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Original Dawn Manor components in storage, frame knocked down

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Dawn Manor, a historic Lake Delton house being relocated from its original property, has all of its historic components stored while its owner seeks a Dells area location.

Original stonework, woodwork, and other hardware original to the house has been wrapped and stored away on 94 total pallets, according to owner Steve Uphoff. Uphoff worked with Amish contractor Jacob Mast to preserve the original parts of the house, which he will use to reconstruct it in another area and exhibit as a private event venue honoring the mid-1800s, the time period in which the house was built (in 1855).

“We made the decision that we would basically cannibalize the building, removing from it every single piece of hardware,” said Uphoff. “Wood, staircase, beams, flooring, and stone from the house, that was original. It was 94 pallets of Potsdam Sandstone we removed.”

Uphoff said the Mast family spent 2½ months removing the stonework from the building “by hand.” He added that stained glass was also part of the components that were saved. A new location is still not specified, but Uphoff said he has narrowed it down to four spots in the Dells area.

“The whole purpose was to preserve Dawn Manor,” said Uphoff.

“He has gone to an unbelievable expense of taking every single piece of stone down, piece by piece, labeling it where it was,” said Lake Delton village trustee Tom Diehl. “Those people were there one heck of a long time dismantling that. It’s all stored off site.”

After Uphoff and the contractors completed the process of storing the original components, the frame was knocked down by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, which now owns the land. There are no current updates from the resort on what it plans to do with the vacant property.

“The only thing that was taken down was the physical wood structure that was still left after we took all of our materials,” said Uphoff.

Following the demolition of the frame of the house, social media comments indicated that the entire house was demolished, which Uphoff said were inaccurate and were upsetting to him.

“It hurts me terribly when I hear that Dawn Manor was destroyed and not preserved and no one cared about the history,” said Uphoff. “That is exactly the opposite. We cared so much that we spent 2½ months taking every stone off of it, wrapping it in cellophane and having it stored.”

Architectural Design Consultants was also involved in the process, as Uphoff hired the company to “painstakingly measure every square inch of that house” in order to duplicate the structure in another location.

“Every hinge, every doorknob has been saved,” said Uphoff.

In 2017, Uphoff purchased Dawn Manor (the house and its surrounding land) from previous owner George Raab, whose family has a deep history with the house. Uphoff sold the land to Kalahari’s owner Todd Nelson in August of last year and maintained ownership of the structure as part of the purchase.

“Steve concluded everything he needed,” said Lake Delton village trustee Tom Diehl. “All the stonework was tagged and labeled. When he finds the location that he’s going to redo it, he has all the components to reproduce it the way it was.”

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Dawn Manor, a historic Lake Delton house built in 1855, is in the early process of being relocated. The house, which was owned at a time by W.J. Newman, the creator of Lake Delton, was built by Captain Abraham Vanderpoel, one of the signers of the Wisconsin Constitution.

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