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Historic places and people in the land of milk and honey: Wisconsin's treasure: a tribute to our past, a celebration of the present and our commitment to continue the good life

[The Meinhardt house],   p. 91 PDF (456.3 KB)

Page 91

e Meinhardt house, considered the showplace
Burlington, originally was surrounded by 15 acres
beau'ifully landscaped grounds, an orchard, a
isture, a dense pine grove, fountains, and tennis
urfS. Completed in 1883 by Anthony Meinhardt,
inder of te Meinhardt Bank and former grocer
id postmaster, and his wife, Elisa Riel, the house
)s designed by the firm of Edward Townsend Mix,
lwaukee's most influential architect.
The eclectic Victorian design is executed in lime-
stone trimmed with buff sandstone. According to
one of the daughters, Mrs. Antoinette Meinhardt
Fulton, the limestone came from the excavation of
the huge basement, as well as from an old garden
next to the Charles G. Foltz house, which stood
where the Masonic Temple is now, and many loads
from the Van Rosenberg farm at Norton's Lake
(now Rockland Lake). Mrs. Fulton said that the solid
masonry walls were 28 inches thick in the base-
ment, 24 inches in the first floor, and 22 inches at
the top of the house.
She also remembered watching with wonder, the
placing of the huge 12-by-12 inch center beam,
running the length of the house. The carpenter,
Fred Itzin, was such a perfectionist that one out of
three loads of lumber was sent back because of
knotholes or other imperfections.
On the exterior corners are unusual, soothe-
dressed, vertical stones which are not true quoins,
but which frame each wall surface as neat panels.
In 1914, the original front porch was moved around
to the side, and the large combination porch and
porte cochere, extending over the driveway and
used to shelter those getting in and out of car-
riages and automobiles, was added.
The mantel on one of the fireplaces was designed
and carved by one of the sons, Francis, who
became a dentist. Francis painstakingly carved
the mantel from the "hard-as-bone' black walnut
counter planks once used in his grandfather's gro-
cery store at the southeast corner of Pine and
Chestnut Streets - the corner later occupied by
Jacob Wien's clothing store, Kessler's variety store,
Rogan's Shoes, and more recently, J. Robert's
Men's Apparel. According to Mrs. Futon, the man-
tel was Francis's evenings' work for two years, with
one panel, on which he carved a trumpet vine,
taking three months, The whole was put together
with pins and could be moved. Francis's mantel is
currently owned by and in the home of one of the
Anthony Meinhardt died in 1891 and his wife, Elisa,
in 1923. Mrs. Fulton, the last of the Meinhardt's to
live in the house, died in 1967. She was one of the
founders of the Burlington Historical Society and
the donor of the society's museum building. The
Meinhardt sons, Francis and Albert, never married,
so no one in Burlington carries on the family name.
Even the bank, which was sold to the Marine
Corporation in 1969 and then to Bank One in 1988,
no longer carries the Meinhardt name.
In 1963, the house was sold to Donald and Dorothy
Johnston, and in November of that year, the
Meinhardt Trust auctioned off the house's furnish-
ings. The Johnston family restored some of the
house, but also made some changes.
The third owners, in 1971 restored much of the
house, furnishing it with antiques and preserving
many original or older pieces to maintain a
Victorian flavor,
Burlington Historical Society

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