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history of the arnold house

The Italianate style farmhouse was built in 1874 by Alexander A. Arnold and Samuel Luce, just 20 years after the founding of the town of Galesville. Originally the estate known as East Side Farm, consisted of the two-story, fifteen room house, the New York style barn, several out buildings and just over 400 acres.  East Side was home to Captain Arnold, his wife Mary Douglas Arnold and his descendants for more than a century. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

Captain Arnold was responsible for not only influencing and advancing the Galesville community, but the entire state. Prior to 1874, Arnold had practiced law, held the office of Trempealeau County Superintendent of Schools, served as a Captain in the Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War, been elected to the State Assembly and ran a successful farming business. His first land purchase was in 1866. In addition to his progressive farming and livestock breeding business, he was elected to the State Assembly where he rose to Speaker in 1880, was elected to the State Senate and later became Chairman of the Trempealeau County Board of Supervisors. He was President of the Galesville and Mississippi Railroad, President of the Board of Trustees at Galesville University, President of the Trempealeau County Historical Society and President of the Bank of Galesville at the time of his death in 1915.

Arnold was also one of the organizers of the Trempealeau County Agricultural Society and served as president and secretary. He contributed land for the fair grounds and lent his hired hands to build grandstands and judges’ booths. This year the Trempealeau County Fair board created the A. A. Arnold Pioneer Award and Alexander is the first recipient.

the garden of eden preservation society

The Society, also known as GEPS, was formed in 1983 to accomplish the task of restoring the Arnold House/East Side Farm which the organization purchased in 1982.  Over the years the committee has performed significant work on the home. Restoring and maintaining a 140+ year old house is a continuous process. Fortunately, the more work that’s done, the more Arnold family descendants have felt encouraged to return original furniture and other items to the home. In addition, diaries, papers and photos belonging to both Captain Arnold and his wife Mary Douglas can be viewed at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison and the Murphy Library archives at UW-LaCrosse.

The Arnold house brings tourists of all ages and interests to the Galesville area. Our Victorian and Sweetheart dinners provide good food, culture and elegance and reservation requests increase each year. The G-E-T third grade class tours as part of their history lessons and we host many other events throughout the year. Even though the home and grounds are not designated as a park they are open to the public for weddings, family reunions and private parties for a nominal fee.

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