AGENCY HOUSE (1832)
Mailing Address: Historic Indian Agency House PO Box 84, Portage, WI 53901
Open: May 15 through October 15,
Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed: October 16 through May 14 tours are available by appointment when scheduled in advance. Call (608)742-6362 and leave a message.
Directions: Portage is 173 miles north of Chicago, 98 miles northwest of Milwaukee, 37 miles north of Madison and 15 miles east of Wisconsin Dells. Indian Agency House is 1 mile east of downtown Portage off Highway 33, at the end of Agency Road, also known as Rustic Road 69.
The Historic Indian Agency House was built in 1832 by the United States Government for the Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation (Winnebago), John Harris Kinzie and his wife, Juliette Magill Kinzie. The Agency House is of the late federal style and one of Wisconsin's earliest houses. It is built of milled lumber, rather than the log construction that was used in the region at that time.
The Agency House is furnished with American antiques no later than 1833, which was the year the Kinzies left for Chicago. Juliette wrote Wau-Bun, The Early Day in the Northwest about their time at Fort Winnebago, the Agency House and the portage, as well as their relationship with the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago). John and Juliette were grandparents of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts.
The Agency House and 233 acres are owned and administered by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Wisconsin. An archeological dig was done in 1988-89. A handicap accessible portion of the Ice Age trail has been developed along the Portage Canal in a partnership between the Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin DNR, Portage Canal Society and the Colonial Dames. An additional portion of the trail is also on Agency House property.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES