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Rowley House Museum

The Rowley House: A Wisconsin wonder

Story by
postedMarch 1, 2020

When travelers piece together the past of a destination, they can discover what it was, who was there, and how it’s evolved. Seeing the beautiful homes and gardens of prominent figures is a popular way to dig up that history—and the homes have their own story to tell. Here is a past and present look at one of four featured houses, and the full article can be read here.


Dr. Newman C. Rowley built his two-story home in 1868 for a mere $800 on Hubbard Avenue in Middleton, a suburb of Madison, the state capital. Constructed with 30,000 yellow-clay bricks, the house fits a building style common to rural Wisconsin in the 19th century: gabled ell, a residential vernacular form with stone lintels and sills and a mostly plain façade, with the exception of the porch’s ornamental brackets and turned posts.

Dr. Rowley died in 1871, but he set in motion the Rowley House legacy. It went on to be home to his son, Dr. Antinous A. Rowley, and later his grandson, Dr. Antinous G. “A.G.” Rowley. While the house long served as an abode for physicians in the Middleton area, Dr. A.G. Rowley only lived there a few years while practicing medicine. His sister, Arlene Rowley Morhoff, took up residence in the home until her death in 1988. It was transferred to the Middleton Area Historical Society in 1989 when Arlene’s son, Dan Morhoff, inherited and sold the house.


The Rowley House Museum, a Middleton landmark, was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1999.

“Remembering our history is as important as celebrating it, and the Rowley House Museum allows for both,” says Julie Peterman, director of tourism for the Middleton Tourism Commission. “The museum invites visitors to step through Middleton’s past, not just by viewing old antiques but also by walking through a beautifully preserved home that has been at the center of our charming downtown for more than 150 years.”

When getting the grounds in shape to make the attraction what it is today, the historical society volunteers replaced the front and back porches, built a carriage house, and revamped the kitchen and a bathroom.

The Rowley House is one of the oldest residences in Middletown, and inside its now-museum walls are Native American artifacts, settler antiques and furnishings, and a variety of Depression-era glass wares. The house is open to the public for limited hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays mid-April through mid-October.

For more information, contact Peterman.

Top photo: Rowley House Museum
Photo by Middleton Historical Society


Support for Courier articles provided by:
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Destination Delco
History Colorado
The Huntington Library, Art Museum & Botanical Gardens
Winterthur Museum