Our regular readers know we occasionally make mention in this column about unusual homes that are for sale. They could be very expensive or have an incredible location, or maybe an unusual history.

Well, our friend Fred Berner who is the editor, publisher and owner of the Antigo Daily Press sent one along to us that we thought was pretty interesting so we’ll give a little of that information here. And, who knows, maybe it will be a Watertown person who decides to dive in and purchased it through an upcoming auction.

This house is located on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, one of the most pristine areas of Wisconsin. Many people think of the north woods as being filled with modest cabins, mobile homes and the like. There are a lot of those to be sure, but if it’s lake frontage, there’s a lot of homes that can be considered mansions and anything but modest.

So, this home was called a “Showplace of the North” by a local newspaper when it was constructed in 1928. This home has over 7,400 square feet of space and it is known as the historic Edward Kelly residence. Kelly was mayor of Chicago at that time. It is scheduled to be sold by auction on June 28. Today it’s listed at $4,495,000 and the opening bid will be $2.75 million. Certainly not for the wallet of the average home buyer.

The home was designed by Canadian architect Francis Conroy Sullivan who just happened to be a student of the late Frank Lloyd Wright who was born 150 years ago this month.

Construction on the home started in 1928 and it took four years to complete.

A key feature of the home, and one which makes it stand out in the Eagle River area, is the fact that durable California redwood is the primary construction material. All of the construction material was shipped from California specifically for this home.

The home’s interior has many impressive features. It has a floor-to-ceiling fireplace made with native stone, a large formal dining room and adjacent living room area, seven bedrooms, two screened-in sunrooms, five full baths and three half baths, a huge kitchen and a butler’s pantry.

And, what’s a luxury home without a private theater. The projection room still contains the original projectors. Years ago the mayor would preview movies that would eventually be shown in Chicago.

Here’s a little trivia — the 1978 Hollywood movie “Damien: Omen II,” starring Lee Grant and William Holden (a close friend of Watertown native and big oil man Ray Ryan), was filmed at the estate.

If you’re bidding on the home, keep in mind the original furnishings are still there, including a grand piano, and are part of the deal.

The grounds include a three-car garage (almost standard in today’s homes) with a chauffeur and caretaker quarters. There’s also a wet boathouse which has a second story which is a large recreation room. The second story is surrounded by a wraparound deck accessible by four double door entrances.

The home sits on 7.14 acres and has over 2,000 feet of sandy beach.

So, if you’re interested and want to know more you can see a number of photos and bidding information at micoley.com.

It’s amazing how many unique and historic homes are located in Wisconsin’s north woods. It has always been that way and it always will be.


Watertown has been getting a lot of visibility in recent weeks with some articles praising all the community has to offer. We’ll delve into one today and maybe pickup the other one in the near future.

John McGivern, who was in Watertown last year to film one of his “Around the Corner” episodes for public television, wrote a piece for “City Guide Milwaukee” and he was glowing in his comments about the city.

McGivern, who is a foodie, said one of the things he enjoys most, after the food, is all the industries he gets to see around the state.

In his article about Wisconsin, he visited Konecranes on the city’s south side which manufactures cranes that can life up to 2 million pounds. He also talked about Fisher Barton Blades, Inc., which manufactures literally millions of rotary lawn mower blades each year. It’s the largest manufacturer of mower blades in the world.

Rosy-Lane Holstein Farms was another stop of his, a business he called “the farm of the future,” and with all of its technology, he is right. It’s an incredible operation and is on the cutting edge of technology.

Among the other stops in Watertown McGivern wrote about were the Octagon House, some of the other historical homes, 1st Brigade Civil War Band, Tribeca GalleryCafe & Books, Amado’s Restaurant, Elias Inn and of course Mullen’s Dairy.

All in all it was a great article in promotion of Watertown and it was in a well circulated Milwaukee publication. A little visibility for our community always helps!


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