The Dovecote House
A dovecote, or pigeon house.
Undated photo.
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Stop Six

THE DOVECOTE HOUSE

Continuing left on Main Street and just a few blocks up on the right, Isaac Walker built the Dovecote house around 1830 for his daughter Cornelia and her husband Thomas Jefferson Burney.  Though this was a mere 20 years after the founding of Madison, archaeological digs here have uncovered evidence of several buildings on the lot before this home, including a tavern.  The story is told that, during the 1869 fire that destroyed downtown, this house was saved by covering the roof and walls with wet carpets and blankets, keeping sparks from igniting the structure.

The original appearance of this house is unknown but was most likely Federal in style. Sometime around 1895, Martin L. Richter renovated the home, giving it the effusive architectural details we see today.  It was during this time that the dovecote, seen in the side yard, was constructed. Dovecotes, or pigeon houses, were used to raise squab for the dinner table.  Also on the property but now gone was a “five hole” privy decorated in the same style as the house.

For several years, Dovecote was used as a bank but was returned to residential use in the early 2000s.

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