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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday at Shadowlawn

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In a previous post I introduced you to Shadowlawn and told the story of Isaac, Charlotte, and Jere Witter who once lived there.


Today for Sunday in My City, I want to take you on a tour through the lower level of this majestic home.

Today Shadowlawn is a private residence no longer. It now serves as the South Wood County Historical Museum.

However, my interest in this series of posts is in Shadowlawn, the home. So I ask you to use your imagination - - - try to look past the museum exhibits and occasional clutter to "see" the house as it once must have been.


To help us with this mental imaging, I'm including a floor plan of the first floor.

The room which once served as Isaac Witter's library is now the museum office and I didn't photograph it as it was occupied by gals going about their daily office tasks.

Now, please come with me through the front door - - -


And into the grand hall which runs from front to back of the house.


One of the first things to capture our attention is this magnificent chandelier framed by - - -


The grand stairway.


On either side of the stairway are halls, one leading to the main floor bathroom as well as the side entrance to the kitchen and the other to the entrance from the Porte Cochere, which those of us who are less classy would call the car port.


Across the hall from the grand stairway is the entry to the formal living room. Gorgeous pocket doors are usually hidden in the walls.


The living room is now serving as one of the museum galleries. You can still catch glimpses of what it once was - - - the hard wood floors, the radiator under the window, and the ceiling.


A living room window. I don't believe these window treatments are original, though I do think they give us a hint of what might once have hung there.


I am not including here photos of the kitchen area, as there is nothing the least bit "kitcheny" left there.

This however, is an elevator which Isaac had installed just off the kitchen. Though it is no longer in operation, it used to run all the way up to the third floor.

It was installed at the base of - - -


The back, or servant's, stairway. This portion of that stairway leads only to the second floor.


Coming out of the kitchen, into the grand hallway, one finds themselves on the edge of the dining room - - - now a display of a turn of the century sitting area.

The fireplace is original to Shadowlawn and was on the interior side wall of the dining room.


At the narrow end of the dining room opposite the grand hall end, on the exterior wall, is this lovely bow window.


And now, one of my favorite spots in the house - - a view into the side of the solarium.


This piano stands today in what was once the breakfast room, just outside the solarium. You will notice that the flooring here is the same as in the solarium.


This is a view into the solarium from the dining room.


Though now a board room, the solarium once served as Miss Charlotte's sitting room.

We think this is the flooring she chose because there is an old black and white photo of this room as her sitting room, and this flooring is clearly visible in that photo.

There is a story that goes like this: when the servants had finished their labors for the day, Miss Charlotte would sometimes invite the "girls" to change into their BEST clothes and come to sit with her in her sitting room. I hope she served them tea.

One of those servant girls had a young daughter who lived with her mom in one of the third floor servant rooms. That young girl, now a grandmother, has memories of dressing up and sitting with Miss Charlotte in this very room.


Thanks to Unknown Mami for hosting
"Sundays in My City"
To which I am linking this post.
My City is Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin


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16 comments:

tinajo said...

Wow, love this - and the FLOORS! :-)

Vidya Sury said...

Magnificent house! And your description is delightful - I can just rewind and imagine! What a joy to live in a house like that! Thank you, Keetha. Oh, this is great! Now I've gotta go see last Sunday's post! I missed it.

Wayne W Smith said...

I love that you put the plans with this.

blogitse said...

I'm so happy to see houses like this.
It's beautifully kept in good condition for next generations to explore. Great!
Happy Sunday!

Tami said...

love taking tours of older homes. The craftsmanship is gorgeous. This one is such a fancy one. I am assuming from the Victorian time period? I can imagine the ladies coming down those steps in their lacy dresses.

Tara R. said...

What a magnificent house! I'm so glad that some of these old landmark homes are being restored and opened to the public. So much history and amazing architecture to lose.

Laurie Matherne said...

I want that piano. I know we are not supposed to covet, but I am seriously coveting that piano now.

nancygrayce said...

Oh, to live in that house....servants included of course! :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Love seeing the floor plan. So where is your maids sitting room?

ceodraiocht said...

Love beautiful old houses, but I can't believe that red wall and contemporary look for the art gallery - Why???? Would prefer they match the time and home on that room (but, hey - I'm not volunteering or running it, so should probably keep that disappointment to myself).

Lisa said...

That hall way is grand. You must go to the Biltmore house in Asheville N.C. here is the link:
http://www.biltmore.com/

You will LOVE it!!!

Before you come let me know. It's only an 1.5 away from my house. I'll meet you!

podso said...

This is really fun to see. And am impressed you can spell port cachere ... Did I get it right? Loved the solarium photos too,and how cool is that afternoon tea story, cf. to the "help."

La Principessa Errante said...

Lovely old house, nice that it is open to the public, and that people have taken the time to gather interesting stories. Great education today, thank you.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Keetha,
What a great tour! This is just up my alley, I love this kind of stuff!
I have been so loving the weather that my blogging is lacking.
Hoping to get caught up soon!
Hugs,
Cindy

Unknown Mami said...

I don't need to use my imagination to see what a lovely place it is. I would gladly live there if they wanted to turn it back into a home.

tinajo said...

Haha- well I can say this; my behind is even more sore today..! :-D