1892 Queen Anne featured on Historic House Tour

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Shelly Birkelo
Sunday, September 15, 2013

JANESVILLE—The engraved granite plaque centered in the paved red brick walk proclaims William Ashcraft as builder of the 1892 Queen Anne style house, located in the Courthouse Hill Historic District. The home will greet visitors on the Sunday, Sept. 29, Rock County Historical Society Historic House Tour.

Owners and history buffs Sharon Goecks-Drake and David Drake explained their willingness to open their 14-room house at 302 E. Van Buren St., to the public.

“We love this neighborhood and old homes and want people to realize the rich history Janesville has,” David said.

“These houses have souls of the past of our city. They're more than a house. They are part of the history of a neighborhood, he said.

“We want to have people come enjoy the homes like all of us who live in them,” Sharon said.

The home, which boasts 60 windows on its four floors, is among eight buildings on the 33rd annual tour.

The Drakes want tour participants to know it took more than two months to have the exterior of their home painted. It was the first time in 15 years and it includes three colors—green with an off-white trim and burgundy wine accents.

It's more appealing than the previous salmon color and inspiring with its simple elegance of three colors instead of four, Sharon said.

“We wanted it to have new life,” David said.

“It looked tired,” Sharon added.

Modern conveniences mixed with old-world charm perfectly describe the Drake home they bought in April 2005.

Since then they have installed an intercom, security and sound system; central vacuum, a new hot water heater and water softener, added landscaping that features an English garden, a new patio with a fountain, painted all but three of the home's 14 rooms, painted the exterior, put a new roof on the two-vehicle garage and built a limestone wall along the southwest side of the yard.

So if you missed the house when it was previously featured on the historic house tour and Beloit Janesville Symphony Holiday House Walk, you have the opportunity to do so now.

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