Tag Archives: carriage stone

Mauston Carriage Stone Might Have Been a Cemetery Pedestal

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.

A monument base at a cemetery in Elroy has similar patterns to the Hanneman carriage stone. (Richard Rossin Jr. photo)

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).

The diamond pattern is visible in this photo of David D. Hanneman from the mid-1940s.

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.

Carl F. Hanneman with grandson David at the carriage stone, circa 1964.

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.

©2020 The Hanneman Archive

May 1894 news clipping from the Mauston paper. (Courtesy Richard Rossin Jr.)


September 1893 news clip shows the start of home construction at 22 Morris Street.
An early 20th century news clip: Richard Rossin Jr. relates: “The Coles lived down Winsor Street and the cow was pastured on a lot over the railroad tracks a few blocks away.”


The old carriage stone in 2013: covered in lichens and sunken just a bit from its heyday.

1890s Carriage Stone Serves as a Family Gathering Place

Back in the days when horses were the main mode of transportation, many homes across America had carriage stones near the street to assist those stepping down from horse-drawn carriages.

A fine example of the carriage stone stands in front of the old Hanneman home on Morris Street in Mauston, Wis. The carriage stone no doubt served its time as a platform to access horse-drawn transportation. But for many more decades the large granite stone was a family gathering place for photos and a launch pad for dozens of children at play.

More than 70 years of photographs held by The Hanneman Archive provide ample testimony to the importance of the old carriage stone. The earliest photographic records we have is from 1937, although the stone was likely original equipment when the home was built in the early 1890s. Brewmaster Charles Miller built the home at 22 Morris Street with the finest materials, so it’s no surprise he would have a carriage stone out front.

One photograph from about 1942 shows five people sitting on the stone for a photograph, including Ruby V. Hanneman and children Lavonne M. Hanneman, and David D. Hanneman.  Another image from about 1957 shows Donn G. Hanneman, wife Elaine and children Diane, Caroline, Tom, Jane and Mary Ellen. The photo above shows Carl F. Hanneman and grandson David Carl Hanneman, taken circa 1965.

Lavonne Hanneman (front) and brother David (at right) sit on the carriage stone, circa 1942.
Lavonne Hanneman (front) and brother David (at right) sit on the carriage stone, circa 1942.

For the 15 grandchildren of Carl and Ruby Hanneman, the carriage stone was much more than a cool novelty. Just standing on the stone seemed to give a great vantage to the yard, even though  the stone was just 18 inches high. It was always a race to see who would get first dibs on the stone.

Mary K. Hanneman sits on the carriage stone in 1958. With her is dog Cookie.
Mary K. Hanneman sits on the carriage stone in 1958. With her is dog Cookie.


Ruby V. Hanneman with her son Donn and his family in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Ruby V. Hanneman with her son Donn and his family in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

For many of those old photos, family members sat or stood at the carriage stone in the shade of towering elm trees. The old trees are long gone now, but the stone remains, looking just the same as it did in the 1930s.

In several visits in years prior to his death in 2007, David D. Hanneman stopped at the house and asked the current owners if he could take the carriage stone. Initially they agreed, but later changed their minds. Seems the lady of the house had become attached to the old stone, as evidenced by the flowers lovingly planted around its edge. That’s understandable. Just another generation of folks who’ve come to care for that old carriage stone.

— This post has been updated with a photo gallery

©2014-2020 The Hanneman Archive