Archibald and Eleanor O'Connor Residence
5262 N. Berkeley Boulevard
This is a ‘Vaulted Tudor’ residence constructed by the John Edwards, Co. in the English Tudor Revival style. Advertisements by the firm referred to the design as the ‘Studi-O-Home’ and it is believed that there were at least seventeen such homes constructed in Whitefish Bay between 1928 and 1930.
The general ‘Studi-O-Home’ design features a prominent gabled room at the front of the house which connects with the balance of the house, which is either gabled or hipped. A large dormer is typically located on the adjacent front roof, above the front entrance. The layout permits a vaulted ceiling in the ‘studio’ living room, and a second story library with a balcony that looks out onto the living room. All Whitefish Bay homes of this design feature a brick veneer on the first floor and surrounding the gabled front room, and half-timbered stucco on the majority of the second floor. In a few cases, the stucco/half-timbering has unfortunately been covered up with other siding materials – presumably because of deterioration. It appears that most original exterior windows were metal framed casement-style windows, although these windows have been replaced on many of the homes, presumably for improved energy efficiency and reduced maintenance.
The ‘Studi-O-Homes’ were advertised as being sold at “Bungalow Prices,” yet featured large ‘studio’ living rooms, balcony-libraries, natural fireplaces and multiple bathrooms. The builder claimed that such prices were achievable because of favorable contractual arrangements with contractors and material dealers, due in part to volume construction.
It is believed that Wesley L. Hess and/or George A. Kemnitz, who were both officers and directors of the John D. Edwards Company, were the architects involved in the designing this home, as well as the other ‘Studi-O-Homes’ in the Village.
During his career, Edwards built more than 1,000 dwellings in the Milwaukee area, many of them in the Village of Whitefish Bay. In addition to the Studi-O-Home design, he also built homes of different styles and design and contributed significantly to the first-rate housing stock within the Village.
On this residence, the original stucco and half-timbering on the second floor have been covered up with aluminum or vinyl siding. The original steel casement windows are still evident. The building permit was issued on April 2, 1928. It is located in the Lake Crest Subdivision. The initial address, under the old numbering system, was 2146 Buffum Street. It appears that this residence was constructed on speculation (commonly referred to as ‘spec homes’), in which the Edwards Company constructed the homes before a buyer was secured. A 1928 ad noted a plan to construct 50 such homes in the Milwaukee area.
The English Tudor Revival style can be identified by a number of characteristic elements: Many are identified with false (ornamental) half-timbering, a medieval English building tradition, often with stucco or masonry veneered walls, steeply pitched roof, cross-gabled plans. The Style was very popular in the Milwaukee area, especially during the 1920s and 1930s, and used on a variety of forms ranging from elaborate mansions to modest suburban homes.
About "Preserving Our Past"
The Village of Whitefish Bay is a community of residential neighborhoods, punctuated with an attractive walking district of fine stores, excellent schools and vibrant houses of worship. It is filled with homes and other buildings that are architecturally rich, well-designed and maintained, and diverse in character.
Its residents have contributed much to the broad cultural, political, economic and social history of the area. And its residents are interested in maintaining their connections with an historic past.
To help maintain these connections, the Historic Preservation Commission is in the process of identifying buildings and historic sites that it believes may be architecturally significant or historic. On a monthly basis we will feature a building or site from our inventory.
- Archive: Read about the village's other historic buildings
- From the commission: About our inventory and a request for help
- More information: Historic designation application and procedures online
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