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The Southwest Side Historic District: On-line Walking Tour
Oak Street


332 Oak Street

J.I. and Sarah Suby
John J. Holmstad, builder

Well designed for its prominent corner location, the Suby House features a handsome porch with classical columns. Like other Holmstad designs, it has a steeply pitched hipped roof and prominent dormers. At the time of construction, the house and lot cost $5,500.

J.I. Suby (1873-1925) was a physician who also served as a Stoughton City Council member.  A native of Dodge County, Minnesota, he attended medical school in Indiana and arrived in Stoughton in 1893. When Suby began practicing in Stoughton, there were six other physicians in the city.

Suby was married to Sarah Brictson of Deerfield, Wisconsin, in 1906. They had one son, Howard


409 Oak Street

409 (left)
Rasmussen-Aaker; 1906
417 (right); ca. 1900
John J. Holmstad, builder

Both houses are typical of Holmstad;s early twentieth-century work.  The cross-gable roofs, broad classical porches, arched balconies, and symmetrical layout are seen on other Holmstad buildings of the period, including 408 Oak Street, across the street from this pair.


401 Oak Street

John J. Holmstad I
John J. Holmstad, builder

For a time, 401 Oak Street was Holmstad’s own residence. The design combines the broad porch and Palladian windows seen on many of the builder’s other houses.  The porch, which rests on stone piers, and a balcony porch with an arched opening are especially attractive features.

It is not surprising that Holmstad chose Oak Street for his own residence. The 300 and 400 blocks have a number of the builder’s well-detailed Queen Anne and Classical Revival houses. They are arranged along a street framed with elms and a view of Veterans Park.


At least eight houses in the Southwest Side Historic District are attributed to builder John J. Holmstad, and he likely built more.  The earliest identified, the Holmstad-Olson House at 417 W. South Street, dates from 1884. Holmstad’s house-building and contracting career in Stoughton spanned over thirty years. He included oval openings, Palladian windows, projecting bays, and oriels in his turn-of-the century designs. Most of the houses have large porches, some with wrap around verandas.  Holmstad apparently lived in some of the houses before selling them to others.

Holmstad was born in Norway in 1857. He arrived in Stoughton in 1897, and apprenticed with A.E. Ovren (see 401 W. South Street).  After starting his own contracting business, Holmstad eventually employed fifteen men.  According to the History of Dane County (1906), “Many of the handsomest homes in Stoughton stand as evidence of his skill and reliability.”

Holmstad married Katrina Pederson, of Christiania, Norway, in 1886.


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