Style, stories of two Walworth County landmarks featured in new book
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Delavan’s Allyn Mansion is one of two Walworth County homes featured in the new book, “Wisconsin’s Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes.” The 1885 home also is featured on the book’s cover. Wadsworth Hall in Lake Geneva is the other Walworth County home featured. Terry Mayer/staff.
DELAVAN — An 1885 local landmark is the gorgeous Victorian cover girl for a new book published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press called “Wisconsin’s Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes.”
Authors Louis Wasserman and M. Caren Connolly, who run a Milwaukee architectural practice, considered more than 1,500 historic houses in the state before whittling the number down to 20.
Two of the houses are in Walworth County — Wadsworth Hall in Lake Geneva and Delavan’s Allyn Mansion, which graces the front of the book — and where a book signing will be held Thursday (HERE).
Noted photographer Zane Williams shot the interior and exterior shots, which are supplemented by floor plans, site plans and watercolor renderings of each home.
The authors limited their selections to houses built between 1854 and 1939, and looked at such elements as geography, architectural style, condition and the narrative history of the structure and its owners.
Currently owned by Chicago financier Richard Driehaus, Wadsworth Hall, a 24,000-square-foot brick estate on Lake Shore Drive in Lake Geneva, was built about 1914 as the opulent summer home of banker and philanthropist Norman Wait Harris.
“It has a fantastic setting with a connection to the water, designed for a surreal fairytale approach, since most people arrived probably from across the lake,” Wasserman said. “It makes an impressive appearance.”
Just as magnificent is the Allyn Mansion, a colorful Victorian sitting on Walworth Avenue in Delavan.
The mansion’s current owner, Ron Markwell, said he is gratified but not surprised that the house is included in the book. The house received the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Great American Home Award’s grand prize in 1992 — the first structure in the state to get that honor, he said — for its meticulous restoration.
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, PAGE 12A.