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Polson-Brockett House

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1917, Purcell and Elmslie. East end of Trails End Rd.

This house illustrates the post-1910 efforts of Purcell and Elmslie to design inexpensive open-plan houses. Its modest Prairie Style design is certainly indebted to Frank Lloyd Wright, whose plans for “A Fireproof House for $5000” were published in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1907. But the Minneapolis-based architects refined Wright’s plans, and this house reflects those refinements. In 1917, Mrs. Richard Polson, a wealthy Chicagoan, commissioned this one-and-a-half-story house as a wedding present for her son and daughter-in-law, D. B. and Nan Brockett. The dark-stained cypress clapboards on the first floor, the ribbon of windows, the wood trim, and the overhanging eaves emphasize the characteristic horizontality of the style. A reconstructed entrance pergola (the original rotted) features horizontal beams laid across pairs of perpendicular timbers and vertical wooden slats along the sides. At first glance, only the leaf motif at the ends of the pergola’s beams lifts the house above the mundane. Yet the side-gabled roof’s pronounced asymmetry is striking. A crisp wooden line outlines the gable’s geometry, and symmetrical fenestration magnifies the effect. Inside, the wide living room, dining room, and kitchen are arranged around a central red brick fireplace. The built-in Craftsman cupboard between the dining room and the kitchen and Purcell and Elmslie’s original bronze light fixtures remain intact.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Polson-Brockett House", [Spooner, 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, 310-310.

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