Doug Amon invites visitors to stop and smell the roses
A photo gallery of this Mystery Place is HERE
The farmstead of Doug Amon is located at N5088 County Highway O in Sugar Creek Township. When Amon invites you to stop and small the roses, he’s not just using a cliche. There are more than 300 rose bushes in the yard at his home north of Delavan. He has been growing dozens of varieties of roses in honor of his wife, Karen, who died in 2005.
Amon pots his roses. He sets the pots in raised beds full of mulch. Each rose is tied with twine to help it stand against the wind that cuts across his hilltop farm. In the fall, he carries the potted roses into a shed that used to be a repair shop for milk trucks.
The first year, Amon built one bed; in 2007, he added three more. Now he is up to 11 raised beds, each trimmed in white lattice. Most of the beds hold three rows of tall roses.
He trims the flowers nightly to keep his plants blooming all summer. He shares the cut flowers with neighbors and passersby. He takes bouquets to church. A sign by the mailbox invites people to “stop and smell the roses.”
“People are always wondering if I mean it,” Amon said. “I really do.”
His barn is one of more than 70 in the county that have barn quilts on them. The Amon barn quilt was designed by a retired art teacher specifically for this site. The “rose path” design is meant to represent an appliqued quilt block.
The Walworth County Arts Council has scheduled a bus tour for its members to view some of the quilts on Wednesday, Oct. 17. This is an easy way to see this relatively new folk art medium. If you would like to drive around the county on your own to see the quilts, you can get information from Peg Reedy, University of Wisconsin-Extension agriculture agent. Her office is located in the government center in Elkhorn. Or you can go online to get the brochure at www.walworth.uwex.edu.
The earliest owner of the Amon property as listed in the 1857 plat map was Ward Mallary. Albert Beckwith’s “History of Walworth County” indicates that he bought government land in Section 30 of the town of Sugar Creek in 1851. He came to this county from Connecticut.
Mallary ran a hotel in Delavan in 1848 for six years. He was justice of the peace for the township from 1859 until 1862. In 1865 he rented out his farm and returned to Delavan to operate the Park Hotel until the beginning of 1870. He then moved to Iowa, later to the Dakotas and then back to Iowa, where he died in 1898.
His son, Henry, served in the Army during the Civil War. In 1865 he married Mary Grey, daughter of Dr. Harmon and Maria Gray. They lived on his father’s farm for a year and a half. Then he moved to Millard and practiced medicine.
In 1873 the plat book lists D.E. Smith as the owner of this property. Frank Keltner is shown as the owner in 1930. Douglas and Karen Amon are listed as the owners in the 1966 plat book.