Boscobel teen restores century-old house

BOSCOBEL, Wis. (WMTV) -- More than a hundred years after Boscobel's "Bonnie View" house was built, the building is getting a much-needed face-lift from a local teen and his friends.

The group, led by 18-year-old Chase Kovars, wants to restore the house to preserve the town's history.

Kovars has always loved old houses.

"We'd be driving through a town, and I'd see a house and we'd pull over so I could take a picture and go home and want to build it," he said.

The "Bonnie View" house in his hometown has always fascinated him.

"Whenever I'd ride by, I'd always stare at it and wonder what it looks like inside," Kovars said.

The house was built in the 1860s by the Pittman family and remained in the family for 100 years.

"It's one of the oldest houses and original ones that are still standing here," Kovars said.

However, the current owners live out of state, and they needed someone to take care of it.

Kovars volunteered to help.

"He gave me the key and he's like, 'Well, keep an eye on it for me and let me know how things go'," Kovars said.

Kovars started by just checking on the house, but he decided to go one step further.

"The house really needed some work when we started cleaning it out, they didn't have running water or anything," he said.

Starting in the summer of 2018, Kovars and his friends and family cleaned, repainted and redecorated much of the house, trying to imagine what it looked like a century ago. Kovars hunted down most of the furniture.

"That couch I got at a thrift store, and that one I actually got at the curb that somebody was throwing out, but we cleaned it up," he said about the furniture in the front room.

Kovars has tired to make "Bonnie View" a space for the whole community to enjoy. He and his friends decorated the house for Christmas and created a free haunted house for Halloween, drawing hundreds of people.

Kovars hopes restoring the house can help people learn more about Boscobel's history.

"The younger generation coming up, if we don't preserve or at least tell them about it or show them, it's just going to be forgotten and nobody's going to know why Boscobel started or who did it and it'll just be gone and nobody will know why," Kovars said.

With his love of history and houses, Kovars said this house is just the beginning.

"I think that's what I'd like to do for a living when I'm older is just restore old houses and bring back history before it's lost," he said.

Kovars wants to get the "Bonnie View" house registered as historically significant, and he is working on doing that through the Wisconsin Historical Society. Registering the house would protect it from being torn down or changed drastically.