Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

2220 N TERRACE AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
2220 N TERRACE AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Lloyd R. Smith House (SOPRA MARE)
Other Name:Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Contributing:
Reference Number:27236
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):2220 N TERRACE AVE
County:Milwaukee
City:Milwaukee
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1924
Additions:
Survey Date:1986
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Mediterranean Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:David A. Adler
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Smith, Lloyd R., House
National Register Listing Date:12/30/1974 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:The carpenter was John Debbink and the masons were Charles Grunewald and Charles Dunlop. LOCALLY DESIGNATED 12/7/1982. HABS WI-272. ALSO LISTED IN THE NORTH POINT SOUTH HISTORIC DISTRICT.

This bluff-top mansion was originally called Sopra Mare—Italian for "above the sea." Chicago architect David Adler cast the tile-roofed house, designed in 1924 for Lloyd Smith, in the then-popular Mediterranean Revival style. The house, as typical for the style, is oriented around a central courtyard, surrounded by an open-arcaded walkway. Central courtyards were common to medieval monastic buildings, and they were often incorporated into the design of Italian and Spanish villas during the Renaissance. Although a charming and functional feature for houses in mild climes like Italy, open-courtyard houses are rare and impractical in colder regions like Wisconsin.

Nevertheless, in the center of Smith House courtyard, an eight-foot-tall stone statue of the Greek god Hermes braves the winter cold. Master Milwaukee craftsman Cyril Colnik forged the fine wrought-iron gate, sconces, and door hardware. The villa's interior contains still other Mediterranean-style decorative features, such as the living room's beamed and hand-stenciled cypress ceiling (artesonado), stone fireplaces, handmade door hardware, handsome period furnishings, and original lighting fixtures.

The house became the decorative-arts museum, Villa Terrace, when the original owners donated the building to Milwaukee County in 1966.
Bibliographic References:THE CONSTRUCTION DATE AND NAME OF ARCHITECT ARE FROM THE BUILDING PERMIT. SOPRA MARE IS ON THE BUILDING. MILWAUKEE HISTORIC BUILDINGS TOUR: NORTH POINT, CITY OF MILWAUKEE DEPARTMENT OF CITY DEVELOPMENT, 1994.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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