Built in 1882, the Peter Stauer House is an excellent example of the Queen Anne Style of the patterned masonry sub-type, and as an example of the personal style of the architect Elias White Hale Jacobs of McGregor. Peter Stauer and J.A. Ramage, both locally important businessmen, owned the house consecutively.
McGregor was at the high point of its economic growth as well as its population in the 1880s, and as a result, most of its significant houses as well as its commercial district were built in that decade. The 1880s was the period in which the Queen Anne style was popular and the time that architect E.W.H. Jacobs was designing houses and commercial buildings on Main Street in McGregor. The Peter Stauer House and only a few others like it, have retained their historical integrity. Their brick construction was harder to alter than wood-frame construction. Most of the wood-frame houses in McGregor did not survive as good examples of their style.
Stauer & Co operated a saw-mill in McGregor for about a year, and in 1872 moved over to Prairie du Chien, in order to get more yard room in which to operate on a larger scale. This mill is one of the largest between Minneapolis, Minn., and Clinton, Iowa. Its propelling power is a 125 horsepower engine, which drives machinery sufficient to cut 85,000 feet of lumber per day. At this mill, besides the immense quantities of lumber sawed, there is one of the largest shingle and lath mills in the county.
The location of this mill is on the east bank of the east channel of the Mississippi river, just northwest from the railway depot of the C. M. & St. Paul railway, the track of which passes through the mill yard. Most of the logs used by this mill are rafted from Stillwater and the Chippewa country; and the major part of the mills product finds a market in Iowa and Dakota.
J. A. Ramage purchased the home from Peter Stauer around 1904 and the home stayed in the Ramage family for nearly 100 years. Mr. Ramage was an important local businessman, and at one time he was the clerk for the McGregor State Bank. After the depression, and the bank failure, Ramage did real estate and estate work for local citizens. He was a government land assessment employee when the river was dammed and private land flooded by the government. Following his death in the 1940s the home was used minimally by the three Ramage children. For the next 60 years it was only used as a part-time summer home.
Current Owners – Donna & Robert Staples
Donna and Robert Staples purchased the home in 2002 and began the restoration processes to save it from its state of disrepair. The end result today is a labor of love, frustration, and hope.