A short story about Tenney Park and the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, told by Nicholas Wiedenhoeft.
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Interviewer: So this is Joe Orman, on May 19, 2019 and I'm with-
Narrator:Nicholas Wiedenhoeft, the spelling of my name is W, I, E, D, E, N, H, O, E, F, T.
Interviewer: Now, you said that uh, in this neighborhood, you have a story about your house?
Narrator: Yes, I do, uh, our house, is, uh, an interesting and prominent house in the Tenney Park neighborhood but it's not well recorded and I continue to try to advocate with the city for that and it's sort of recorded now, but not exactly. Uhh, the story of our house and the reason that our house is not well recorded is because our house began life at 1224 Sherman Ave. It was originally constructed by a reverend named A.S. McGann [sp?]. Uh, he was listed in the city directory as a geologist and also as a reverend. So-
Narrator: I'm not sure if he taught at the university or what, if he was associated with them, but that was his, uh, his uh, his title in the directory in 1916. And in 1916 is the first recorded evidence that that house existed at 1224 Sherman Ave. Now, during the course of this home's life at 1224 Sherman Ave it was eventually sold to the Garver family of Garver Feed Mill fame. And the Garver family lived in it for a few years and then decided, "This house is too small us, cuz our house is only 2000 square feet".
Narrator: Uh, our house was then, uh, sold, to a Scottsman, I can't remember his name, but I've got it written down somewhere else. Anyway, it was sold to an individual uh in about 1927-28 and it was moved from the lot on Sherman Ave to 430 North Baldwin St and in 1928, I believe, the first record of 430 North Baldwin St arrives and that's when our house was moved to that site. So, our house includes some interesting interior items that wouldn't necessarily be in a normal house, especially not one built on Baldwin St. We have a huge picture window in the back that used to face the lake. And now it faces a very tiny backyard--
Narrator: on Baldwin St. We also have a, um, we have a maid's quarters, we have a servant's quarters and a servant's stairway. So there's a whole separate stairway, separate doors, uhh that goes up to an, what had been an, unheated room.
Narrator: And here, this poor maid, or whoever it was that was living in the room would be living in the winters in this terribly unheated room, and even, even now it's still kind of cold in there, even though there's a heat, a heat vent in there, it's like, "Oh my god". Uh, so clearly they weren't too concerned about the, the, heating the maid's room. Uhhh, and, I guess that's about all I wanted to say about that, is that, you know. Our house started life on Sherman Ave and then was moved at about 1928 and we've been searching for years to find, to try and find photographs of the move because we thought, this has got to be a big thing.
Narrator: There have got to be pictures. It may have been moved with a horse team, I'm not sure. Because houses were moved in the 19th century, and it was quite common. But I would expect that by 1916, 1928, excuse me, 27, 28, when our house would have been moved, it probably was moved with heavy trucks.
Narrator: But, as I say, we never have been able to find any documentation that it was moved.
Interviewer: Yea, that would be really interesting. So how long have you lived in that house?
Narrator: We've lived there since 2005.
Narrator: And, I did the research for this shortly after we moved in. And then did the research at the Historical Society and also at the, uh, State Historical Society library, and also through the city, umm, what do they call it? The city building permit people, I forget what they're called.
Interviewer: Right, right, yea, so, were you living in this neighborhood originally or had you moved?
Narrator: I had actually lived, prior to that, I lived just up the hill at 2-, 214 N Baldwin St...
Narrator: Which was the house that was built by John Erdahl. He was, it was his second house that he built right after he got out of, uhhh, out of, law school.
Narrator: And, he built the third house on Sherman Ave. It was the first house built on Sherman Ave, so, and that's a very large, uh, [unintelligible]. So, he just kept, making more and more money, and building bigger houses.
Interviewer: Building bigger houses, yea. Alrighty, so in terms of the park, umm, since you've been living in the neighborhood for a while, do you have any specific memories of the park, or anything like that?
Narrator: Oh yes, I mean, the, I've been coming to this park uh probably since I was a child because my parents originally lived in Madison.
Narrator: And then they moved to the Twin Cities and I originally lived in Madison and I actually came back to go to the university. And, uhh, during my time at the university, umm, I lived, when I was in graduate school, I lived on umm, out to the east a little bit farther from here. I can't remember the name of the street. Out by 1st Street.
Narrator: Area, by East Washington, by East High School. And I would just come to Tenney Park all the time. I'd ride my bike down here, come down here. So it's been a haven and a really pleasant place to come uhh, for, for decades for me. And I've visited friends here, I've had celebrations here. I've had my 50th wedding, oh no, my 50th birthday, my 50th, not my 50th wed- my 50th birthday. Not that old. My 50th birthday right here in this particular pavilion right after it was built.
Interviewer: That's great.
Narrator: That was about six years ago I had that. And, uh, yea, Tenney Park is, we're really glad to have Tenney Park. It's a traditional park in many respects, because of the time period that it was designed and you don't see parks designed like this anymore. That would be uncommon to see someone go to the trouble of creating a park design that included a lagoon, or follies, I believe there traditionally were some follies that were incorporated in this but now the bridge is, I think, the only thing left, the stone bridges. Uh, and, you know it is a traditional park, but that makes it a really wonderful resource and makes it a wonderful link, a living link with our own history. So, we hope that Tenney Park would continue to be maintained and enjoyed for generations to come.
Interviewer: I hope so as well.
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