From The Archives
1850 Greek Revival
A classic Greek Revival design, all of the exterior walls are solid 2” x 5” oak planks, laid one atop the other and secured by wooden dowels. This type of construction was most often seen in grain elevators, and the solid structure has stood the test of time. The largest stagecoach stop in the state (6,700 sq. ft.), it was located along the Milwaukee Watertown Plank Road.
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|Heated Sq. Ft.||6,700|
|Lot Size||300 x 200|
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All about Okauchee House
Step inside Okauchee House and you’ll see all the charm that attracts one to an old house. There are some beautifully refinished pine floors, but they’re not perfectly straight and others still need refinishing. Much of the original plaster is intact, but there are some cracks and imperfections. Every original window and almost every wide board, pumpkin pine original floor still graces the inn. Many of the original hand blown glass windowpanes remain intact. We’d say that the house is about 90% completed, and is very comfortable for daily life.
In other words, this is an old house that has all of the character, and some of the challenges, that make owning and living in a historic structure one of the unique experiences in life. This is not a new house, and there is still some work to be done. But we know that someone is up to the task, and ready to reap the rewards of living in one of the most historic houses in Wisconsin.
Here is your opportunity to step into history and write your own story! This property has not been on the market since 1911. If this doesn’t count as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” we’re not sure what does. We invite you to learn more about the history of Okauchee House by visiting www.okaucheehouse.com. There are links to historic articles, the Historic American Building Survey measured drawings of Okauchee House, and links to other stagecoach stops that are historic sites, including Old Wade House, Dousman-Dunkel House and Hawks Inn.
Enter Okauchee House and you’ll be greeted with an impressive, wide cherry front hall staircase that has delicate carving underneath each tread. Turn to the left and into a formal living room with original plate rail and graceful corner cabinets with leaded glass doors that were added in 1911. The large formal dining room has an impressive French Empire chandelier, and can host a crowd. A newly finished gourmet kitchen with a refinished, original pumpkin pine wide board floor has many cherry cabinets, ample granite counters and stainless appliances. The spacious family room occupies the original bar room, and adjoins the kitchen. An elegant powder room with Kohler artist edition fixtures completes the first floor main section of the house.
The staircase leads to the second floor, where a large bedroom occupies the former upstairs ladies parlor. There is an adjoining sitting room/office. Another large bedroom, a smaller bedroom that has not been restored, a laundry room and a large walk-in closet complete the second floor.
The cherry staircase to the ballroom makes a half-turn as it winds gracefully to the third story. A full three stories high, the huge third floor ballroom (20’ x 48’) features a 13-foot high coved ceiling. Local legend states that sign up for the Civil War was held in this room. It is an amazing room, with fantastic acoustics! Eight smaller rooms – four on each side – rim the ballroom. One room houses a full bath with whirlpool tub and double vanities.
The rear, two-story wing houses a huge second floor master suite that has its own cherry staircase, master bath with vintage-style tile work and Kohler fixtures, generous shower, custom sauna and an impressively sized walk-in dressing room/closet. With many windows and refinished pine floors, this is a bright and airy suite.
The rear wing first floor has a very large entry room that was the old summer kitchen, bathroom with shower, and a walk-in closet/storage room. A modern addition (15’ x 25’), which has a beautiful view of the yard, could be used as an office, mother-in-law suite, additional bedroom, or be converted into a sunroom. The room will fit your imagination.
Basements in old houses are not often a feature that one likes to dwell on. But Okauchee House is different! An original red brick, double lined beehive bake oven, a full 7 feet deep, is part of the original basement kitchen. A huge cast iron cauldron is still in place, as is the original brick floor laid on the diagonal. One can only imagine the numerous meals that were prepared in this room. With restoration, this area could be a unique, pub-like entertainment area or wine cellar. The rest of the huge basement has a concrete floor and ample headroom.
Okauchee House has all of the modern amenities that you look for today. Four high efficiency gas forced air furnaces, three of them new in 2003, serve the house. All four units have central air conditioning. There is a 200 amp underground service with circuit breakers. A private well serves the house, and has a water softener and iron filter. There is municipal sewer service. All windows have older aluminum combination storms and screens from the 1970’s. The architectural style asphalt shingle roof was installed in 1997, when new roof decking was also installed. There is a newly constructed 40’x 50’ steel outbuilding with concrete floor to house cars, boats, tools, or serve as a workshop or business. The property is currently zoned B-2, which means that it can be used for a variety of retail or office uses. Or, like us, you can just live in the house and enjoy it.
The lot is 1.5 acres, with many mature trees and extensive perennial gardens. The house overlooks a European-style roundabout built in 2003, which has a four-sided chiming street clock, landscaping and red brick paving. The entire downtown Okauchee business district was recently revitalized with new roads, sidewalks, streetlighting and landscaping. It was named the best downtown reconstruction project in the state by the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council in 2003.
A certified historic rehabilitation of the exterior of Okauchee House was completed in 2005. Using National and Wisconsin State Historical Society guidelines, the exterior clapboard siding was restored, missing pilasters were replaced, shutters were painted to the original dark green color, concrete front steps removed and other exterior work was completed. Additional work on soffits, eaves and corner trim remains to be done.
Okauchee House is located only 35 minutes via freeway from downtown Milwaukee, where the world renowned Milwaukee Art Museum, symphony, ballet, professional sports teams, nightlife and Lake Michigan recreational opportunities are all at your disposal. Chicago is only 90 freeway miles away. Okauchee is located in the heart of “Lake Country” where 27 inland lakes are located within a 20-mile radius. A portion of Okauchee Lake, one of the largest in the area, is adjacent to the downtown area. A state park with terrific cross-country ski and hiking trails is 15 minutes away.
Archived in April, 2013
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