The Carter House

The museum is located in what was locally known as the “Old Carter House.”  But it had a life of its own prior to being bought by Henry Carter in 1920.

The building and property history begins with Samuel Shaw, the founder of Crandon.  Shaw was the original developer and platted the city.  On July 8, 1902, Mr. Shaw and his wife Louise sold the property where the museum now sits to the Rt. Reverend R.H. Weller, John Boyd, and G.C. Hauser, trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Crandon.  The property, Lot 5, Block 4, of Shaw’s First Addition sold for the sum of $175.

By August of 1902, a building was under construction on the property with the guidance of W.E. Laird, who was also the contractor for the old high school and numerous other buildings in Crandon.

The first services at the new “Guild Hall” were held in November of 1902 with the Reverend G. Babcock presiding.  It was not consecrated as a church so anyone who was interested in renting the hall could do so as long as the entertainment presented was “respectable.”

In May of 1903, the hall was sold for taxes.  A reorganization of the church took place and it became St. Clement’s Mission.  Officers of the mission were:  Wardens H.C. Terry and James L. Walsh, M.D., Treasurer E.C. Paul, and Clerk G.C. Hauser.  There were about 15 families who were supporters and members of the mission.  Lack of support caused the failure of the mission by 1910. 

By February of 1912, the property had again changed hands.  A warranty deed was made between the trustees of the church and E.R. Murphy.  The deed was subject to a $600 mortgage.  In 1914, Murphy and his wife Marie gave a warranty deed to the trustees of the church, again subject to a mortgage. 

In 1919, the property was sold to the Forest County Military Association for $550.  So, during its early history, the museum building was used as a community hall where church services, meetings and dances were held. 

In 1920 Henry Carter and his sons Walter, Lester and Lyle built the building on Lake Avenue which now houses LaFetta restaurant.  (This building is directly to the east of the museum.)  The building was constructed to house their business which originally involved selling Fordson tractors.  It eventually became a Ford dealership and then a Chevrolet and GM dealership.  It must have seemed logical to the Carters in 1920 that they should also acquire the building directly behind their new business to remodel into their home.  Therefore, they purchased the building (the current museum) from the Forest County Military Association. 

When the Carters bought the house, the front door of the building faced west and the back door faced north.  When the building was used as a dance hall, the back door room was where admission was paid and the room next to it, the current museum office, was the coat room. When the Carters bought the building, they had it turned so that the front door now faces north and the back door faces east.  It appears that the building was extended and another door added on the north side.  Mr. Carter put in walls, windows, plumbing and light fixtures.  He had stucco put on the outside which made it reminiscent of the buildings in Pembridge, Herefordshire, England where he grew up.  (Unfortunately, the stucco deteriorated, was too expensive to repair, and had to be replaced with wood siding by the Historical Society.)

In 1932, the deed for the property was changed to show Henry’s wife, Etta Carter, as the owner.  In 1957, after Etta’s death, their daughter and her husband, Marie Carter Poppy and Ervin Poppy became the owners.  They rented it as a home and one of the families also held church services there.  Marie eventually sold the property to Henry and Etta’s grandson, Glenn Carter.  Glenn rented the building to Carolyn Bailey who ran a gift/antique/art store there.  Glenn sold the building to the Historical Society in July of 1994.