A Little Time and a Keyboard: History Surrounds While Experiencing Janesville Using the Clio App

Friday, September 25, 2020

History Surrounds While Experiencing Janesville Using the Clio App

 

History Surrounds While Experiencing Janesville Using the Clio App

History Surrounds While Experiencing Janesville, Wisconsin Using the Clio App to Discover Interesting Facts About the Past

** Disclosure: Thank you to the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for hosting us and accommodating our visit. All opinions are 100% my own.

While delighting in a stroll around downtown Janesville, Wisconsin, one easily notes the historic character of the buildings. Encountering a historic structure ignites questions about stories to be discovered. The Rock County Historical Society has programmed more than 80 historic sites into the Clio App to help visitors discover the Janesville history all around them. We appreciated a morning using the Clio App to uncover fascinating facts throughout the city.

Thomas Lappin's Italianate Mansion dazzles with ornate features.
Thomas Lappin's Italianate Mansion dazzles with ornate features

With so many historic structures and spots all around Janesville, the Clio App makes learning interesting tidbits so easy. We downloaded the app before our visit. When we opened the Clio App at a variety of locations, we discovered a map with nearby spots of interests pinned for simple discovery. No matter where we were in Janesville, we uncovered new intriguing snippets of the past. I always find it so amazing how much history surrounds us! 

Uncovering the history of Janesville on a self guided walking tour.
Uncovering the history of Janesville on a self guided walking tour.

Since childhood, I have been enchanted by historic homes. I marvel at the changes in architecture over the years. I immediately fell in love with the Italianate Thomas Lappin House constructed in 1864 for Janesville's first merchant, Thomas Lappin. The mansion awes with elegant corbels, intricate lace design and elegant columns. Without the Clio App, I may not have discovered this architectural treasure!

Allen Perry Lovejoy's 1881 home captures the charm of a bygone era.
Allen Perry Lovejoy's 1881 home captures the charm of a bygone era.

Just footsteps from the Thomas Lappin House, we uncovered more Janesville history with ease using the Clio App. The nearby Lovejoy House embodied the charm and formality of a bygone era. The home was built in 1881 for businessman and politician Allen Perry Lovejoy who once was mayor of Janesville. The home was constructed in the whimsical "Douglas Style" of Milwaukee architect James Douglas. Just beautiful!

Carnegie donated funds in support of the Janesville Free Public Library.
Carnegie donated funds in support of the Janesville Free Public Library.

We truly encountered some unexpected history on our self guided tour. For example, Andrew Carnegie donated funds for the establishment of the Janesville Free Public Library. I had no idea that he had donated to create free libraries around the country! Of course, it is pretty interesting to note the distinct architectural styles with the library representing the stately Neoclassical style we are familiar with from so many courthouses and museums constructed at the turn of the century.

The stately Second Empire style impresses!
The stately Second Empire style impresses!

While exploring Janesville, I absolutely marveled at the classical formality of the above cream brick building. The flat and formal roof with fancy dormer windows reminded me of buildings hugging busy rues in Paris. I soon learned that I was on the right track and the building was constructed in the Second Empire style! Interestingly, the structure was constructed in 1868 by the Court Street Methodist Church. The church inhabited the 2nd and 3rd floors while the 1st floor served as retail space. Notable tenants included JC Penney, Kroger, Hardman Pianos, Rock County Appliance and TV and more. In 2015, the 2nd and 3rd floors were restored bringing elegance back to the historic structure. Now, the upper floors provide a magical spot for events and the first floor retains its retail heritage.

The Old London Hotel's regal turret enchants.
The Old London Hotel's regal turret enchants.

A royal turret and enchanting bay windows piqued curiosity as we approached one of Janesville's interesting historic blocks. Fashioned in the Queen Anne style, the old London Hotel certainly adds royal fancy to the city. Thanks to the Clio App, we learned that it was uncommon for commercial buildings to be constructed in the Queen Anne style at the time of the hotel's construction in 1892. Such an architectural gem!

With so many historic sites throughout Janesville positioned in the Clio App by the Rock County Historical Society, anyone can learn more about the heartbeat of the city from any point effortlessly. The Clio App is easy to download and use inviting visitors to free self guided adventures at anytime. I will definitely be using it on future visits to Janesville to unwrap additional treasures.

For more on Janesville, see my post: A Weekend Full of Art, History, Nature and Foodie Discoveries in Janesville, WI: A Complete Getaway for Couples 

History Surrounds While Experiencing Janesville, Wisconsin Using the Clio App




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