Kalvelage Mansion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

J.B. Kalvelage

J.B. Kalvelage
Secretary & Treasurer Hoffmann & Billings Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee, WI

Kalvelage Mansion
Ownership History
1897-1920 Joseph Kalvelage
1921-1924 Percy Day
1925-1926 Klu Klux Klan
Roger Williams Hospital
additional photos
1936-1937 Vacant
1938 Jacob L. Conrad
1938-1940 Jacob L. Conrad Furnished Rooms
1941-1942 Kilbourn Manor Furnished Rooms
1944-1949 Kilbourn Manor Hotel Jacob L. Conrad
1950-1952 Kilbourn Manor Furnished Rooms Anthony A. Weilder
1953-1959 Anton Roeber, Furnished Room
1960-1967 William E. Rawhouser
1968 James Price
1969-1970 Kilbourn Manor Apartments Anton Roeber James Price Uniforms SLS
1970 Holy Family Retreat
1971 Thomas Blanke
1973-1975 Vacant
1976-2004 Greg Filardo
2004-present Tim Bullion, James Dieter


The Kalvelage Schloss, than as now, is the dominant feature of the neighborhood fabric. Otto Strack designed a German

Kalvelage Mansion in Milwaukee Wisconsin German Baroque Castle

Baroque masterpiece, with a French Second Empire slated-covered convex mansard roof added for contrast. This type of roof also allowed for "Milwaukee's finest ballroom" to occupy the third floor, which was only eclipsed by the "Million Dollar Ballroom" inside of the Eagles Club. By late October, 1895, a year prior to starting construction on the Kalvelage Schloss, Strack and mason Gerhard F. Stuewe had finished the Pabst Theater (view photo), today a National Historic Landmark. The Pabst Theater has a similar roof treatment supported by iron beams. there is evidence that Strack added iron beam supports to the ballon-framed, tan pressed brick load bearing wall structure of the Kalvelage Schloss as well. Strack had designed the Pabst Brewing Company's display for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (view ticket), a Pavilion which still exists, attached to the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion. In addition to creating many of the nineteenth century buildings still extant at the Pabst Brewing Company, Strack also designed the mansion for the daughter and son-in-law of Captain Frederick Pabst. After 1900, Strack moved to New York City and was active in designing many of that city's early high rise buildings.

Although not much is known of master mason Stuewe, Strack's career was written about in nineteenth century sources. Born in Rebel, northern Germany, he learned the trades of the Blacksmith, Mason, Carpenter and Joiner before attending the Polytechnic Institutes of Berlin and Vienna in the building arts program. By 1881, he immigrated to Chicago, where he gained a reputation as a civil engineer (bridges) and architect. By 1886, he had moved to Milwaukee and took up the commissions described above. He was appointed Superintendent of building for the Solon S. Beman-designed thirteen story Pabst Building, Wisconsin's first high rise. Strack and Stuewe joined master carpenter John Lamenter in craftsmanship found in the state. Buff terra cotta details, rich carved wood, ornamental sheeted copper - including three dimensional lions guarding the mansion from the roof's corners - and wrought iron details that are among the finest pieces that Cyril Colnik ever created, are still in their original place. A close examination of the front porch of the Kalvelage Schloss reveals Strack's passion for Baroque detail, seen in use of Atalantes, or telemons, that support it. The use of this purely decorative feature can be traced to the Chancellory buildings of the Austrian monachary in Vienna, built in the eighteenth century by Fisher von Reach. Der Awinger in Dresden also featured the use of telemons, giving the Kalvelage Schloss an element of German vernacular architecture.

Tiemann, Jacob Scheuss, Mrs. Paul Reisen, and the reform-minded Circuit Judge N.B. Neelen. The Board and Staff's pledge and creed read: " Reverently do I pledge myself to the whole-hearted service of those whose care is entrusted to the hospital. To that end, I will ever strive for skill in the fulfillment of my duties, holding secret whatsoever I may learn touching upon the lives of the sick. I acknowledged the dianity of the cure of disease and the safe guarding of health in which no act is menial. I will walk in upright faithfulness and obedience to those under whose ordinance I am to work, and I pray for patience, kindliness, and understanding in the holy ministry of broken bodies."

Of Reverend Hauser, Judge Neelen made the remarks at a public function: "His belief that the church should not only minister to its own immediate neighborhood led him to take interest in civic causes, especially those pertaining to welfare and social uplift... and now the ill and feeble are waking to the fact that he is trying to help them, and that through the establishment of the Roger Williams Hospital with its annexed Home fro the Aged, he making possible for the middle classes to enjoy here the best of medical care and Christian nursing." Considering that the Milwaukee Hospital, also known as the Passavant Hospital [the former Sinai Samaritan Hospital], was less than two blocks to the east, this Kilbourntown neighborhood had first-rate medical services available. The Roger Williams Hospital helped train other hospitals' nurses through its Nursing Service, and its rates were quite reasonable. By 1937, the Depression and more competition from larger hospitals made the Roger Williams Home and Hospital Association a memory, and the neighborhood zoning changed from single-family to fraternity and rooming house, and apartment buildings. This fact is rooted in the larger trend that many large American also dealt with by the mid-twentieth century; failure to address the serious shortage of adequate housing for the masses of lower to middle class citizens. Fortunately, the architectural characteristics of this neighborhood excaped much of the onslaught brought upon large cities by Urban Renewal and other Federal programs, which wiped out the whole areas in favor of more modern housing. Realizing the short sightedness of this approach and recognizing the wealth of architecture described herein still worth of rehabilitation and restoration, the City of Milwaukee has made significant investments recently in the Near West Side.

Kalvelage Mansion
2432 West Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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