The 1890s-era carriage stone that has been a fixture outside the old Hanneman home in Mauston, Wis., might have originally been quarried and cut as the base for a cemetery monument.
Mauston author and historian Richard Rossin Jr. said he noticed some cemetery monuments in nearby Elroy looked very similar to the stone in front of the Carl and Ruby Hanneman house at 22 Morris Street.
As we’ve documented elsewhere on this site, the carriage stone was most likely installed by brewmaster Charles Miller, who built the 22 Morris house in the early to mid-1890s. Miller owned the Mauston Brewery, which operated across Winsor Street on property that backs up to the Lemonweir River. Miller built the home with the finest materials, including stained-glass windows (which are still present in the house).
Rossin included his speculation about the cemetery base in a revision to his history book on the Mauston Brewery. The cemetery stones have the same diamond pattern carved into the sides as the carriage stone (although the Hanneman stone only had the pattern cut into two sides). Perhaps Miller bought a precut base from the Mauston stonecutter, or had one custom-made from granite for use in front of his home. Rossin said when Morris Street was recently torn up for construction work, the carriage stone was moved. When it was put back, it was turned 90 degrees.
In the late 1800s and early 20th century, it was common for dearly departed citizens to be buried under much larger monuments than is typical today. The weight of the monuments required they be set on a heavy base for stability. The bases were often made of the same type of stone as the top section. Monuments were installed on either gravel or a concrete pad.
Rossin also sent us some historical news clippings that make reference to the home at 22 Morris Street. One tells a great story of some area boys who used the carriage stone to climb onto George Cole’s cows and ride them to the pasture near the Mauston Greenhouse. Another clip says construction of what would later be the Hanneman house began in late summer 1893.
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