Economist Thorstein Veblen’s Washington Island Study Cabin Project

INFORMATION JUST IN:  The Veblen study cabin was successfully  moved to the Jacobsen Museum property about a third of a mile from the cabin’s original location on Monday June 15th 2009.   Local Washington Island contractor Tom Jordan and his crew accomplished the move in one day.   More information will follow on the Washington Island Heritage Conservancy website (linked below).

[Update June 17th, 2009 ]

Economist Thorstein Veblen’s Weashington Island study cabin is being moved from Door County Land Trust holdings between Little Lake and Green Bay, to the Jacobsen Museum property on the south shore of Little Lake.

Veblen’s theoretical works on industrial economics is to economics as Frank Lloyd Wright designs are to architecture. Both were roughly contemporary and equally influential in their respective areas. Veblen was born in Cato, and raised in Manitowoc before moving to Minnesota and then attending Carlton College, as his childhood home is a National Heritage site in Manitowoc County.

“Veblen was a leading economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century. His views on consumption, technology, and the interactions of “Wall Street and Main Street” are widely cited and still influential. Scores of books have been written about him, and his critical writings about the economy and society continue to be in the news.

Veblen’s connections to the Island were deep. He began visiting the Island around the turn of the century, staying at the Gislason boarding house in Detroit Harbor, with the avowed purpose of learning Icelandic. At the time he was an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He continued to return to the Island during many summers, despite living in California, Missouri, Washington DC, and New York City. He purchased his Little Lake property in 1915, building both a living cabin and a study cabin on the property.

Recently the property owned by Veblen was acquired the Land Trust of Door County. Veblen’s original study cabin is being relocated and restored to the Little Lake Museum, where it will be on display. Exhibits will document the ideas and times of one of the most fascinating and influential Islanders ever.”

If you do a search of “Veblen on Washington Island” for Ward Hanson’s project website.   Jerry Maiers [corrected last name 17 June 09] and John Moore are hoping will have Veblen’s study cabin moved June 15th. Then there will be the issue of restoring the building to its 1915 condition, or at least as close as possible.

Tim Jessen, Chairman of the Town of Washington board has had the town crew ready the foundation for the anticipated cabin move. The group have enough money in the Island Heritage Conservancy account at Baylake Bank, but know that the move is just the beginning of the project. They are currently are looking for input on proper restoration of the study cabin.



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