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North Lake Drive Mansions of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay

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1911–1928. N. Lake Dr. between E. Edgewood Ave. and Kensington Blvd.
  • Harry Grant House

Continuing north of Edgewood Avenue (see MI178), magnificent houses meander along the scenic lakeshore. The Fred and Louise Vogel House at 3510 N. Lake Drive is a Georgian Revival house of 1923 designed by Milwaukee architects Judell and Bogner. The palatial two-and-a-half-story house has twenty-three rooms and ten fireplaces. Fred Vogel Jr. was a banker, philanthropist, and president of Pfister and Vogel, one of the world’s largest tanneries.

As Lake Drive winds toward Whitefish Bay, the houses grow increasingly grand. One of the most impressive is the Tudor Revival brick and half-timbered James and Kittiebelle Walsh House at 4430 N. Lake (1926). Designed by Eschweiler and Eschweiler, it now houses the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Three front-gabled, brick-clad pavilions contrast with the false half-timbered garage at the southwest corner. A prominent garage indicated a status symbol of the 1920s—an automobile. Ironically, the automobile undermined James Walsh’s livelihood—he owned a harness-making firm.

As N. Lake Drive enters Whitefish Bay, the mansions grow even larger. The avenue’s leading landmark, the Herman and Claudia Uihlein House (1919) at number 5270, was the first house built on the former grounds of Pabst’s resort (see MI178). Designed by Kirchhoff and Rose, it is a monument to Beaux-Arts classicism, with Bedford limestone walls and a hipped, red tile roof. Dominating the symmetrical facade, a projecting entrance pavilion has Ionic pilasters and engaged columns rising two stories to support a full entablature with a balustraded cornice. The second-story balcony railing sports a hop medallion—fitting since the Uihleins inherited the Schlitz brewing empire. The lavish interior revolves around a grand entrance hall with travertine and Caen stone walls, a marble floor, a coffered ceiling, and a classically styled sandstone fireplace. Doorways with elegantly scrolled walnut pediments open to a solarium and drawing room, and an archway leads to the library and dining room. The iron railing of the sweeping staircase displays exquisitely twining vines, tendrils, and leaves, testimony to the mastery of Cyril Colnik, who crafted all of the house’s ironwork. The woodwork, carved by Milwaukee’s Matthew Brothers, is equally exquisite.

Most of the other Lake Drive houses in Whitefish Bay express the period revival styles of the 1920s and 1930s. Mediterranean Revival and Tudor Revival designs were most popular here, but there is also the French Norman house of Harry Grant at number 5370. This sprawling residence, seemingly built cumulatively over time, was erected around 1924 for the long-time chairman of the Milwaukee Journal. A slate roof punctuated by eyebrow and shed dormers, random-coursed stone walls, second-story half-timbered panels with brick nogging in herringbone, basket-weave, and other patterns all lend a picturesque look. The focal point, in the crook of the ell, is an entrance portal with a diamond light in its gable, set over arched double doors with art-glass lights. This portal huddles next to a cone-topped turret with leaded windows.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "North Lake Drive Mansions of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-MI179.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 153-154.

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