John Mann came to Madison from New York via Michigan in the late 1840's. By 1850 he was running a successful livery stable in Madison. In 1855 he moved out to Fitchburg and built the mansion and stable. He traded timber from his property for stones from the neighboring quarry. In 1876 he sold the property to J.C. Latham. In 1881 Latham sold to J.R. Comstock. In 1935 Comstock sold to Hal Huddlestone. In 1948 Huddlestone sold to William Waskow who lived here (raising dogs in an attached kennel and horses in the stable) until the spring of 1979.
At the same time the Mann estate was built, the first and most successful inn in the Fitchburg area was thriving -- Quivey's Grove. The concurrent development coupled with our own grove of black walnut trees, maples, and elms account for the name Quivey's Grove.
Joe Garton, a great cook, lover of historic places, and budding restauranteur first saw the John Mann house in 1979. He immediately envisioned the old buildings could serve as a new kind of restaurant, featuring all the goodness of Wisconsin. It opened on May 23, 1980.
Thirty-five years later, the setting still takes you back in time with antiques from the period, gardens to wander and buildings from the 19th century to admire and explore.
The service is gracious and welcoming because the experience is about you. With your patronage, Quivey's Grove will continue to stand for authentic quality for years to come.
The house is an Italianate fieldstone mansion with eighteen inch thick walls and thirteen foot ceilings. Excepting the lobby and Grandmother's Garden, the floors are the original unstained hemlock. The walnut newel post and banister are original. Each of the original rooms in the Stone House have all been decorated with Wisconsin antiques and memorabilia, lending each room its own name.
The Reception area is decorated with lovely, 19th Century prints depicting the Wisconsin state capital and other downtown Madison buildings as well as 19th century photographs of the Comstock Family who owned the farm that is now Quivey’s Grove. Behind the hostess desk is a lithograph of Wisconsin Governors from 1844 to 1878.
The quilt is ca. 1900 with a traditional pattern called "Grandmother's Garden". The cupboard comes from Mount Vernon (Dane County) and is distinguished by its block like proportions, chamfered door panels, the three corner pegs in the doors, the simple scalloped base, and the decorative cornice molding. It dates from 1850. There are several late 19th century political cartoons. In the Presidents' Alcove are framed all the U.S. Presidents through 1855, the year Quivey's Grove was built.
On the wall along the front staircase hang several hand colored prints depicting scenes from the University of Wisconsin in the 19th Century. Opposite, are political cartoons mocking Mugwumps and highlighting the controversy over unions in the early 20th Century within the Republican Party.
Up the staircase you will see a number of dramatic political posters. Note the 1884 campaign poster for Cleveland and Stevenson. (The rooster was the symbol of the Democratic Party before the donkey.) Also note the Fremont-Shearman campaign poster from 1856 (the year after Quivey's was built). Buchanan beat Fremont, the first presidential nominee of the newly formed Republican Party. Finally, study the hand colored lithograph from 1846, "Tree of Liberty" and note that Wisconsin is not yet a state.
At the top of the stairs hang three portraits of American presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. In addition, note the Harding & Coolidge campaign poster, a campaign poster for Charles E. Hughes’ presidential campaign and an engraving of Congressman Garfield that predates 1880 when on the 36th ballot he became the GOP presidential nominee.
Along the back hall and stairway hang a number of famous 19th Century prints by Winslow Homer from Harpers magazine. They depict idealized life in rural America. The back stairway to the Tunnel features six contemporary etchings by Peter Milton illustrating a short story by Henry James, "The Jolly Corner".
The walnut cupboard has old, wavy glass, elaborate apron and ogee curved cornice typical of cupboards made between 1820 and 1860. In keeping with the garden theme in the Flower Box, note the hand colored 19th Century botanical engravings throughout the room. We also display some charming antique china. The chandelier is an antique gas fixture from the mid-19th Century.
The woodwork was hand stenciled by two local artists. Their design was based on an 1852 Pennsylvania German cutout valentine. On the walls are "Penny Dreadfuls", popular from 1840 until 1860. They are the predecessors of modern day valentines, but these were meant to playfully offend. Please do take time to read the "Penny Dreadfuls".
The sconces are handcrafted replicas of gas fixtures typical of the mid-19th century. The pine corner cupboard's plainness is relieved by the scalloped base, the tow pegs in the corner of each door, and the fielding in the lower door panels. All these traits mark it as a piece made in Wisconsin between 1845 and 1870.
Throughout the room there are hand colored prints related to the assassination of President Lincoln, as well as. One is an extremely rare print, "Lincoln and his Generals.”
On the walls are illustrations from a 1911 songbook, "Our Old Nursery Rhymes". The artist is H. Willebeck LeMair. See how many of the rhymes you can identify. In addition, are illustrations from a rare cloth children’s book depicting rhymes that are not quite as familiar.
Contrary to the prevailing impression, the tunnel connecting the Stone House to the Stable Grill was built in 1980 using nearly fifty tons of stone. The gates of the wine rack are the work of the same Wisconsin blacksmith who fashioned the hanging lantern in Stable Tap.
Opposite the wine rack is the Agoston Haraszthy Wine Tasting Room. Haraszthy planted the first wine grapes in Wisconsin in the mid-19th Century and built the Wollersheim winery near Prairie du Sac. After giving up to the Wisconsin winters he moved on to California to found the California wine industry. Wollersheim is still making wonderful wines and spirits today.
In the 19th Century, popular entertainment most often meant singing around the piano. Hence, sheet music developed into both a major industry and a unique art form. Notice the rare 1852 Stephen Foster original and the 1852 "Little Eva", a spin-off from the phenomenally successful antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. See how many of the songs were published in or about Wisconsin. Two are to welcome boys home from WWI. Be sure to read the words to "She Boy Gan", ("the boys are the regular kind") and "Milwaukee". "The Perfect Song" was released in 1915 in conjunction with the release of the film, "Birth of a Nation."
The entry way and main bar room were added on to the original 1855 stone stable in 1989. Virtually all of the building materials were salvaged from other 19th century barns. Notice the hand-hewn beams, sanded and sealed but not stained. Behind is a full service kitchen built in 1989.
The stone walls of the original stable are twenty inches thick. The structural hand-hewn beams on the first floor are original and of various woods including walnut. The lights are handcrafted reproductions of early 19th Century Yankee fixtures. The stairs are newly built using salvaged wood and traditional carpentry (notching in the steps). The railings have been sanded and sealed but not stained. All of the antique hand-hewn beams on the second floor are new to the building. The hanging lantern is the work of a Wisconsin blacksmith. The tables, some of which are constructed out of old wagon wheels, are the work of two Wisconsin woodworkers. The large U.S. flag is a reproduction of an 1855 flag. Saddle blankets hang on the upstairs walls. Above each stairway and elsewhere hang sheet music, ca. 1915 - 1930.
The coatroom, bathrooms and entrance to the tunnel stairway were built in 1980. The wood on the walls, in the bathrooms, and facing the bar is predominantly aged worm-eaten elm. Notice the photograph of the barn stall on the left side of entrance to the stable proper; as late as May of 1979 there were horses quartered in the building.