Tour an 1837 stone cottage and learn about men and women who shaped the early history of Platteville, Wisconsin.
|Saturday||1:00pm – 4:00pm|
Open most Saturdays in June, July, and August, or by appointment.
Tours are staffed by volunteers and some Saturdays may not be staffed. Please check our Facebook Page or call us at (608) 723-4925 to confirm hours.
|Children (under 18)||$3.00|
Lancaster Road (Hwy 81) and W Madison Street
Platteville, WI 53818
History of the Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage
The Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage is associated with four prominent Platteville names: Samuel Mitchell, Revolutionary War veteran; John Rountree, Founder of Platteville; Laura Rountree Smith, famous author of children’s books; and E.D.E.N. Southworth, the most prolific female author of the 19th century.
Samuel Mitchell, who was originally from the Tidewater, Virginia area, and his wife moved to Platteville in 1836 and built the Stone Cottage in 1837 as their retirement home. Family tradition claims that the Stone Cottage was a smaller version of the family home Samuel left behind in Virginia.
The style of architecture of the Mitchell-Rountree Stone Cottage is known as Tidewater Virginia; a name which is a blend of romance and fact. Richard Perrin, noted architect and Wisconsin’s foremost architectural historian, called the Stone Cottage “a little gem of architecture and the three dormers masterpieces of the Joiners Art.”
John H. Rountree and Family
John Hawkins Rountree, Founder of Platteville, was married to Mary Grace Mitchell, daughter of Samuel and Eleanor Mitchell. In the early 1850s John Rountree bought the Stone Cottage and gave it to his son, Hiram Samuel “Sam” Rountree. “Sam” Rountree’s daughter, Miss Laura Rountree, lived in the Stone Cottage until she died in 1965. In 1959 Miss Laura entered into a contract with the Grant County Historical Society, donating the land and home, with continued occupancy by her. When Laura died in 1965 she was a beloved character in the Platteville community.
John Rountree’s first wife, Mary Grace Mitchell, died in 1837, the year her father built the cottage. In 1839, he married Lydia H. Southworth, whose brother married E.D.E.N. Southworth (she lived and taught school in Platteville). She was the author of “The Deserted Wife,” which she was when her husband left for the California gold fields. She went on to become the most prolific female author of the 19th century.
The first Laura Rountree — Laura Rountree Smith was one of the United States’ foremost authors of children’s stories. She attended the Normal School and taught at the Rock School before writing children’s stories. The Bunny Cotton Tail series, c. 1905, and the Pixy series were her most popular. She produced seventy books before her death in 1924, when she joined her family at Hillside Cemetery.