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A new life given to an old stone house
Hamilton Goebel House
The Hamilton Goebel House is located at 632 East Street in Darlington and can be rented out via the AirBnB website. - photo by By Kayla Barnes

DARLINGTON – At almost 180 years old, the old stone house located on 632 East Street is sporting a new name, a new look and a new purpose.

Darlington residents Josh and Nicki Goebel are proud to introduce the Hamilton Goebel House after months of reconstruction and renovation on Saturday, Aug. 17 at noon for an open house to the public to come look at their masterpiece that will now be an Airbnb.

They purchased the property in April of this year after it had been on the agenda of the Darlington City Council for years because of its dilapidated state. Then in January, it was on the agenda for a raze order. Josh knew there was more to the property than meets the eye and he needed to do something.

“I went to the meeting and told them to take no action for 30 days. Before I left, I had contacted the man that owned it and had a verbal agreement to purchase it,” Josh explained.

Within 24 hours, they had a signed offer to purchase the property.

The house was in pretty rough shape when Josh got his hands on it.

“It was in shambles. The west side of the house was in rough shape but it wasn’t going to fall down. The rock outside was falling apart but the house was sound,” Josh said.

The Goebel’s have done some extensive history research on the home. The people who built the house began in 1833 and finished in 1840. Jameson Hamilton, the person who established Darlington, owned the land the house was built on but it is unknown if he was the one who built the home. Josh was able to find information back until 1877 when Hamilton Gray owned the home.

“It has been hard to find the history on the house. I have had to search through the register of deeds, flipping through titles, searching for plots of land. Several people have tried to do research on it but couldn’t hit the lucky charm and I finally did.”

At that time the land was not part of the city so there was no set plot of land for this house. The only thing he was able to find in the home was a letter dated 1922 to a Nelson with a Platteville address.

“I would love it if someone could find more stuff,” Josh hoped.

On April 13, demolition began. They were able to gut the entire inside of the house and left nothing in there. They completely changed the layout of the inside of the house. The house boasts all new plumbing, sewer, electric, HVAC, windows, doors and spray foam insulation.

The kitchen addition was added to the west side of the house where a kitchen had been part of the home previously. Josh was able to find out exactly where the kitchen was by speaking with someone who had lived there during the 1950s and had pictures of the house. To pay homage to that former kitchen, remnants of the kitchen roofline can be found inside the house, signified by a line of tar that held it to the home. 

They filled in the basement, did masonry work on the outside of the house, added the copper roof, front porch, swings and dormer, and cleaned up the yard. To add a nostalgia factor to the home, all of the trim in the house is the old lumber that was left in the house. Josh milled it down and finished it. The cedar shakes on the dormer on the porch are the original cedar shakes off the house. The beams of the porch are the part of the floorboards from the house.

“The porch posts are old cedar telephone posts that I hand peeled. The upstairs floor is a salvaged floor (that his daughter sanded and refinished herself). I wanted to keep the old feel to the house,” Josh said.

Josh estimates that all his workers and other sub contractors put about 5,300 hours into the complete renovation of the house as well.

When the Goebel’s purchased the property, they didn’t have any intentions for the house other than renovate it to rent it or sell it, but with more information found on the history of the home, other ideas came to mind.

“We heard a story that the house was a stop for the stage coach on the Wiota Trail,” Nicki said. “We thought that if it was for travelers then it would be neat to make it for travelers again.”

The 1,720 sq. ft. home with four bedrooms, two full bath rooms, full kitchen (dishes, utensils, and cooking supplies included), laundry, high speed internet, and six televisions, can sleep up to 12 people. It can be rented on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis. People can use the space for a girls night event, bridal or baby showers, a place for wedding parties to get ready or just a family get together for the holidays. To rent the place, it is listed on the Airbnb website under the Hamilton Goebel House or people can call Nicki at 608-482-3936 for information.

The open house on Aug. 17 invites everyone to come and take a look at this historical home. The Lafayette County Historical Society will provide a lunch of barbeque sandwiches, desserts and drinks and any donations given will go towards the Historical Society.

 The stone house is able to keep living its life and share that life with many