The historic home was built in 1868 by Alonzo H. Whitney, born 1854 son of Henry A. Whitney. Alonzo got his start managing his father’s farms. “Lon” as he was known, later became a private money lender and was in the real estate business. He was also Vice President of the newly formed and successful Columbus Canning Company from its organization in 1900 until his death in 1929. The Columbus Canning Company was the most productive in the world until the advent of rapid freezing of vegetables. The plant was later run by Stokley’s. The remaining canning factory buildings now serve as the Columbus Antique Mall, which is Wisconsin’s largest. Alonzo Whitney was a civic minded and very well liked. He gave generously to the Fireman’s Park and donated the Memorial Chapel to Hillside Cemetery.
The house was purchased in 1956 by Merton E. Walcott and Frances A. Walcott. “Mert” designed and added a commercial wing which has been used as a photographic studio and frame shop since. The house exemplifies the early Italianate style that was quite popular in Columbus in the mid-19th century. Its cross-plan massing and unornamented, widely overhanging eves are typical adaptations for the style. The house originally had small matching porches on either side of the front projection. The ornate porch at the left and decorative border glass in the windows are late Victorian additions.
The HA Whitney Inn is a new lodging facility, which opened in July, 2018. Innkeepers are Suzanne and John Walcott. It is conveniently located 1.5 blocks (2 minute walk) from the Amtrak station, restaurants, Wisconsin’s largest Antiques Mall and historic downtown Columbus, Wisconsin and on the parade route, for one of the longest July 4th parades in Wisconsin. It is just 20 minutes from I 90/94, 35 minutes from Dane County International Airport, 45 minutes from the state capital and University of Madison, less than 2 hours from the Milwaukee International Airport, less than 3 hours from O’Hare International Airport, 2 hours south west of Green Bay and approximately 1 hour south of Wisconsin Dells, water park capitol of the world. For reservations visit Booking.com, Airbnb.com or Vrbo.com. The Inn caters to non-smokers and no pets, except service dogs.