In late April, I headed up to Portage on a beautiful spring morning to visit the Historic Indian Agency House and meet with the site’s Executive Director, Destinee Udelhoven. I was there to photograph a single compelling artifact–a chest of drawers that, according to early Agency House records, was made in Green Bay around 1825. Although a more specific history is unknown, the use of an unusual wood type (tamarack) and the rough construction methods that lie behind the chest’s fashionable facade certainly suggest that it could have been made in an early 19th-century settlement in the Great Lakes region. A full catalog entry with several photos will be online in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database later this spring.
During my visit, I couldn’t resist snapping some photos of the site in its springtime glory–including a cat from the caretaker’s house who was patrolling the grounds.