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4718 Monona Drive


Nathaniel W. Dean (1817-1880) came to Madison from Massachusetts in 1842 and became a retail merchant, State assemblyman, U.W. Regent and a stock holder in insurance companies, railroads and the Park Hotel.  Dean also operated a real estate business, which included buying and selling a considerable amount of the property in the Madison and Blooming Grove area.  Examples of his community spirit are evident in donations of land for the original Blooming Grove Town Hall (corner of E. Dean Ave. & Monona Dr., torn down in 1967) and the Blooming Grove “Commonwealth” Cemetery on Pflaum Road.

Nathaniel Dean married Harriet Hickock Morrison in 1847.  They had one child William Morrison Dean who lived just 18 months, 1849-1851.   After selling his King Street general store in 1853, Nathaniel & Harriet Dean built this Italinate-style, cream-brick house in 1856 as the nucleus of their 500-acre dairy farm called Winnetoon, raising Alderney cows (similar to Guernsey & Jersey cows) with the help of a farm manager and hire farm hands.  They lived on the farm for 15 years before moving into the Park Hotel that Nathaniel Dean helped to establish.

Nathaniel Dean died in 1880 and is buried next to his son in Forest Hill Cemetery.  Harriet sold the house and farm to Frank Allis and moved to Denver Colorado where she met and married David Morrill.  They moved to California.  She died there in 1900 and is buried next to her second husband in his hometown of Lansing, Kansas.

Frank Allis owned the house and property, renting it to tenant farmers, until 1916 when he sold it to Adolph Kayser (then Mayor of Madison).  He owned it until 1922 when he sold it to a group of businessmen who turned it into a golf course, using the house for a clubhouse, until the Depression caused the private club to fail.  In 1938 the City of Madison bought the Monona Golf Course and continued to use the “Dean House” as the club house.


When the city of Madison determined that the “Dean House” was no longer suitable for a clubhouse and built a new one nearby, the old cream brick building was slated to be raze in 1971.  The newly formed Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society decided to ask the City for a lease so that they could give the house a “new lease on life” by assuming responsibility for restoring and using the building. 


The Nathaniel and Harriet Dean House has become a City of Madison Landmark and it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Currently the House serves as a facility for the collection, display and teaching of the history of the township of Blooming Grove. Monona and southeast Madison.  It is also an historic house museum with 9 rooms decorated in the Victorian style that demonstrate how the Deans would have lived in that time period. 


The Society conducts tours of the House for families and school classes, presents programs and events such as a series of summer Back Porch Concerts, and helps researchers with their local history projects. The House and back porch are also available for community groups and individuals to hold meetings and events.

Harriet Morrison Dean

Nathaniel W. Dean

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