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John Morgan House

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1884, Bell and Cole. 234 Church Ave.

This Queen Anne residence, now a house museum, was a fitting home for one of “Sawdust City’s” leading wood products manufacturers. Builders Adam Bell and Edwin Cole had worked in various aspects of the wood products industry themselves, evident in their elaborate design. They paid particular attention to the varied details—latticework, fan and sun motifs, cloverleafs—of the front and side porches. Even the house’s roofline—a lively medley of gables, combined with an octagonal tower—expresses Gilded Age exuberance. Originally the Morgan House was fancier than it is today, but such details as the tent roof and gables crowning the tower, a wooden balconet, and iron cresting are gone. The interior of the house testifies to Morgan’s love of wood. Bell and Cole built an elegant sideboard of mahogany, oak, and ash for the dining room, and they finished each room with a different hardwood—bird’s-eye maple, cherry, birch, oak, ash, or mahogany. They also crafted spindle friezes over the doorways, elaborate wooden mantels, and ornate built-in bookcases. Some walls are covered in Lincrusta, a material made of a fabric-backed linseed oil mixture that could be embossed—here with floral and classical motifs—to resemble expensive plasterwork.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "John Morgan House", [Oshkosh, 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, 229-229.

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