Approximately twenty miles north of Dickeyville, Wisconsin, Jacob Baker (c. 1880–1939) built a series of embellished miniature houses thought to have been inspired by the nearby Dickeyville Grotto. Baker was a carpenter who built houses throughout the Mississippi River Valley around Menominee, Illinois. He also made a number of “dream houses” that typically stood just a few feet tall.
Baker had a fondness for collecting figurines, radio tubes, bits of crockery, furniture knobs, shells, mirrors, and small toys—all of which found a home in his multi-gabled structures. The exhibition featured the DeSoto House, named as such because it stood in the lobby of the DeSoto House Hotel in Galena, Illinois. Before coming to the Arts Center in 2006, it received significant conservation. Where possible, surface elements were replaced if lost, or the conservator created gray “blanks” where a replacement component could not be found.
Dig deeper into conference sessions, view panelist bios and abstracts, read session descriptions, and continue the conversation in session forums by visiting The Road Less Traveled conference portal.
Through this web portal, you will be able to share new ideas and broaden the collective knowledge and appreciation of this unique style of art making that was the focus of a yearlong series of exhibitions at the Arts Center.Learn More