The A.C. Carter House is a unique and charming testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of the once wild river city of La Crosse. The personal residence of Civil War veteran, merchant, and patent medicine man Amos Claude Carter and family; it is a delightful study in the detail of whimsy that once was a part of everyday design in Victorian America. For the full history, architectural details and additional photos you may wish to send an inquiry for the historic web site.
A truly unique and authentic Victorian gingerbread house! The ornate structure was restored and nominated to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986 and photographed for the book Daughters of the Painted Ladies- America's Resplendent Victorians (one of only two homes in La Crosse chosen for that honor). It is listed on the La Crosse historical walking tour. Decorated in delightful Victorian imported wall coverings and friezes chosen to closely match the original designs and colors discovered during the restoration. The interior is furnished with a eclectic fun mix of comfortable and antique furnishings from Empire, to Victorian, to Art Deco, to Atomic Age and featuring rare massive antique 1 st Empire and Victorian bedroom suites by Anthony Quervelle of Philadelphia and Charles Lee of New Orleans.
A House Adorned-The History The A.C. Carter House, Circa 1888 is significant for it’s historic connection with the economic and social development of North La Crosse, Wisconsin. It serves history as a prime example of entrepreneurial spirit , alive in La Crosse, an important Mississippi River port of the 19th century. This home is a rare, and excellent example of fine craftsmanship and detail, in the late Gothic Revival style of the Queen Anne Victorian Period of American architecture. Highly ornate, it was one of the most adorned suburban residences of the new North side subdivision at it’s time of construction. It directly reflects still, the tastes and character of it’s original occupant, and builder, Amos Claude Carter. Carter, a Civil War veteran, shot in Richmond, imprisoned in the horrific “Bull Pen” POW camp and present at Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox during his service, came to La Crosse in the 1880’s, and worked as a craftsman in many different area’s of construction with only one useful arm. Being of strong spirit, having been marched in “double quick” for nine days while shot through this arm and without rations for three days, he became a leader of men. Amos Carter soon became a builder and independent contractor. An entrepreneur, Amos Carter began yet another business, that of a wholesale grocer and dry goods merchant, and was among those to first build a North side business district in the 1300 block of Caledonia Street. A.C. Carter & Son, provided a good income as well as an outlet for his new venture, Fell’s Patent Medicine. Being very successful in his endeavors, he built himself the home of his dreams, and cherished it till his dying day.
After his death, the home eventually passed to his youngest surviving daughter Bessie, whom occupied the home until her death in Feb, 1985. Just two months short of her 101st birthday. The home still stands today, relatively unchanged, as the legacy of the free enterprise, and spirit, that was A.C. Carter. A.C. Carters granddaughter Avis Riley, who grew up in the home, still resided in the smaller home north, until her death in 2007. We forever thank her for her invaluable contributions, and use of photographs in researching it’s history. Additional Carter Family Data Amos Claude Carter, Civil War Veteran, married Lurene Henry, *great granddaughter and direct descendent of Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death”) in New York, Aug. 15th 1865 the date was also recorded as Sept. 15th 1865, perhaps a 2nd wedding ceremony. This kinship being subject of an article in a Minnesota newspaper from the 1890's, shown to us by Avis Riley, about the Henry family wedding spoons presented to Amos and Lurene (aka Lorena) by a Patrick Henry descendants society. We do not know the true exact genealogical connection. They bore four children, one, a daughter Mae Bell, died in infancy. Son Claude, and daughters Maude and Bessie survived. First settled in Sparta, Wisconsin before moving to La Crosse. They lived above their dry goods store during much of the four year construction of the A.C. Carter House.
The home was purchased in 1985, first restored, and is still currently owned by Dean and Signe Gronbeck-Johnson, owners of Grandeur Restorations of Madison, and it was accepted for Nomination for the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The A.C. Carter House is featured on page 77 of the book “Daughters Of The Painted Ladies, America’s Resplendent Victorians” Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larson authors, Douglas Keister photographer. It is widely considered the 'bible' of Victorian restorationists. One of only two La Crosse homes selected on Ms. Pomada's nationwide tour, the photographer was sent back from San Francisco to capture 2 photos during restoration to be on time for publication. Ms. Pomada described the home as one of the most delightful surprises of her tour. We are truly honored by her recognition of this wonderful home that time seemed to have forgotten.
This spacious home is conveniently located in a very nice quiet North La Crosse neighborhood, very close to the major Rose St. hotel district, and two quick and direct traffic routes to downtown, and the Onalaska areas. Just blocks from beautiful riverfront parks, beach, and boat launch for enjoying terrific recreation and event opportunities.
Walking distance to most anything you need (local grocery store, public library, restaurants, fast food, shopping). Short drive to the major mall district, ample parking for your vehicle and close to public transportation. Space to park your boat on trailer as well.
- Later check out may be available based on calendar, please contact host if you anticipate the need for a later checkout time.
- Families with children are welcome, and related minor children are free (please book for number of adults only). Children must be supervised at all times due to antique and high end finishes and furnishings. You will be responsible for all damages caused by your family and your guests. Property is photographed and inventoried between each stay period.
- No "open house" parties or parties that exceed 20 persons without advance email permission from host. The caretaker is in the immediate area so please respect this rule.
- All doors and windows are to be closed and locked each time you leave, and the key must be left in the lock box.
- Exterior balcony use is not permitted.
- Smoking allowed on exterior porches
- Early check-in may be available
- We love pets, however, due to past pet damages, pets are not to be left unattended inside of residence unless "crated" and additional pet fee's and deposits are required, you will be sent a separate money request for pets.
- Self check-in and check-out. Guests must contact host for the current key box lock code prior to check-in and contact host to change lock code at check out. Host and/or caretaker may be on site for check in/out.
- Residential zoning restricts overnight guest occupancy to groups containing no more than 3 unrelated adults, if you are using the entire house for you, your traveling companions. and/ or your extended family but your group cannot exceed more than three unrelated adults. Caretaker or host will verify the number of adults in your party.
- Cleaning and pet fee's are in addition to rental rate.
- No ski equipment, kayaks, waterboards, or bicycles are allowed inside the house. Contact host for special arrangements.
- No burning of candles or yard torches in or on/near exterior porches. You are welcome to grill your food outside, however,no grilling on porches and no grilling within ten feet of any structure.
Note; Due to the historic nature of the property, it is not ADA compliant. There is no "walk in" tub and there is no elevator to the second floor. Those with mobility disabilities are absolutely welcome but should be aware that they will likely need assistance to enter and exit the property. There is a first floor bedroom and bath.
We are a licensed and inspected guest house.