He and his wife hosted many prominent people of the day and were known as “one of the most highly esteemed couples in the city.”

Donald Eugene Callender, with his wife and three children, lived in the house from 1920 to his death in 1935. He was the manager of Wisconsin Gas & Electric Company, and vicepresident of First National Bank and Trust. In 1926 he hired architect Louis Nelson to add the master bedroom in the southeast corner of the second floor and the second floor back porch. The bump outs were added to the north in the living room and to the south in the dining room. The Callenders installed the first gas furnace in Racine and an electric refrigerator. Callender’s widow rented the house to various tenants until she sold it in 1946.

The next owner was Admiral (ret.) Nathaniel Prime, who sold the house to Dulce Burgess (husband Robert) in 1948. Robert Burgess was prominent in the Kelley Lumber and Brannum Lumber Companies. Consequent owners were Frank and LaVerne Diem (1965), Judith and Ira Cutler (1977), and John Hnilicka (1986). The current owners, Fred and Deborah Beuttler, bought the house in December 2015. We thank them for generously opening this historic gem to our Preservation Racine tour.