Superior’s most distinctive house is this ornate Queen Anne mansion, which was initially the home of lumber and mining baron Martin Pattison, who became a local bank president, the county sheriff, and a three-term mayor. A year before his death in 1918, he donated several scenic tracts of his timber holdings in the Black River Falls area to the State of Wisconsin, which became Pattison State Park. Pattison trumpeted his important community position in this imposing house facing Lake Superior Bay. His ties to Northwoods lumbering provided richly varied woodwork, inside and out, at a then-phenomenal cost of $150,000. At each level of the two-and-a-half story house, the materials differ in texture and color. The foundation of rock-faced Lake Superior brownstone supports the first-floor’s horizontal wood siding and wooden fish-scale shingles above. The hipped roof, punctuated by dormers and intersecting gables, features a large gabled wall dormer with round-arched windows breaking through the eaves line. Most eye-catching, though, is the soaring corner tower with an octagonal belvedere. Woodwork in the forty-two-room interior is crafted from quartersawn oak, cherry, bird’s-eye maple, and Guatemalan mahogany in the principal rooms. Leaded glass doors, art glass windows, gilded swags, fluted pilasters, and ornate fireplaces of Egyptian marble and Mexican onyx, trimmed in silver and brass, combine to create shameless opulence. Two years after Martin Pattison’s death, his wife, Grace, donated her house to the Superior Children’s Home and Refuge Center. Recently restored, it is now a museum.
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Fairlawn Mansion, Martin and Grace Pattison House
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