LARSON HOUSE TOURS
The Larson House Museum will be open for self-guided tours on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For a guided tour of the Larson House by appointment, contact Jane Licht at 608-838-8178. Jane will be glad to accomodate you and your friends and family who wish to see the house.
Ladies' Afternoon Tea
Kathy Krusiec and her committee are planning a wonderful, elegant event reminicient of turn of the 19th century afternoon tea parties. Tea history and ettiquette will be shared along with various teas, desserts and savory treats. Tea will be taken under tents on the lawn at 6003 Exchange Street. The event will be held July 19 from 1 to 3 PM with tours of the Larson House Museum at 4 PM. For more information, contact Kathy at 608-838-9745.
THE HISTORIC LARSON HOUSE
The Larson House was an elegant Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1898 and purchased by John Larson in 1911. The Larson family lived in it for 80 years. It stood empty and neglected for the past 20 years. The McFarland Historical Society purchased it in February of 2012 and decided to restore it to its former glory. A restoration plan was approved, the old knob and tube wiring was replaced with a safe electrical system, the badly damaged siding on the back and Bashford Street sides was replaced and painted, and the trim and gables were scraped and painted. A new side porch was built using the original porch columns, spandrels, and balusters. Tree service, landscaping, plumbing work, concrete for the sidewalks and a new furnace were donated by local businesses. Countless volunteers from the community have helped with cleanup and restoration projects. See the video about the progress as of November, 2012. You Tube Update in August, 2013.
In 2013, work inside the house was emphasized. The rooms received new plaster, paint and the hardword floors on the first level were sanded and varnished. After a cold spring, work on the front porch began in ernest. New siding was put on the front and south sides of the house. The original porch columns and balusters for the railings were installed on the front porch. Eventually, most of the rooms were completed and furnished with donated artifacts. The house has been decorated in a style appropriate to around 1920 when electricity first came to McFarland, and the original chandeliers glow brightly once again. Thanks to our skilled contractors and hard-working volunteers, and to those serving on the various Larson House committees.
The Larson House will become a house museum dedicated to the celebration of local history and a valuable resource for our citizens today and in future years. It will be available for school groups and other tours, small social gatherings, concerts, art shows and perhaps even a Victorian garden party or the like. Rooms are being named with donations of $10,000 to honor families with deep roots in McFarland history; their histories as well as the history of the Larson family are preserved. Only one room and the two porches are still available for naming. Here is the impressive list of donors and those being honored.
How can you help?
1. Become a "Friend of the Larson House." Add your name and the name of loved ones to a donor panel at the bronze ($200), silver ($500), or gold ($1000) levels. Photographs and biographies are included. These will be framed and placed in the upstairs hallway.
2. Donate your time to become a docent for the Larson House Museum. Let Larson House Planning Chair Jane Licht know of your interest and talents. 838-8178 or email@example.com
HISTORY OF THE LARSON HOUSE
This landmark structure, known as the “Larson House” was owned by Mr. E. N. Edwards for only a couple years and then sold to Tollef Olson Foshein in 1901. Tollef's wife Ingebor died in 1903 and the next year he moved to Stoughton to live with a daughter. He died in 1910. As part of his estate, the house was sold to John Larson in 1911, and it has been in his family ever since, for 100 years.
John was a very successful business man and well-respected in the community. His economic rise began when he bought lake shore property from the Knickerbocker Ice Company in 1900. He built the popular Larson’s Beach Resort, constructed cottages, built piers and even purchased six row boats that were pointed on both ends. People could rent his cottages or purchase them on 60-foot wide lots to use as summer homes.
When John’s wife Julia died young, daughter Bertha came to live in and run the household. After Bertha's sister Tonetta retired she came back to McFarland and lived with Bertha. Some McFarland residents such as Glenn and Meg Nielsen, and Wes and Jane Licht remember Christmas caroling for the elderly sisters who invited them in and served popcorn. Back then, the Victorian home was immaculate and little changed from when their father had owned it.