MILWAUKEE — On the city's East Side is one of the finest examples of an endangered species in Milwaukee architecture. This Queen Anne style Rowhouse is one of three of its kind here in Milwaukee.
Jim Draeger, state historic preservation officer, and home owner Shan Nelson-Rowe showed us around this rare and lovely home.
Built in 1883, it was designed by George Ferry, the same architect behind the Milwaukee Public Library downtown. It was commissioned by George W. Peck, an all-around renaissance man — who later called it home.
"He was a very successful newspaper owner, but he also got involved in politics and became mayor of Milwaukee, serving two terms as mayor, became governor of Wisconsin and served two terms," said Draeger. "He was a mover and a shaker and a pretty successful business man."
From the fireplace to the hardwood floors, much of the original structure remains, even after years of neglect and a fire, left it to a questionable future.
"It was boarded up, it was vacant, it had a fire — there were a lot of people who were agitating to have it demolished," said Draeger.
But the property was saved in 2003 after a private developer came in and brought it back to life. Now it stands as a Milwaukee treasure. A treasure that Nelson-Rowe is more than happy to care for.
"We like historic charm," said Nelson-Rowe. "This was a very unique property and it really appealed to us."
Decorated with antique furniture and pictures of old Milwaukee, the owners love to celebrate the history of their home.
"We tried to make this into a place that reflects the time period that George Peck built and lived in it, just to make it feel a little bit more like an old home," said Nelson-Rowe.
After doing some research on his own, Nelson-Rowe and his neighbors got together and made the push for the George W. Peck Rowhouse to get its spot on the National Historic Registry. After over a year long process, their hard work paid off.
"The really neat thing about the National Registry, is really, at its heart is a collection of stories told through historic buildings," said Draeger.