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Highlights Archives

'Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes'


The elegant Villa Terrace in Milwaukee (Zane Williams photo)

The exquisite craftsmanship, detailed embellishments and imposing silhouette of a notable historic home inspire our awe, but also conjure questions of the story behind the structure. We want to know who built this house, what brought them here, why they selected that particular style, and how this historic home has survived when so many succumb to development pressures. "Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes" ($45, ISBN: 978-0-87020-440-1), by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman with photographs by Zane Williams, opens the door to venerable homes throughout the state, satisfying our curiosity and illuminating the considerable contribution Wisconsin's historic homes have made to American residential architecture.

Painstaking Research Narrows the Field of Remarkable Homes

The cover of "Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes"

Authors Connolly, Wasserman and the Wisconsin Historical Society researched and carefully considered 1,500 potential houses before narrowing the selection to 20 remarkable residences constructed between 1854 and 1939. Built for captains of industry, a beer baron, Broadway stars and more, these houses are a mix of public museums you may have visited and private homes you've been hoping for an invitation to explore. These homes are representative of the diverse architectural styles in Wisconsin, including: an Italianate along the Mississippi; an interpretation of a 16th-century northern Italian villa overlooking Lake Michigan; an Adirondack-style camp in the North Woods; and a 14-bedroom Georgian Revival mansion on Lake Geneva. The Prairie School is also represented, with examples by Frank Lloyd Wright and his mentor Louis Sullivan.

An Elegantly Illustrated, Intimate Tour of Residential Treasures

Elegantly illustrated with the color photography of Zane Williams complemented by historical images, watercolors and line drawings by the authors, "Wisconsin's Own" offers an intimate tour of residential treasures that have endured the test of time. "Wisconsin's Own" is generously funded by the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin, committed to funding projects that preserve Wisconsin's cultural history through the preservation of regionally and nationally important buildings and decorative arts projects.

Early Praise for 'Wisconsin's Own'

"In a very real sense, history is just stories about people. This marvelous book uses stories about people — where they came from, what they believed in, what they dreamed of, and especially what kind of homes they built — to present a compelling history of a special part of America. From a quirky octagon of the 1850s to an Art Moderne marvel of the 1930s, the houses on these pages remind us of the richness of Wisconsin's heritage — and the importance of keeping it intact and alive."

— Richard Moe, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Upcoming Author Appearances

Co-authors Connolly and Wasserman will make several appearances at events around the state to talk about "Wisconsin's Own" and to sign copies of the book. The book's photographer Zane Williams will make an appearance and sign books at the October 15 event:

  • Thursday, September 16, at 7 pm, book talk and signing by Connolly and Wasserman at Villa Terrace in Milwaukee, pictured at top of page (free and open to the public)
  • Friday, October 15, 5:30-8 pm, fundraising reception and book signing by Connolly, Wasserman and Williams at Wadsworth Hall, one of the remarkable homes featured in "Wisconsin's Own," as part of the Society's 2010 Local History and Historic Preservation Conference in Lake Geneva ($100 plus conference registration fee, includes a copy of "Wisconsin's Own")
  • Saturday, October 16, 12:15-1:30 pm, luncheon presentation and book signing by the authors as part of the Local History and Historic Preservation Conference in Lake Geneva(included in conference registration fee)

:: Posted September 2, 2010

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