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1933 Home Show House

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1932, Henry Plunkett. 3840 N. 55th St.
  • (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Thousands of people turned out to tour this house in 1933 after it was awarded the grand prize in the city’s annual home show. Milwaukeeans learned that its exterior was clad primarily with flat asbestos-board panels and that the staircase tower was made of poured concrete. Inside, they found an interior simply finished with gypsum-board walls and ceilings, easier to install than the traditional lath and plaster. Even beyond introducing the innovative building materials, this house awakened Milwaukeeans to modern architecture. It achieves its striking character through the manipulation of simple geometric forms and common, mass-produced materials. The Home Show House documents a transitional stage of modernism toward the International Style, yet retains the vertical grooves and horizontal bands of Moderne. The house has a simple, asymmetrical composition: a cubic body tied to a projecting corner stair tower that leads to a rooftop terrace, the last a feature often found in European models. The Home Show House drew crowds, but the house did not inspire other residences in Milwaukee.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "1933 Home Show House", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 126-127.

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