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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group’s 2018 Fall Home Tour Saturday, November 17, will feature seven residences located in the village and out in the country.
Tickets are $8 each for the Fall Home Tour and will be available at the Grapevine Senior Center craft sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at all of the homes on the tour from noon to 4 p.m.
Refreshments will be served at the Tapestry Trunk Bed and Breakfast at 503 Pine Street.
Proceeds from the Fall Home Tour will go to the Colfax Municipal Building elevator fund.
Here are the homes on the tour.
Ron and Joyce Hoffman; N8780 County Road A.
The Hoffmans moved to this address in January of 1978. Over the years, they remodeled and updated the house, which included adding a second floor to half of the house, replacing windows and flooring and updating the electrical service. By 2012, the house needed more work, and it was to the point of either putting a ton of money into it, or tearing it down.
Ron and Joyce thought about selling the house, but every time they drove up their driveway, Ron would say, “This is home.”
“So we looked into building a new house. We designed it with three things in mind: to take advantage of the view, make it handicap accessible so we could live here another 30 years, and having it be energy efficient,” Joyce said.
Ron drew up the plans for the house, and it was built in 2013 by Jim Herrick and his crew. The old house was torn down in June, the new house was started in July, and the Hoffmans moved in early in December.
The house is a 3,000 square-foot ranch-style house with a walkout basement and an attached two-car garage.
One unique feature of the house is that it is handicapped accessible and includes an open floor plan with doors wide enough to maneuver a wheelchair. The master bedroom has a bathroom and walk-in shower accessible by wheelchair. Electrical outlets are 18 inches off the floor to reduce the bending needed to plug in cords.
“At this point in our lives, we don’t need the handicap features. It has been useful for our elderly parents who have mobility issues and have used wheelchairs. It is the easiest house of any of our siblings for them to visit,” Joyce said.
One of the Hoffmans’ favorite parts of the house is the geothermal heating and cooling system. The biggest operating cost is the electricity it takes to run the fan.
“We didn’t have air conditioning in our old house, so it is a treat in the summer to be able to have the house cool. Our electrical bills are very reasonable. Over the course of a year, we spend about $1,500 for all of our electrical needs,” Joyce said.
Another favorite feature is the view. The dining room and living room have large windows facing fields and a ridge.
“We enjoy the changing view of the hills and keep an eye on the wildlife,” Joyce said.
The house has windows facing in all directions, which keeps the house full of light all day long, especially late in the afternoon from the windows facing west, she said.
The Hoffmans have been working on family genealogy and have discovered Ron’s great-grandfather grew up in Emerald and worked for the railroad in Albertville in the late 1890s. They have a picture of him taken with the the section crew in 1894.
The original building located where the Hoffmans’ house is now was a cabin built by the railroad for workers.
“We think Ron’s great-grandfather probably stayed at the location of our house while he was working for the railroad in Albertville,” Joyce said.
The railroad tracks originally came up county Highway A to the south of the Hoffmans’ driveway.
“When we drive down our driveway and stop at the end, we can see the remnants of the old train bed in the field across the road,” Joyce said.
The railroad sold the property to Ole Svenson in 1897. Svenson built a two-story addition that was the main part of the Hoffmans’ old house. The cabin was removed in 1966. A basement was added and a new kitchen was built before the Hoffmans purchased the property in 1978.
Tom and Pam Moen; 705 University Avenue.
The house where Tom and Pam Moen live was built in 1936, possibly by Hjalmer Teppen.
A.J. Martin, Colfax, WI, is stamped on the newel posts of the staircase.
The house has original windows, woodwork and hardwood floors, front and interior doors.
“We bought the house in 1987 from the Marvin Hurley estate. Marvin was the buttermaker at the creamery. According to Cliff Peterson, Marvin had laid all of the stone for the driveway and sidewalk walls,” Pam said.
The house has three bedrooms upstairs, and one bedroom, the kitchen, living/dining room and a bath on the main floor, along with a “man cave/Packer basement.”
If weather permits, the backyard chicken coop and potting shed will be available for the home tour, too.
“We raised our children here — very convenient with the school in our backyard. We have always loved the home, and we never felt the need to change it or the desire for a different house,” Pam said.
Jane Beckwith; 210 Main Street.
Jane Beckwith has lived in the “blue house on Main Street” for just over a year.
“It’s a cute little house. Just the right size for me,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith was looking for a house to buy, and when she saw the 20-foot by 23-foot living room, she knew that the house was “the one.”
“I have a grand piano. I knew it would fit in the living room,” she said.
The front part of the living room was originally a porch that a previous owner opened up and added to the living room, Beckwith noted.
A small room off the kitchen previously had been used as a bedroom. She now uses the small room as a dining room.
New cupboards were installed in the kitchen in 2010 that were “opened up to see through,” she said.
The house also has an open stairway.
“It’s perfect for me,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith said she has been told the house was built in 1932 and that it had been moved to its present location from out by Tom Prince Memorial Park.
Beckwith says for many people who live in Colfax, when she says she bought “Bonnie Peterson’s house,” they know the house.
The downstairs will be open for the tour of homes but not the upstairs because “it’s not a safe landing,” she said.
Beckwith moved to Colfax from Menomonie and had lived in Arizona prior to moving to Menomonie.
Before moving to Arizona, she lived in Knapp.
“I was the first person to own a beauty salon in Knapp. I actually had two salons in Knapp,” she said.
Beckwith searched for homes in all the small towns in this area and is glad to she found a house in Colfax.
“Colfax is nice and quiet,” she said.
Rand and Jill Bates; E9260 830th/Bear Valley Road.
Rand and Jill Bates began building their house in 2015 and moved into it in 2016.
“We did most of the work ourselves,” Jill said.
The house is built on a slab with two bedrooms, one and a half baths with all in-floor heat throughout the house and garage and a small storm shelter in the garage.
“The most unique thing about our house is probably the barn beam light fixture in the kitchen and our island made out of barn boards and old tin — all made by Randy. Our favorite thing about the house is our wrap around porch and our views,” Jill said.
Kathy Rieder; 315 West River Street.
After selling her house on University Avenue, Kathy Rieder moved into her new home at 315 West River Street this fall.
The building has served as the location for a variety of businesses, but several years ago, it was turned into a private residence/apartment.
At one time, the building housed a shoe shop owned and operated by Arnold and Melvina Solberg.
The building also served as an appliance shop for Hovre Chevrolet.
According to the April 20, 1967, Colfax Messenger, Hovre Chevrolet also was selling Lawn Boy mowers and Frigidaire appliances at that time.
The building has housed a bank as well as Cafe 44 (an Internet cafe), and a bakery.
Rieder says she wanted to downsize from her house on University and is happy her new apartment was available when she needed it.
Dave and Jenny Almquist; 603 First Street.
The Almquists have been told Dr. Larsen, who was a physician in Colfax for many years, built their house in 1899.
The house originally was a small Victorian cottage with a wrap-around porch, and Dr. Larsen practiced medicine out of the home.
Jenny Almquist said they have also been told Dr. Larsen was part of the community band in Colfax.
The stained glass window is original to the house, and there is a small BB hole in the glass from when Juul Noer and his sister were playing inside the house when they were young.
The house now has five bedrooms and two baths and has original wide, solid wood trim and the original staircase.
In the yard, many original white oak trees still stand, Jenny noted.
The Tapestry Trunk Bed & Breakfast at 503 Pine Street is owned and operated by Susan Hill of Colfax.
During the Tour of Homes, Hill will be serving refreshments.
Hill opened the Tapestry Trunk in 2015.
The bed and breakfast is a “modest” older home built in 1910 for the Lewis Rowe family. Rowe was an early blacksmith in the village.
Sometime around 1945, the house at 503 Pine Street was purchased by Hill’s aunt and uncle, Edna and Elmer Hill.
Edna and Elmer’s three daughters and two sons grew up in the house.
In the early 1980s, almost 40 years later, Elmer Hill retired from the Colfax Oil Company, and Edna and Elmer moved to their lake home.
Each of the four guest rooms in the Tapestry Trunk is decorated with a unique theme (Golden Traveler’s Room; Red and White Lighthouse Room; By the Seashore Blue Room; and the Green Up North Room).
Hill’s slogan for the Tapestry Trunk is, “Who says you can’t go home again?”
In addition to the themed bedrooms, the Tapestry Trunk features a spacious kitchen bright with natural light and patio doors opening onto a deck.