building of the week: walter s. chandler house

Key Project Information

Address:                              151 W. College Avenue, Waukesha WI

Year Built:                            1876-77

Year of Waukesha Local Landmarks Designation:               1978

National Register of Historic Places Designation:                1974

Architectural Style:          Italianate

Architect:                            Edward Townsend Mix, Milwaukee

Historical Use:                   Private Residence (House)

Current Use:                      Private Residence


The Italianate style was a distinct 19th century phase of Classical Architecture, with its historical roots in the Italian Renaissance architecture of the 16th century.  It was developed in Britain by John Nash in the early years of the 1800s and popularized by Sir Charles Barry in the 1830s.  American architect Alexander Jackson Davis promoted the Italianate style in the United States, where it achieved huge popularity from the 1840s to 1890s. 


Presented as an alternative to the Gothic or Greek Revival styles, Italianate was one of the most popular architectural styles in the United States at the beginning of the Civil War.  Soon after the War ended, however, it began losing its popularity and by the late 1870s the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles were much more prominent in most parts of the country.  Interestingly, Italianate style design persisted longer in Wisconsin than in many other areas of the United States.


Elements of the Italianate Style

•Low-pitched or flat roofs

•Balanced, symmetrical rectangular shape

•Tall appearance, with 2-4 stories

•Projecting eaves supported by corbels

•Belvedere tower(s)

•Paired windows

•Arches above windows and doors

•Square cupola

•Wrought-iron railings, or Renaissance balustrading


The Walter S. Chandler house exhibits classic Italianate details, coupled with the (then) newly emerged asymmetrical massing of the Queen Anne style.  A four-story central tower stands above the rest of the two-story clapboard house.  Walter Chandler was a lumber dealer, and as such, all the decorations on the home are detailed in wood; including the scroll-sawn brackets, bow-ribbon pendants, and quatrefoils below the eaves, as well as the basket-handle arches spanning where the driveway passes under the porte-cochere. 


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