Description Alfred Uihlein House, Milwaukee Wisconsin
This eclectic structure is typical of many of Milwaukee's mansions built in the 1880s and 1890S. The majority of these buildings are now gone. The Uihlein house was jeopardized when its entire neighborhood, once the site of homes of wealthy German families, was designated for light industry under an urban renewal program. The house remained in 1969 relatively unchanged and in fine condition.
It was used before its demolition by the Department of Catholic Education as a speech clinic. At the time of demolition it was in excellent condition.
The house is a three-story building with a full basement and an attic. It is rectangular in plan with two projecting bays, a turret and a stone porch. The building measures h6 feet x 81 feet, including the, porch (85 feet including the steps).
The walls are predominately Milwaukee pressed brick. The original cream color has blackened with age and soot. The front (east) of the house and the porch are of Ohio sandstone, lavishly embellished by an anonymous stone carver. The third floor and attic dormers are finished with shingles in an imbricated pattern.
The front or entry porch is of ornately carved Ohio sandstone. It is supported by two squat Romanesque columns resting on pedestals and is crowned by a balustrade. A wooden spindle work porch and deck have been removed from the south side of the building.
There are three brick chimneys -- one for the living room fireplace, one for the back room fireplace and one for the dining room fireplace.
The main entrance has a large double door with stained glass transom. Each leaf has a beveled glass light above decorative raised panelling. There probably was once an iron grill in front of these doors. The side door on the south is a simple six-panel door with transom and the rear door is similar but has a protective wooden canopy supported on scroll brackets. The side door on the north as well as the narrow window beside it are also covered by a canopy, this one supported on elongated brackets that reach down to the water table. A paneled door with large glass light provides access to the elevator from the outside
Most of the windows are double-hung wooden windows, with a single light in each sash. Several, such as the front, first-floor windows, have transoms filled with stained glass. The dining room has very fine stained glass windows, and in the main staircase area both stained glass and beveled glass were used. A small turret window off the first landing of the main stairs has small square panels of beveled glass. The dressing room on the northeast corner of the second floor has stained-glass windows. Bay windows are located on the north and south sides of the building.
Basement: There is a coal storage room, a furnace room (old) for the coal furnace, a new furnace room, storage rooms, and a laundry room in the basement. The area under the front porch is excavated, use unknown.
First floor: A small vestibule leads through double doors into a large foyer that contains the main staircase and occupies the north front portion of the house. Directly through the foyer on the north side of the house are, from east to west, a formal dining room with a fireplace and large bay window, a china closet, a rear staircase leading down to the basement and up to the second floor, and, at the back of the house, the kitchen. Off the foyer to the south is a parlor with an ornate fireplace and the round bay of the turret at the southeast corner of the house. Behind the parlor, from east to west on the south, is another large room with a bay window, a large back room with a corner fireplace, and, at the rear of the house, a hall leading to the elevator, a bathroom, and a pantry next to the kitchen.
Second floor: Five bedrooms occupy the second floor. In the front or east portion of the house is a large bedroom or sitting room with dressing room and bath. On either side of the second floor hall that runs east west and connects the front and rear staircases are two medium-sized bedrooms with projecting bays, the room on the north isolated by the two staircases, and the one on the south, which also has its own dressing room/bath, adjacent to the front room. At the rear of the house are two small bedrooms, probably servants quarters, separated from one another by a large bathroom. All of the bedrooms have generous closets, and the rooms on the south are connected by small closet halls with doors at either end. There is an additional large closet, probably for linens, that opens onto the second-floor hall.
Third floor: A large ballroom with adjacent cloak room occupies most of the floor and there are servants quarters comprising two rooms at the rear.
The main staircase is finished in fine wooden paneling and wainscoting and has two intermediate landings. Another stair is located between the kitchen and the dining room china cabinets. It leads from the kitchen and the northwest entrance to the basement and up to the second and third floors. The stairs to the second and third floors have oak wainscoting.
Fine wooden wainscoting of selected birch and oak with a clear varnish finish is extensively used throughout the house. The main stairs are paneled to the height of the stained-glass windows on the second floor. The ceiling of the main staircase is frescoed, as are the walls of the formal dining room. Elsewhere, walls and ceilings are plastered.