Mineral Point couple works to preserve history at Walker House Inn
Mineral Point (WAOW) -
Mineral Point is a community in southern Wisconsin where many buildings were constructed using stone thanks to the influence of immigrants from Cornwall, England.
Central to this town's story is a building called the Walker House Inn. Nestled at the base of a hill in the town it's appearance displays a structured built in a different era.
But inside you'll discover a sense of hospitality that has been commonplace since it's beginning.
"When they come I'm usually on the porch to welcome them. I'm waiting for them like a mother hen," innkeeper Kathy Vaillancourt told Newsline 9.
Vaillancourt and her husband Dan are writing the most recent chapter of this inn's history, a story that started in 1836.
"It's had a continuous history of being a hotel and a restaurant for well over 150 years. That makes it one of the oldest functioning commercial buildings in the country," Dan Vaillancourt said.
Time moves at its own pace amid the inn's nine guest rooms. They're simple and bright, each exuding humble character.
"That's a unique feature of stone houses with very thick walls," Vaillancourt said showing off one of the inn's suites.
The furniture in the inn is made from local lumber. There are no televisions in the building, and just like hotels of its time, the nine guest rooms share common bathrooms.
The Vaillancourts say the absence of televisions gives families and guests the opportunity to focus on conversation and enjoying the building's historic charm.
"Within 15 minutes they're down, you know asking 'can we snoop around?' And I say of course! It's kind of like we're welcoming you into our home," Kathy Vaillancourt said smiling.
The appearance of the building's exterior is a story-telling topic as well. The building's stone facade has never been cleaned or power washed. It's appearance today is nearly identical to how it looked after it was originally constructed, according to the Vaillancourts.
"This building was built by Cornish miners. As they were digging under the surface they lived in the caves they dug like badgers," Vaillancourt said.
Those same caves that the miners excavated looking for lead ore gave rise to the name "Wisconsin Badgers", and were incorporated into the inn's Cornish pub as dining rooms.
"It's something we have to take care of, and nurture because it's been here for so long," Vaillancourt said.
And something the Vaillancourts wish to share with others.
Room rentals begin at $79 per night. Complimentary home-made breakfasts are offered to each guest.
For a room-by-room tour of the Walker House, or to make reservations, follow this link.