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Mellette House - Watertown, SD
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 44° 54.424 W 097° 07.285
14T E 648300 N 4974343
Quick Description: Mellette House was built by Arthur Calvin Mellette and his wife, Margaret Wylie Mellette, and four sons on Prospect Hill in Watertown, Dakota Territory about 1885. The house was constructed in the Italianate style which was popular in the period.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 7/3/2007 8:47:09 PM
Waymark Code: WM1RW3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 35

Long Description:
Mellette House was constructed of bricks made in a local brick yard owned by Mellette and his friend and business partner, William McIntyre.

The most imposing feature of the house is a massive circular staircase which ascends from the ground floor through the second story and into a small tower room located on the third floor. The staircase is said to have been built in Minnesota and sent by train to Watertown for installation in the House. It is one of the House’s most beautiful and arresting features.

Also on the first floor are a library/office, a magnificent double parlor, a dining room,, and a kitchen with pantry. After the Mellette family’s tenure in the House, a carriage house/garage was added to the property and that has been retained. Today it serves as a museum which houses Mellette family and early Watertown memorabilia.
The House was a lively place when the Mellettes were in residence. The large double parlor, west parlor, and dining room were the site of many elegant parties and political gatherings . You can almost hear the voices and music of the time.

The second floor contains a sitting room, four bedrooms, and dressing room. The third floor tower room is a small room which provides an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside. It is primarily a reflection of the architectural style of the period rather than a truly usable room in the House. The back stairs lead to the pantry and kitchen.

After the Mellette family left the house and Watertown in 1895 it served as a private residence for many years. In 1929 Watertown ’s first radio station found a home in the Mellette House. Eventually it was divided into an upstairs and downstairs apartment and then slid into a steady decline. In 1943 it was condemned by the Fire Department and slated for demolition.

The Mellette Memorial Association was then formed to save the House After much fund raising the property was purchased for $500.00. Work was immediately started to restore the house to its former glory.
In 1953 Charles Mellette, the last surviving Mellette son, gave many of the original furnishings, personal papers, paintings, and even some of his parents' clothing to the Mellette Memorial Association. The House was opened to the public for tours.

Street address:
421 5th Ave., NW
Watertown, SD USA


County / Borough / Parish: Codington

Year listed: 1976

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Person, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1875-1899

Historic function: Domestic

Current function: Museum

Privately owned?: yes

Season start / Season finish: From: 5/1/2007 To: 10/1/2007

Hours of operation: From: 1:00 PM To: 5:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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manicgecko visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 2/16/2014 manicgecko visited it
Peter and Gloria visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 6/9/2013 Peter and Gloria visited it
stlee visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 10/16/2012 stlee visited it
NGComets visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 4/14/2009 NGComets visited it
plainsdrifter358 visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 8/6/2007 plainsdrifter358 visited it
MNSearchers visited Mellette House - Watertown, SD 7/2/2007 MNSearchers visited it

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