9095 COTTAGE ROW | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
9095 COTTAGE ROW | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:
Other Name:
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:56902
Location (Address):9095 COTTAGE ROW
Unincorporated Community:Fish Creek
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1927
Survey Date:1992
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Side Gabled
Structural System:
Wall Material:Clapboard
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name:Not listed
National Register Listing Date:
State Register Listing Date:
Additional Information:The Clark family was the first to develop property along Cottage Row for a summer residence. George Clark, president of the Clark Jewel Company (stove manufacturers) was looking for a place to spend the summers away from Chicago. One of his salesmen knew of and suggested Door County. IN 1896, Clark took the train to Menominee and boarded a boat for Ephraim. All of Ephraim was owned by Moravians who would not sell land to a non-Moravian. Clark went down to Fish Creek where Asa Thorp was very willing to sell off some of his land. Clark purchased the two mile strip of shoreline below the Fish Creek bluff. Retaniing two sites on the north and south end sof the strip, he eventually sold the remaining lots to other patrons of the Thorp Hotel. In 1897 Clark built a house on the north end of his property closest to town (DR 35/1. 2) [either 1895 or 1897]. George Clark died c. 1927. His wife Elizabeth and daughter Alice stayed on in the house. They sold the property to William Ryan in the mid-1930s. The Ryans sold the property to Curly Lambeau in teh 1950s. The main house burned in the 1960s, after which Lambeau renovated the carriage house and lived in it. Lambeau sold to the Steins, who built two small buildings on the site of the original house. These were moved off the site by current owner Don Schneider who constructed the present main house.

George's son Robert had this house built ca. 1927. According to family members, he designed the house himself. Many of the residences on Cottage Row are named, but Robert felt that was an unnecessary pretense and never named the house.

Originally the northern ell of the house was the only section with heat. The heat was supplied by a wood burning furnace. After Robert and his wide Eunice retired in the mid 1950s, they winterized the rest of the house by adding a furnace in the attic and extending the heating ducts frmo the original heater throughout the rest of the house. After two mild winters in the main house, the Clarks found that a snow plow could not maneuver the driveway, and they built a simple side gable house up the hill on the site of the original garage/caretaker's aprtment, adjacent to the south end of Cottage Row.

Robert Clark held a civil engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and "indulged" himself in projects in Fish Creek. A complex water system included two water tanks on the bluff above the house for well water, and a 100 foot long pipe reaching out into the bay. Each of the sinks in the house had an extra faucet supplying the bay water. A family ritual developed around the placing of teh pipe in the spring and its removal in the fall.

The site also includes stone walls and a stone boat house. Joe Pleck constructed them and is considered by teh family to have been a genius with stone, equalling or surpassing Fish Creek's legendary Henry Eckert. Of particular note is the "recurved" seaward wall of the boat house. It caused the waves to break towards the water rather than ove rthe land. Its projecting point is an engineering feat. Pleck worked on the site from 1927 through the mid 1930s. The property is now owned by Robert's children Allan (wide Anne) Clark, Elizabeth Clark and May and Dave Boyd.

As with the other summer residences on Cottage Row, this property represents the pattern of living of wealthy urban midwesterners seeking to escape the heat of the cities. Mothers and children woudl spend the entire summer in Fish Creek, while the fathers would visit as their business schedules would allow. In some cases, several generations and family branches would share the same house.

The main house on the Clark property has a side gabled main block with an ell addition. The house rests on a concrete foundation with stone veneer on some elevations. The south end of the main block over-hangs an open porch.

Fenestration is irregular with a variety of multi-pane fixed wood sash windows and double-hung wood sash windows found on all elevations. Window frames are wood with simple lintels and sills. The main entrance is loacted on the interior corner created by the main block and the ell. The multi-panel wood door is covered by a wood-frame screen door.

The hosue has experienced a few alterations, the most significant being the addition of a heatong system in the south block of the house ca. 1955. No alterations mar the integrity of the site.

The site also includes a front-gabled guest house on a stone foundation just north of the main house, a garage (built in the 1960s to replace the original garage/caretaker's apartment which burned), a firehouse, a wood shed, a chickenhouse, and a smaller late 1950s side gabled second house (non-contributing).

The home was primarily intended for summer use, but was later retrofitted for extended stays.
Bibliographic References:(A) Archibald Douglass Cottage Row Building List. (B) Betsy Guenzel, ed., Fish Creek, The Summertime, privately printed, 1991. (C) Betsy Guenzel, Sept. 2, 1992 interview with Rebecca Sample Bernstein, White Gull Inn, Fish Creek. (D) Allen Clark, November 10, 1992 interview with R.S. Bernstein, Madison, WI.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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