From the peak of its ponderous stepped gable to the rustication of its limestone basement, the Harnischfeger House’s angular, heavyset look creates a strong contrast to the Frederick Pabst Mansion (MI101). Its exterior has German-style half-timbering in the twin west gables and a theatrically stepped brick gable with shadowy niches and tile copings on the front. The unusual corner turret rests on exposed brick vaulting that springs from freestanding polygonal columns. Two stalwart medieval stone figures of knights, bedecked in battle armor and hugging their broad-swords, support the roof of the upper front loggia. These martial figures represent the family name, which means “armor polisher.” Today, the Harnischfeger House sits beside a vacant lot, but W. Wisconsin Avenue (then Grand Avenue) was once one of the Milwaukee’s most eminent boulevards, lined with the ostentatious mansions of industrialists. Henry Harnischfeger was a founding partner, in the late 1880s, of an overhead crane manufacturing company.
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Henry and Marie Harnischfeger House
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