Partner Marvin Raney

Queer Places:
224 Ogden St, Hammond, IN 46320
1609 N Prospect Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
The House Next Door, 11219 N Webster St, Evansville, WI 53536
Cooksville Cemetery Cooksville, Rock County, Wisconsin, USA

Chester Holway at his typewriter in the 1930s. COOKSVILLE ARCHIVES AND COLLECTIONSChester Perry Holway, Jr (September 1, 1908 - May 19, 1986) was a journalist and publicist. He was the gay man who owned the House Next Door following Ralph Warner. Holway wrote about Mineral Point and Pendarvis owned by Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum in an article titled “Cornish Town Lies Serene in Wisconsin Hills”. Larry Reed, a Cooksville archivist who has written on Holway, tentatively dates this article in the late 1930s.

In 1949, Holway wrote How to Profit from the Tourist Business, noting that during his own career in advertising and tourist promotion he had “traveled thousands of miles through mid-western resort regions.” The book’s purpose was to help “the smaller community” that might benefit from tourism.

Chester P. Holway, Jr. was born in Hammond, Indiana in 1908. His parents were Chester Holway, Sr. (born ca.1868) and Ethel C. Streeter (1879-1970). They were married in 1907. Ethel Streeter’s family lived in Hammond, Indiana. Her father, Rev. Geo R. Streeter, was a Civil War Veteran and a minister at a Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife, Ethel’s mother, was Mary M. Hooten (died 1932). Ethel’s brother was Ralph M. Streeter. Chester Holway, Sr.’s family was from Massachusetts. His father was Francis W. Holway (born ca.1831). His mother was Marjarilla Holway (born ca.1837). Chester, Jr. attended Lake Forest College in Illinois. He was a newspaper editor in Indiana and Wisconsin and then pursued his editing and advertising career in Milwaukee, where he no doubt had learned of Cooksville; later he worked in the Chicago area as an advertising consultant while residing in Cooksville until his retirement.

Chester Holway c.1940s

In the 1940s he worked for Cramer-Krasselt Co. in Milwaukee (733 N. Van Buren Street). He resided in Cooksvllle for more than 30 years, from around 1941, prior to moving to Dalngerfleld, Texas, seven years before his death. During WWII he was a private, enlisted in the Army, Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers in 1942.

Marvin Raney resided in the Duncan House (the famous “House Next Door”) with his partner Chester Holway for 35 years, during which he carried on many of the same “antiquarian” undertakings as the house’s previous owner Ralph Warner, which were collecting, researching and preserving Cooksville-related material objects, village history and local genealogy. Raney also learned to weave rugs, which he sold along with other crafts in the shop that he and his neighbor and artist Dorothy Kramer established in the 1950s in the Duncan House barn. He operated two antique businesses, the first in Cooksville was the “Cooksville House” in the Duncan barn (then moved to the Backenstoe-Howard House) in the 1950s and 1960s; and the second near Cooksville was the “Only Yesterday Shop” in the historic granary on the Joseph Porter Farmstead (then known as “Ady Ruth’s Apple Basket”) east of Cooksville in the 1970s. The village proved a perfect place once again for someone who loved history, antiques and gardening. (In Raney’s time there were four antique shops and three commercial gardens and nurseries in or near the village.)

Holway had a number of articles about his gardening efforts published in national horticultural magazines. He and Raney continued Ralph Warner’s old-fashioned flower gardening as well as “experimenting” with the growing of trees and shrubs that were considered non-hardy in southern Wisconsin, creating a showcase of many varieties of flora. And they happily shared their plants with others—although Raney refused to accept any “thanks” for his gifts of plants he gave because, as he said, they really are gifts from generous Mother Nature.

Holway also published a book, How To Profit from the Tourist Business (1949), and he completed a lengthy manuscript titled, “A Gathering of Waters: An Adventure in Search of Wisconsin,” about his experiences traveling throughout the state in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In it he described the state’s varied landscapes, its history and historic sites, the lives of local folks and a variety of interesting and unusual characters and encounters along the way.

He never married nor had children. He died age 78 in Daingerfield, Morris County, Texas.

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