3138 N CAMBRIDGE AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
3138 N CAMBRIDGE AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Edmund B. Gustorf House - Ship House
Other Name:Ship House
Reference Number:78892
Location (Address):3138 N CAMBRIDGE AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1922
Survey Date:1993
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Other Vernacular
Structural System:
Wall Material:Aluminum/Vinyl Siding
Architect:Ed B. Gustorf
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
Additional Information:Built by Gustorf and ship carpenters in 5/1922.

Simulates a boat overlooking the Milwaukee River. This neighborhood landmark was handmade by Gustorf with ship carpenters.

When traveling salesman Edmund Gustorf needed a new house, he did what many Americans of the 1920s did: he indulged in a bit of exotic architectural fantasy. But instead of mimicking a period style, he had his house built in the shape of a boat. Seventy-two feet long, fitted with portholes, life preservers, and running lights, the house resembles a vintage motor yacht. The “hull” is aluminum siding and the “cabin” is wood paneling. Gustorf had a Green Bay boatyard precut pieces of the house, then assembled the parts on site, atop a concrete basement. He christened his new house the “Landlubber.” To complete the nautical theme, he built a miniature lighthouse, complete with rotating beacon, on the front lawn.

In the “pilothouse” living room dark mahogany paneling, polished brass fittings, and oak flooring resemble a yacht interior. A ship’s wheel fits inside the arc of windows at the front of the room, the dining cabin opens aft of the pilothouse onto a sunny deck astern. Gustorf’s quarters, the house’s single bedroom, is crowded into the bow of the yacht, dimly lighted by portholes. The entire house was lovingly restored in the late 1980s.
Bibliographic References:"Boathouse is Shipshape Once Again", Milwaukee Journal 7/9/1989. Tax Program. Permit. Milwaukee Public Library Local History Room: Historic Houses Index. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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