Historical home was residence of early Huron railroaders


The second in a monthly series regarding homes in the Campbell Park Historic District

The house at 820 Wisconsin Avenue SW, was constructed in 1906 ... or possibly earlier per Beadle County records —  and was owned by the Frank Stewart family until 1939. Frank Stewart was the Assistant Superintendent of the Dakota Division of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. The house was then purchased by Clarence Freske and it is now owned by his son Richard and his spouse Marjorie (Dietz) Freske, who live there.
Ironically, Clarence Freske was also a railroad employee, serving as the Depot Agent for the Great Northern Railroad from the 1920s until he retired in 1963.
During that time the railroads were two of the larger employers in Huron. The C&NW had four daily passenger trains, serving from Rapid City to Chicago and onward to other eastern cities. The Great Northern, on the other hand, had at least one, and often more, daily passenger trains serving eastern South Dakota and on to Minneapolis, as well as providing a connection to the west coast. The Great Northern also had at least two freight trains per day and saw that number increase during the harvest season. The C&NW also had multiple freight trains carrying goods from Rapid City and Chicago.
 The Stewarts had children who grew up in Huron, including one son who practiced dentistry for a number of years in Huron and was on the Samaritan Hospital staff.
 Clarence and his wife Harriet had two children - Delores (Freske) Spiering and Richard (Dick), both of whom grew up in Huron and graduated from Huron High School. Clarence and Harriet both moved to Huron in 1923, where they met and were later married, in 1925. Both Clarence and Harriet were telegraphers; Harriet had worked with the Great Northern RR prior to coming to Huron and while in Huron she worked as a telegrapher for the Western Union until her retirement in 1960.
Dick and his wife Marjorie, who also graduated from HHS, met while in high school. Dick attended SDSU and graduated with a degree in engineering, and Marjorie worked at St. Johns Hospital until they married after his graduation. They lived in Colorado until they returned to Huron in 2002 as part-time residents, while restoring the family home.
The home has always had a character that appealed to both Marjorie and Dick and the decision was made to return to Huron as full-time residents when their restoration of the home was complete. Their three children and their grandchildren always enjoys visiting both the “Historic Home” in town and their cabin at Lake Byron.
The restoration at 820 Wisconsin took place incrementally from 2002 through 2010,  and the Freskes always kept the original character of the exterior and maintaining the interior finishes of the oak woodwork high on the priority list.
The house features an open stairway, painted woodwork at the bedroom areas, and still has the original maple hardwood flooring. Also original are the main bathtub, and the cast iron radiators, which helps the house retain its turn-of-the-century appeal. The only major interior changes included a new kitchen, the updating of the guest bathroom, and finishing the basement into a laundry area with additional storage.
A new two-car garage was constructed to replace the original one-car garage.
The front porch was restored to its original look and is used as a three-seasons room and is an inviting additional entry area to the home, complete with the original “porch swing.” Patios, fencing, landscaping, a new brick walk and a stone entry stairway were added to complete a fresh curb appeal and a backyard to be enjoyed by the Freskes and visitors.
The house is a two-story,  foursquare home with a fully enclosed front porch and a subtle Colonial Revival style which fits perfectly into the Campbell Park Historic District. The porch has a hipped roof and is characterized by four-over-four windows and tapered Doric columns. Windows throughout the home are five-over-one ribbon windows and one-over-one double hung sash. It is clad in lap siding with corner boards and an asphalt shingle roof. In 2008, most of the siding was replaced, with care taken to match the original siding and trim. A two-story addition was constructed on the south side of the home with a two-story bay window that matches the porch window style. The addition was built to provide a den with a fireplace off the living room area, as well as master bath and needed closet space off the master bedroom on the second floor. The addition utilized the egress provided by using the existing window openings at each floor without changing the living areas.
This restored Campbell Park District home is proof that with some TLC, desire and commitment, a turn-of-the-century home can be renovated into a very livable home, that meets today’s needs and requirements.
Dick Freske has been on the Campbell Park Historic District since 2008 and is also currently on the Huron Community Improvement Board. He has also been active as a construction consultant, using his construction experience and engineering education on several projects in Huron including the Event Center, the Huron Public Library, the current Huron Public Works Building and many other projects in South Dakota and in Colorado. He was privileged to also have worked on the historic renovation of the Court Room and other projects at the Beadle County Courthouse.

PHOTO BY ANGELINA DELLA ROCCO/PLAINSMAN
This home at 820 Wisconsin Avenue SW, is owned and was renovated by Richard and Marjorie Freske, who purchased the house from his parents. It was originally owned by Frank Stewart and was his family’s home until 1939.

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