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Paine Art Center and Garden

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1927–1947, Bryant Fleming. 1410 Algoma Blvd.
  • (Photograph by James T. Potter, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

This house, now a museum, on nearly fifteen acres of landscaped grounds was designed for lumber magnate Nathan Paine by Fleming of Ithaca, New York. The two-and-a-half-story limestone Jacobethan house has a gabled entrance pavilion with a Tudor-arched oak-paneled door set beneath a leaded-glass oriel. To the left of the pavilion is a wing with an octagonal bay and to the right is a larger and taller bay tucked next to a massive stone chimney. Classical elements at the rear include Composite columns marking the garden hall and a Roman Doric colonnade defining a one-story wing. On the northwest facade this formality gives way to a rustic interpretation of an Elizabethan farmhouse, complete with undecorated stonework, real half-timbering on the second floor, and a roof with tiles laid to imitate thatch. Other touches, such as the bubbles, waves, and tints of the window glass to simulate antique panes, evoke the period. The carriage house resembles a half-timbered farmhouse that was abandoned when the more stately manor house was built. Fleming similarly designed a tool shed, a limousine garage, and the barn located across the street.

Inside the house, Phelps Jewett created each room to represent a particular period in English interior design. Craftsman Alois Lang of Grand Rapids, Michigan, hand-carved the oak staircase with oak leaves and acorns. The abundant use of high-grade oak, maple, walnut, and ebony throughout the house reflects Paine’s personal interest in hardwoods. The Paine Lumber Company, which in the early twentieth century ranked as the largest manufacturer of doors and sashes in the world—or so claimed the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1915—switched to hardwoods after the almost total depletion of Northwoods white pine compelled Paine to turn to new sources of lumber after 1900. He meant this mansion as a summer home, but the Great Depression, labor troubles at the lumber company, and Paine’s own perfectionism caused construction to drag on from 1927 to 1947, and he died before the building was finished. His widow Jessie, daughter of paper baron John Kimberly, opened the building as an art center and arboretum.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


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Marsha Weisiger et al., "Paine Art Center and Garden", [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, 230-231.

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