Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

608 NEW YORK AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
608 NEW YORK AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:John Michael Kohler House
Other Name:KOHLER ARTS CENTER
Contributing:
Reference Number:59187
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):608 NEW YORK AVE
County:Sheboygan
City:Sheboygan
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1882
Additions:C. 1920 1970 1999
Survey Date:2002
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:RICHARD PHILLIP-ca. 1920
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Kohler, John Michael, House
National Register Listing Date:11/30/1982 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:KEYSTONES AND BALUSTRADES WERE MADE AT KOHLER'S FOUNDRY WHICH HE FOUNDED. SHEBOYGAN COUNTY LANDMARK. PHILLIP WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE C. 1920S INTERIOR.

Austrian immigrant John Michael Kohler came to Sheboygan in 1871 and married Lillie Vollrath, daughter of a prominent industrialist. Two years after his marriage, Kohler bought his father-in-law's foundry, where he manufactured agricultural implements and, later, enameled iron products. In 1888, Kohler organized a new company to produce ornamental iron and enameled plumbing fixtures and cookware. From these beginnings grew the Kohler Company, now one of the world's leading manufacturers of plumbing fixtures and other products.

Family tradition holds that John Kohler himself designed this Italianate house. Characteristic of the style, the cornice returns at the front gable suggest a classical pediment, and scroll-cut brackets with knob pendants support the overhanging eaves. It also incorporated personal touches made at Kohler's iron factory: the iron capitals, cast-iron keystones, and iron sills at the brick round-arched windows; the roof cresting; the gazebo; and the fountain, the latter adorned by a cast-zinc sculpture of children and a dolphin.

The gazebo and fountain were moved to their current locations about 1920, when architect Richard Philipp refashioned the house for Kohler’s son Walter Sr. Philipp removed the porch’s gingerbread woodwork and installed hexagonal cast-iron columns to replace the originals. He also added the stuccoed second-story bay and installed stained-glass windows and interior cabinets, designed by Austrian architect Kasper Albrecht. The 1970 addition extending from the rear of the house contains an arts center, including galleries, a theater, classrooms, and a museum. A larger addition, designed by Kubala Washatko Architects in 1999, features an atrium with rich modern finishes of slate, birds-eye maple, and stainless steel.
Bibliographic References:LJM Architects, Inc. #28;City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin: Architectural and Historical Intensive Survey Report.#29; City of Sheboygan Historic Preservation Commission & Department of City Development; 2002, 2004 & 2006. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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