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Edmund and Lotta Gustorf House, “Landlubber”

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1922. 3138 N. Cambridge Ave.
  • (Photograph by Carlen Hatala, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

When traveling salesman Edmund Gustorf needed a new house, he followed many Americans of the 1920s by indulging in an exotic architectural fantasy. But instead of mimicking a period style, he had his house built in the shape of a boat. Seventy-two feet long, fitted with portholes, life preservers, and running lights, the house resembles a vintage motor yacht. The “hull” is aluminum siding, and the “cabin” is wood paneling. Gustorf had a Green Bay boatyard precut pieces of the house, and then he assembled the parts on site atop a concrete basement. He named his new house the Landlubber. To complete the nautical theme, he built a miniature lighthouse, complete with rotating beacon, on the front lawn. In the “pilothouse” living room dark mahogany paneling, polished brass fittings, and oak flooring resemble a yacht’s interior. A ship’s wheel fits inside the arc of windows at the front of the room; the dining cabin opens aft of the pilothouse onto a sunny deck astern. Gustorf’s quarters, the house’s single bedroom, are crowded into the bow of the yacht, dimly lit by portholes. The entire house was lovingly restored in the late 1980s.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Edmund and Lotta Gustorf House, “Landlubber”", [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, 150-151.

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