Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
N9888 STATE HIGHWAY 13 | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Horace A. J. Upham House/Wawbeek
Other Name:Cottage/Office
Contributing: No
Reference Number:229728
Location (Address):N9888 STATE HIGHWAY 13
City:Wisconsin Dells
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1899
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Other Vernacular
Structural System:
Wall Material:Wood Shingle
Architect:Alexander C. Eschweiler, Sr.
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Upham, Horace A.J., (Camp Wabeek) House
National Register Listing Date:6/19/1985 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:Wawbeek is one of the finest and most intact turn-of-the-century summer homes remaining in the Wisconsin Dells area. In 1897, Horace and Mary Upham purchased this four-hundred-acre site overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley for their summer home. They named it Wawbeek after the rock that threatened the West Wind in Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." To design their retreat, the Uphams chose Eschweiler, who was then little-known but became one of Milwaukee's most distinguished architects. Construction began in 1899, and the Upham family occupied their new home in the summer of 1900.

The rustic residence rises from a high ridge at the center of the estate. Cedar shingles, now painted, sheathe the walls, which are sheltered by a broad multi-gabled roof. The one-and-one-half-story main block rests on a massive foundation of pinkish random-coursed sandstone that was quarried on site. A shed-roofed veranda, supported by massive paired posts, extends across two-thirds of the western elevation and curves around the end of the house to form a broad base for a three-story circular stone tower with crenellation. Here, the Uphams could enjoy a spectacular view extending some forty miles in all directions.

The floor plan of Wawbeek is open and informal, reflecting the Uphams' casual summer lifestyle. A living hall, 40 feet square, was the center of activity. Dominating the room is a large red-brick fireplace, flanked by windows with window seats. A cozy inglenook is nearby. In 1906, Eschweiler added a wing to the east elevation containing additional bedrooms, a bathroom, an enlarged kitchen, and a dining room.

Wawbeek reflects a turn-of-the-century impulse, widespread among well-to-do urbanites like the Uphams, to seek regeneration in the rural landscape. Horace Upham worked as a prominent attorney in Milwaukee, and Mary Upham was an active community volunteer.
Bibliographic References:Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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