It all started when Ronald Reagan became President. The first Wauwatosa Tour of Homes was held in 1981. It turned into an annual event in 1989, and this year, the Wauwatosa Historical Society (WHS) will be celebrating its 30th tour by returning to the Washington Highlands.
The one day event, themed “The Tudors of the Washington Highlands,” will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and features six homes in our neighborhood: three on Alta Vista Avenue (1639, 1651, and 1716), two on Mountain Avenue (1641 and 1806), and one on Hillcrest Drive (6708). This is the fifth time the tour has visited the Highlands.
Tickets are $14 for members of the WHS, or $17 for non-members. The discounted tickets can be purchased at the Kneeland-Walker House, 7406 Hillcrest Drive, online at wauwatosahistoricalsociety.org, or by calling the WHS (414-774-8672). Non-members can also purchase tickets on the WHS website, or in any of the following stores: Wisconsin Garden & Pet, 8524 West North Avenue; The Little Read Book, 7603 West State Street; and Barcelona, 5827 West Vliet Street. Proceeds benefit the WHS.
Volunteer docents will lead the tour, offering carefully researched information about the homes and their history. Here is a preview of a few homes on tour.
1639 Alta Vista Avenue
This 1925 home (Theo. Stark & Co.) is one of many in the Washington Highlands built in the English Tudor Revival style. Typically characterized by steeply pitched roofs, tall, narrow windows placed in groups, massive chimneys, and unique elements of craftsmanship such as leaded glass, iron work and decorative half-timbering, these homes come in many different designs. This one is in the scale of a Manor house, and includes a gabled stone entry, numerous stone-based bays, and a three-story chimney (pierced by an arched slot window) forming the front façade.
1651 Alta Vista Avenue
This is a 1926 English Tudor Revival (R.A. Uecker Inc.) exhibiting one of the most impressive designs in the neighborhood. It was sited to terminate the long vista of Washington Boulevard, and covers the highest ground of the Highlands. Two steep gables flank the half-timbered second story and groups of tall casement windows create an airy interior. Narrow roof dormers pierce the slate roof.
1716 Alta Vista Avenue
This 1930 home, built by Roy C. Otto, is defined as “French Eclectic,” a style that is generally characterized by tall, steeply pitched roofs with shallow eaves, huge chimneys, a mix of materials including stone and brick, and arched windows, dormers or doors with surrounds or pilasters. It is an example of the “towered” subtype because the entrance is housed by a round tower.
For thirty years, the Wauwatosa Historical Society has opened up the historically significant homes in our city so that all might enjoy the beauty of their unique architecture and preservation. For the first time in a decade, the tour returns to the Washington Highlands. We hope you will join us. All historical information taken from the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, prepared by Bruce E. and Cynthia D. Lynch and filed with the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service (September 28, 1988). Available online at www.historicalhighlands.net.