4135 BLUFF LN | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

4135 BLUFF LN

Architecture and History Inventory

NAMES

Historic Name: Thorpe House Cottages

Other Name: Thorpe House Inn

Contributing: 

Reference Number: 28321

PROPERTY LOCATION

Location (Address): 4135 BLUFF LN

County: Door

City: 

Township/Village: Gibraltar

Unincorporated Community: 

Town: 31

Range: 27

Direction: E

Section: 29

Quarter Section: 

Quarter/Quarter Section: 

PROPERTY FEATURES

Year Built: 1902

Additions:

Survey Date:1992

Historic Use: inn

Architectural Style: Side Gabled

Property Type: Building

Structural System: Balloon Frame

Wall Material: Clapboard

Architect:Freeman Thorp (b.)

Other Buildings On Site: 1

Demolished?: No

Demolished Date: 

DESIGNATIONS

National/State Register Listing Name: Freeman and Jesse Thorp House and Cottages

National Register Listing Date: 1997-08-15

State Register Listing Date: 1997-04-22

National Register Multiple Property Name: 

NOTES

Additional Information: #650: Related Buildings 3/30-35.

Historical Background

This property began as the home of Freeman and Jessie Thorp in 1902. Freeman dug a root cellar and laid a thick foundation of fieldstone. The house was clad in clapboard and had a spanning front porch. The interior of the home included maple and oak hardwood floors, also laid by Freeman. The dining room fireplace was constructed of local glacier granite (known locally as "rock heads"). When the first floor was almost completed, Freeman went across the bay to Menominee to pick up more lumber and supplies. The return trip was to be made on the Erie L. Hackley. On October 3, 1903, however, the Hackley went down in a sudden squall, and Freeman Thorp lost his life. Jessie Thorp decided to finish the home they had started together, with the intention of renting upstairs rooms to tourists for income. The house included a cistern on the second floor which provided running water to the kitchen and first floor bathroom. Guests used a privy in the back yard.

Jessie Thorp eventually moved into her elderly mother's home next door and rented the house to Max Schmidt who used it for a summer home for his family. Jessie died in 1932 and the house was sold to Elmer and Esther Anderson. The Andersons built the cottages on the east side of the house and named the resort Cedar Ridge. In 1942 Ida Anderson (not related to Elmer and Esther) bought the parcel of the property on the south side of Bluff Street, and an additional lot to the west. She built four more cottages and, with her nephew Gus ran the complex as "Ida Anderson's Breezy Hill Lodge." In 1974 she sold the house and cottages to Pat and Sally Kinsey, who renamed the home "The Heritage." The property was used by Kinsey family members and their friends through 1982. In 1982, Richard and Carol Skare bought the property to house their summer employees for the Cookery Restaurant and Deli across the street. In 1986, the Skares sold the property to Christine and Sverre Falk-Pederson. The Falk-Pedersons have removed inappropriate linoleum and wallpaper and added compatible modern amenities. They have opened the house and cottages as a bed and breakfast called the Thorp House Inn.

Historical Significance

A successful boat builder, Freeman Thorp had the means to construct a comfortable and substantial home for himself and his wife Jessie. That the home was eventually used to house paying guests, and was later supplemented with cottages is a physical representation of the resort and tourism history of Fish Creek.

Architectural Significance

The property consists of a main house and six cottages. The house is a vernacular Queen Anne with superimposed side gable main section and front gable mid section and wall dormers in the side gable section. Multi-gable asphalt clad roof. Clad in clapboard with decorative shingles in gable ends, the house rests on a stone foundation. The main porch wraps around protruding gable front section. Most of the windows are one-over-one double hung wood sash; the first story of gable front section is a one fixed sash with decorative top light.

Built in the 1940s, the six cottages are all different with side gable and front gable forms, and a variety of wall sidings.

Architectural Significance

A successful boat builder, Freeman Thorp had the means to construct a comfortable and substantial home for himself and his wife Jessie. That the home was eventually used to house paying guests, and was later supplemented with cottages is a physical representation of the resort and tourism history of Fish Creek.

Bibliographic References: A. Edward and Lois Schreiber, editors, Fish Creek Voices, An Oral Historyb of a Door County Village, (Sister Bay, WI: Wm Czxton Ltd), 1990. B. Door County Almanak No. 5: Tourism, Resorts, Transportation, (Sister Bay, WI: The Dragonsbreath Press), 1990.

RECORD LOCATION

Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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