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Centennial Open House for Historic Weiser Home

August 27, 2023


The owners of the 609 W. Broadway Weiser house, Susan and Dale Goodman, and the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission (DHPC) invite the public to an open house on Sunday, August 27, 1-4 pm, in order to celebrate the centennial of the home’s 1923 construction. The architect was Charles Altfillisch, and the builder was A. R. Coffeen.

Refreshments will be provided on the home’s outdoor patio. A newly-printed brochure highlights the home’s features and identifies three other Charles Altfillisch designed homes within the same block of the Broadway-Phelps Park Historic District.

The Goodmans said they were inspired by the enthusiasm they saw at the November 2022 reception at the Altfillisch Mound Street home. Said Dale, “The Weiser home was built on land first owned by George Phelps and then Ben Bear. The house itself has been part of this community for 100 years, and we wanted to share its distinctive, well-preserved interior with the wider public.” 

“We appreciate the Goodman’s public-spirited generosity,” said DHPC chair Mark Z. Muggli. “They have done painstaking restoration on the house, and now they are opening the house to the public, are providing most of the refreshments, and are funding this new open-house brochure.”

Charles Altfillisch

A Bellevue, Iowa, native, Altfillisch was the most important architect and engineer in Decorah’s history. He also designed many buildings across the upper Midwest, including numerous schools, the Allamakee County Courthouse, and three buildings at the University of Iowa. 

The Dutch Colonial Revival Weiser home, built in 1923 for Charles Weiser and his bride Dorothy Reeves as a wedding gift from his parents, was one of Altfillisch’s early projects. It includes distinctive interior woodwork, built-ins, and generous natural lighting. 

Altfillisch designed three other upper Broadway homes that reflect his developing aesthetic and his clients’ changing taste:

  • The 1929 English Cottage/New England Farmhouse style William B. and Sophia (Larson) Ingvoldstad home (704 W. Broadway).

  • The 1941 International Style Edward F. and Laura Mae (Barthell) Hagen home (302 Upper Broadway).

  • The 1960 Midwest Modern style Hjalmar and Helen (Arnold) Carlson home (303 Upper Broadway).

The exteriors of these three homes are described in the new brochure and can be visited on August 27, but the interiors will not be open to the public.

Said Nan St. Clair, a new DHPC member and co-owner of the 1860s West Broadway J. T. Relf house, “The four Altfillisch houses on Broadway near our house provide a striking overview of twentieth-century architectural history and are a reminder that ‘historic’ buildings come in many different flavors.” 

The DHPC Altfillisch project, which includes a printed brochure with four tours and extensive on-line materials, was in June awarded a “Preservation At Its Best” award at the annual state-sponsored preservation conference in Sioux City, Iowa. This brochure will also be available at the August 27 event. 

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission is a state-certified city board established in 2007 to promote the public’s educational and economic welfare through the recognition of historic sites. Contact: historicpreservation@decorahia.org.

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