Velkommen til Westby

Velkommen til Westby

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dr. Schee house

Standing proud and tall for 113 years

The first medical doctor to call Westby home was Dr. Schreiner who came here in 1883. Dr. John Schee joined him in 1892.

The Schee house was designed by architect A.E. Parkinson of Sparta in 1902. Dr. Schreiner had already built his mansion on Main Street a few years earlier, his house being also designed by A. E. Parkinson. The last owners of the Schreiner house were Martha and Nora Neprud. The house was torn down and is now the location for Premier Cooperative.

Randy Dahlen along his wife Betty helped write this article. They were the past owners buying it in 1988. The current owners are John and Tasha Spears.

After Dr. Schee passed away in 1937, his wife, Ulla, remained in the house until 1951. Between 1951 and 1988 the house had four other owners.
The Schee house is wood frame with a full basement. Outside basement walls are 18-inch thick limestone faced on the outside with ashlar. The inside basement walls are eight inches thick made of red brick. The 1,250 square foot basement includes a wood/coal chute which dumps into the fuel room adjacent to the furnace room. The laundry room was supplied with soft water from a rainwater cistern on the west side of the house. Clothes reached the laundry room via a chute from a second floor room and the first floor kitchen. A vegetable room and the cold storage room which was serviced by a dumb waiter from the first floor pantry complete the basement.

The first floor is 1,350 square feet. The verandah wraps around the front of the house from the south side and alone the east side including the front entrance in the northeast corner. The vestibule opens to the reception hall with an open stairway to the second floor. Off the reception hall is the office which was used by Dr. Schee for afternoon patients. The sitting room has a large colored glass window to the east and a square window bay to the south. The dining room has an angular window bay to the south, right next to the sitting room bay, The dining room has a built-in china cupboard of oak and beveled glass. There was also a floor button which would ring a bell in the kitchen. The kitchen, pantry (now a full bath) and a west porch finish the first floor.

The second floor has three large chambers (as they were called on the blueprint) with closets, a linen closet, full bath and one bedroom that opens to the upper porch. The stairway comes up to a central hall consisting of seven doorways on the 1,015 square foot second floor.
The third floor was designed to include three large chambers with closets, a central hall and sitting area. Three window dormers have been removed from the house. This floor was never completed and now a single 1,015 square-foot room insulated and finished, is used for storage. A standup attic follows the north, south and east ridge lines.

An interesting fact about the house is because of its design and window placement, there are six places (three combinations) that you can look out of he window of one room and look into the window of another room.

Dr. John Schee
Dr. John Schee, born in Norway, came to this area in 1880 and Westby in 1892. His education includes philosophy-University of Oslo, obstetrics in France, pharmacy-University of Wisconsin, Medical University of Michigan. He was known as an outstanding baby doctor serving Westby and area for 35 years. He was a city council member, school board member, on the city library board and city health officer.

Mrs. Ulla Schee came to Westby from Norway in 1896 after training in Oslo for nursing, midwifery and music. She grew up in very Northern Norway and was believed to have had the first piano north of the Arctic Circle. After coming to Westby, the first child she delivered was the youngest daughter of Dr. Schreiner, Dr. Shee’s partner.

The Schees raised five very musically and artistically talented children in this house. They are: Harold - A Chicago area businessman who owned the Patsy Ann Cookie Factory. Eric - A violin teacher and orchestra conductor. Laila - An English teacher and piano player. Nana - An art instructor and Dagney - A music teacher and one of the first rosemalers.

Tom Schee, son of Eric, lives in Timber Coulee and hosts yearly family reunions which have brought many family members to visit their ancestral home.

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