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A look at the oldest house in Howard Lake

November 5, 2007

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

If the walls could talk in Arvid Uecker’s house in Howard Lake, 156 years of history would coming pouring out.

In fact, Uecker’s house is the oldest in the city. Its abstract dates back to 1856, which is 22 years older than the city itself.

When the city was celebrating its 100th anniversary 29 years ago, the Ueckers were told that their house and one other were the two oldest houses in the city. Since then, that other house was torn down.

Uecker’s house was originally a square two-story structure. A kitchen and screened in porch was added in the 1920s, then more renovations took place in 1975 that included squaring off the kitchen, a full basement, making the screened-in porch a more permanent structure, and taking the cistern out, according to Jerry Uecker, Arvid’s brother.

“At one time I was told this was one of the first buildings put up in this area,” Jerry said.

Jerry and Arvid’s parents are the late Eldon and Lillian Uecker. They purchased the home in the late 1940s from the late Irene Mahlstedt.

Eldon and Lillian had nine children who are Al, Jerry, Arvid, Bruce, Barry, Dave, Janice Graeff, Sue Leaf, and LuAnn Moy.

When the Ueckers first purchased the house, Mahlstedt remained living on the main level, while the Ueckers lived upstairs. Later, the two families flip flopped arrangements until Mahlstedt passed away.

At one time, the house had white shakes for siding.

The detached garage/shed that sits next to the house originally stood on the old Henry Dietrich property about one-block from the Uecker’s house.

“I remember watching it being brought here on a truck,” Arvid said.

The high doors that the shed possesses are reminiscent of its days as storage shed for a thresher in its previous life down the block. It also was used as a stable for horses.

“It’s a historical building,” Jerry added.

“Those doors were so heavy. Dad remodeled them because when they got off track it took three or four people with a pry bar to get them back on. They were a lot of work,” Arvid said. “The rails are still up there though,” he added.

The historic house is located at 1020 Seventh Avenue in Howard Lake.