Centennial open house at historic Weiser home Aug. 27

An open house will be held Sunday, Aug. 27, at the historic Charles Altfillisch-designed 609 W. Broadway home in Decorah to celebrate 100 years since the home’s construction. (submitted photo)

The owners of the 609 W. Broadway Weiser house, Susan and Dale Goodman, along with the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission (DHPC) invite the public to an open house Sunday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 4 p.m., 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 patio.  A newly-printed brochure will showcase the home’s features and identify three other homes designed by Charles Altfillisch 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, providing most of the refreshments, and funding this new open-house brochure.”

Charles Altfillisch

A native of Bellevue, Altfillisch was the most important architect and engineer in Decorah’s history.  

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 Charles Altfillisch’s early projects. 

The residence cludes distinctive interior woodwork, built-ins and generous natural lighting. 

Altfillisch designed three other upper Broadway homes reflecting his developing aesthetic and his clients’ changing taste over the decades: 704 W. Broadway, and 302 and 303 Upper Broadway.

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 Aug. 27, but these interiors will not be open to the public.

Said Nan St. Clair, a new DHPC member and co-owner of the 1860s 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 was awarded “Preservation At Its Best” in June at the annual state preservation conference in Sioux City, which includes a printed brochure with four tours and extensive online materials, which will be available at the Aug. 27 event. 

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