The Crosse House
The Dr Charles G Crosse house is a fine, highly intact "T" plan side gable vernacular form residence whose design was influenced by the Gothic Revival style. This one-and-a-half story frame house is located on a lot that fronts onto Main Street, the principle historic thoroughfare of the city of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Dr. Crosse moved to Sun Prairie in 1860, setting up a practice there and also establishing a drugstore.
Crosse built this home circa 1866, following his return from service in the Civil War, and he and members of his family continued to live there until after his death in 1908. In 1940, following occupancy by others, the house was converted into apartments. By 1976, its clapboard siding had been covered over with metal siding, its original encircling veranda having been removed, and the building as a whole had deteriorated.
Fortunately in that year, Sun Prairie Historical Restorations, Inc. was formed by interested city residents as a non-profit organization with the goal of restoring the building. in the ensuing years this organization has restored the original siding, much of the interior, and accurately reconstructed the veranda using historic photos as a guide. As a result, the Crosse house, which is one of the oldest surviving residences in Sun Prairie, has now recovered its historic appearance and its rightful place as a city landmark.
In the years following the Civil War, Dr. Crosse became one of the village's leading citizens. His drug business grew and he later moved it from his original store (on the south side of Main Street) to a new building he built in 1893 known as the Crosse Block, located on the corner of Main and Bristol Streets a half block east of his residence. In 1977, with his son Charles S. Crosse, he established Sun Prairie's first newspaper which survives today as THE STAR. He also served several terms as the president of the village board and a single term in the state legislature.
This house has been honored by designation as a National Historic Landmark.
Today the Crosse House is maintained by Sun Prairie Historic Restorations, Inc., and is an important gathering place for the Sun Prairie community. Our goals for the Crosse House are:
- To restore and preserve the historic Crosse House
- To provide a unique meeting place and educational resource for the community
- To serve as a continuing link to Sun Prairie’s history
In addition to being one of Sun Prairie's original and oldest houses, the Crosse House is also a popular tourist attraction. Restorations have been made but much upkeep remains to be done, which is why fundraisers are so important to the survival of this unique house. We hope to see you soon at the Crosse House, the new home of the Sun Prairie Historical Society!