Kern operated Milwaukee’s Eagle Four Mill, which ranked among America’s largest mills in the 1850s. To mark his success, he and his wife built the first house on Wahl Avenue, a German Renaissance Revival design in dark brick and brownstone. A stone balustraded veranda wraps the front of the house, joining at its center to form two entrance arches. The stepped gables have terra-cotta ornament, and the windows are trimmed with brownstone. A squat corner tower, topped by a polygonal, copper-covered dome, rises past the second story and ties into the steeply pitched roof, which is punctuated by a central shed-roofed dormer. Cyril Colnik designed the wrought-iron grilles of the double leaf doors and the balcony railing.
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John Kern House
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