Named after the candidate for vice president under Abraham Lincoln, Hannibal Hamlin Garland was born on a farm near West Salem, WI on September 14, 1860. His early years were spent in the
Midwest (Wisconsin, Iowa and Dakota), where he managed to acquire an education and graduate with honors from a western seminary.
His early success in writing enabled him to purchase a house and 4 acres in West Salem for a homestead for his parents. Hamlin was an author of 52 novels, several poems and short stories. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Daughter of the Middle Border (sequel to Son of the Middle Border) in 1922.
He spent October of that year preparing the house and his family moved back from the Dakota Territory in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. In his years after his marriage to Zulime, he and his family spent four or five months a year in the house in West Salem. His first daughter was born in the house, and here he spent many mornings in his writings. The house was partially destroyed by fire in 1912 but Garland rebuilt it for the sake of his father and daughters.
In 1973 the Interior Department designated the house a National Historic Landmark. At dedication ceremonies that fall a large stone and plaque noting its historic values were placed in front of the house. The house was purchased by the West Salem Historical Society late in 1973, but restoration did not actually begin until 1975.
Hamlin Died in 1940, at the age of 79 in Hollywood, California. He was cremated, and his ashes were returned to West Salem for burial in Neshonoc Cemetery two miles north of West Salem where his wife, children and parents are buried.
The homestead is opens Memorial Day to Labor Day, for tours. Tour hours are Monday through Friday from 1pm - 4pm. Other times by appointment call (608) 786-1399 or (608) 518-8566.
Address: 357 West Garland Street, West Salem Wi 54669.
The Garland Homestead