18 Hewett Street, James L. Gates House (circa 1872 - 1876)                                                  #1

When James was six years old, his parents moved to Neillsville from Essex County, New York. His father, Daniel, was a lumberman and at age sixteen James became a foreman in his father's camp. James L. Gates would go on to become the largest individual holder of pinelands in the United States in the late 1800's. Most of his 800,000-acre holdings were located in Wisconsin and Florida. His logging business employed over 600 men. James Gate's timber interests in the Lake Superior region facilitated his participation in the building of the Sault Saint Marie Railroad. Gates also operated the largest mercantile in Neillsville and erected two brick blocks. James married Lydia Eyerly in 1872. They had their Gothic Revival style house built before 1876 (as it appears on the early Neillsville Birdseye View).

The steeply pitched Gothic roof supports steep cross gabling. The gable end verge boards exhibit scalloped detailing created with the newly perfected scroll saw. The east-facing facade has paired gables with pediment-topped windows extending into the gable ends. A square tower supported by decorative brackets is centered between the main wall gable and the projecting gable. Originally the roof would have had diamond patterned metal ridge cresting that ended with hip-knob finials atop the tower and peak ends. When built, the front facade did not have a porch. The prairie style porch was added at a later time. Lydia died in early 1885. James remarried and relocated to Milwaukee in 1886 where he died in 1911.