conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Historic homes
5 tour-worthy properties around town

Photos by Matt Haas

May 2016

Pabst Mansion

In the late 19th century, the splendor of the Gilded Age was in full effect as rapid industrialization and economic growth propelled the country forward. Much of the growth happened in the northern United States, including in Milwaukee — a bustling beacon during an era of grace and beauty. The Pabst Mansion serves as both a representation of the Pabst family’s luxurious lifestyle throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and of the historical home’s structural resilience.

"When Capt. Frederick Pabst, Milwaukee’s famed beer baron and owner of the Pabst Brewing Company, began construction of a new mansion for his family in 1890, he could not have anticipated that it would survive and thrive into the 21st century," says Brenda Nemetz, administrator at the Pabst Mansion.

Descendants of the Pabst family sold the home in 1908, and the property became the archbishop’s residence and the center of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee for more than 60 years. The mansion has been open to the public since 1978, and Nemetz says restoration efforts of the home and grounds are ongoing, ensuring its original style is preserved and maintained. 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 931-0808 or

Schuster Mansion

The Schuster Mansion Museum captures the estate’s original lineage of major milestones, connecting the Schuster family’s history back to the American Revolution. Now run by innkeepers Rick and Laura Sue Mosier, the museum even offers Victorian high tea, which includes lessons in 1800s table etiquette. After an afternoon of tea and scones, a tour of the mansion showcases what life may have been like for the Schusters long ago.

3209 W. Wells St., (414) 342-3210 or

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

Villa Terrace was built in 1923 for Lloyd Smith, former president of A.O. Smith Corporation, and his family after they returned from a trip to Italy. The Smiths commissioned Milwaukee native David Adler to design the home in an Italian Renaissance style, and the property is now open to the public as a museum, featuring art from the 15th through 18th centuries. Self-guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and docent-led tours for groups of 10 or more can also be arranged. 2220 N. Terrace Ave., (414) 271-3656,

Hawks Inn Historical Museum

The Hawks Inn opened in 1845 as a place for farmers, trappers, traders, politicians and others in search of lead mines in western Wisconsin to congregate and exchange goods, services and ideas. The inn quickly became the center of social and political life in the frontier village of Delafield. The 2016 tour season begins Saturday, May 7, from 1 to 4 p.m., and tours will be held every Saturday through Oct. 29. 426 Wells St., Delafield, (262) 646-4794 or

Dousman Stagecoach Inn Museum

A historical landmark located in Brookfield, the Dousman Stagecoach Inn was built in 1842 by Talbot Dousman. The estate was later purchased by Daniel Brown, who used the inn to accommodate visitors traveling from Milwaukee to Watertown. In 1981, the inn was moved to its current location, where volunteers from the Elmbrook Historical Society have restored and furnished the inn to its original fashion. Docent-led tours of the museum are held on the first and third Sunday of the month from May through October, 1 to 4 p.m. 1075 Pilgrim Parkway, Brookfield, (262) 782-4057 or m



This story ran in the May 2016 issue of: