seems that nobody ever really completely possesses a Cedarburg
stone house. Each resident adds his own history to the building,
each family leaves its imprint, but Cedarburg stone homes survive
their owners. These houses become celebrities in their own right.
David Welkys home has been no exception.
Sold to him in 1996, Welky spotted
the house ten years ago while walking through Cedarburg with his
brotherit wasnt for sale at the time. He waited. It finally
went on the market by the owner, but was priced too high for Welky.
It was in need of repairs, and when it didnt sell over the
coming months, the price dropped and Welky bought it. Living alone
in the home on Tyler Street, near Cedar Creek and only a stones
throw from the modern-day location of the Cedarburg Fire
Department, Welky has done more to change the complexion of the
house than all of its previous owners combined.
Welky has worked on the house for
two and a half years, including one year when he took off
completely from his automotive after-market Internet company and
devoted all of his time to renovating the historic stone home. He
completely redid the floor plan of the house by moving the cellar
stairway from the kitchen to a small closet in the center of the
home. The house had only half a cellar, with the other half
remaining a small crawl space.
For one and a half years, I
removed chest-deep rock and clay from the crawl space by hand,
Welky says. One day I would move the debris into the cellar
half of the house, and the next day I would empty it onto the
driveway for removal. He removed a total of 52 yards of clay,
rock and dirt, and with the movement of the cellar stairs, gave
the house a larger kitchen, created a full basement, and make
heating the house easier with the warm air flow under the living
After creating the full basement,
Welky installed cherry cabinets made by Schuette Woodcraft in
Cedarburg, granite countertops and marble flooring and an oven and
range with a copper hood. He also built an arched cherry doorway
going into the garage, a nine-foot column in one corner of the
kitchen, an archway between the kitchen and dining room and
coffered ceilings in the living room, dining room, and den. Welky
installed French doors between the den and dining room, and added
alabaster stone sconces from Spain and an alabaster chandelier. He
refinished the staircase, which had dozens of layers of paint,
reflecting the history of the house. He has done everything
himself, with a little help from his father. But he is not done.
Welky is currently in the process
of remodeling the first bedroom upstairs, redoing the wood plank
floor and painting a nine-foot diameter compass on it. Next year
he has plans to build a two-story addition with a fireplace and
large master bedroom upstairs, and a large den downstairs. Just as
the original house was built in 1867, the new walls will be 20
inches of hand-laid stone.
David Welky has "done more to change the complexion
of the (Tyler St.) house than all of its previous owners
combined". Two and a half years of hard and
sometimes dirty work has helped transform his stone home
into a landmark.
With all of the sweat equity
invested and the imposing history the house has to tell, it has
become a part of Welky. I will never sell this house, he
says. I cant see putting your heart and soul into something
just to sell it. And considering ażl of the previous owners
who have died in the house, the issue of ghosts had to come up.
I dont believe in ghosts, he says. I do occasionally
hear somebody going up and down the stairs-but fortunately its
only in the middle of the day and not at night.
The house is famous now, a
centerpiece of last years 30th annual Cedarburg
Stone and Century House Tour. It was also recently featured on an
HGTV cable television special titled, If Walls Could Talk,
which will air again on Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. Central time, and again