IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

Alberta House

The E.T. Albert stone house
Union City twp., Allamakee co. Iowa

The Alberta House, Union City twp. - Tribune photo, ca 1965

This house of native limestone is the oldest remaining stone house in Allamakee County, Iowa, and is located in the Town of Union City. It was originally built as a wayside inn to serve travelers on the main trail from Lansing to Minnesota. Now owned by Albert and Charles Hartley, the sturdy, dignified house was built about 1856 or 1857 by E.T. Albert, who came out west from Ohio. The sentry at the gate was not identified.

The E.T. Albert stone house
Allamakee Stone House One Of Last Landmarks

One of the few remaining historical landmarks in Allamakee County is the old stone house on the farm of Charles and Albert Hartley in the Town of Union City.

The house, built of native limestone, was erected by E.T. Albert, who came out from Ohio in 1856, and he called it the "Alberta House" to serve as a wayside hotel. The historic inn was located on what was then the main trail from Lansing to points in Minnesota. It is the oldest stone house in Allamakee County.

The structure, which remains almost as it was 100 years ago, has a gable and balcony on the front and the original wide windowsills. The green blinds were removed a few years ago, and additions and alterations have been made to the rear of the building. The house commands a beautiful view, situated as it is at the foot of a high bluff facing the Iowa River to the south.

It is well known throughout the area and Southern Minnesota and is closely associated with the Indian massacre at New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1862, when it was used as a fort. Settlers, learning of the stone house with its three-foot-thick walls, came from miles around to seek refuge when it was known the Indians were headed south, burning buildings and killing en route. During this time the men collected firearms and shot moulds to be in readiness for any emergency. After a few days those who had taken refuge in the house learned that the Indians had become panicky and had not come nearer than 75 miles. The settlers then returned to their homes. So great was the scare that the residents of Lansing had engaged staterooms on the larger boats plying the Mississippi River and planned to flee as soon as the Indians appeared.

The historic Alberta House was sold by Albert to his brother-in-law, John Gilchrist, in 1864, and Joseph Hartley became its owner in 1902. Since his death the farm on which it is located has been managed by his two sons.

~source: La Crosse Tribune clipping (undated, but other news clippings on the same page of the scrapbook were dated 1965.)
~contributed by Erin Wilker

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