← Back to Listings




  • status


  • price


  • type of listing

    Single Family

  • style of listing


  • year built


  • living area

    8,536 sq/ft

  • land/garden


  • beds/baths

    6 bed/6.2 bath


“Wildwood” was built over a period of three years from plans dated 1910 for Mr. Richard W Houghton’s Wisconsin residence. Mr. Houghton, who traded in lumber and coal, would travel from his home in Philadelphia by private train car, then “buggy up” to Wildwood to spend the summer months. Designed by Wm. H. Schuchardt, a Milwaukee architect, and situated on a westerly slope of Upper Nemahbin Lake (30 miles west of Milwaukee), the legendary home is surrounded by rolling terrain and beautiful hardwoods. “Wildwood” originally covered over 500 acres and included the stately home, pastures and fields, a farmhand house, and an extensive carriage house which still stands on the adjacent property to the north. Some of this property is now the St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy grounds and golf course. With stately proportions from the Tudor period, no frivolous Victorian features encumber either the exterior or interior. As one visitor has said, “It breathes the air of contentment.” And another guest spoke, “Nothing compares to the peaceful grounds and rooms of Wildwood. They beacon me to stay forever!” Owned and occupied by the Houghton Family until well into the 50’s, it has only had two other families who have occupied the home. Mr. and Mrs. Hank Furlong (Mrs. Furlong is a Houghton daughter) received the property in its entirety, raising many children and various animals. In about 1970, Mrs. Furlong, widowed, sold the property to a Milwaukee businessman, Harold Bostrom, who was a loving caretaker and restorer of the home and grounds for a short time. Mrs. Furlong kept the farmhouse and property to the south for many years after selling the main house. The present owners, the Mr. and Mrs. Peyton A. Muehlmeier family, purchased the home from the Bostrom family in 1973. The Bostrom family kept the Carriage House, the farmland, and the northern lake property, located around the north end of Upper Nemahbin Lake. This lake acreage is now held as a Wildlife Preserve. Scott Muehlmeier, a son, was granted and built his family’s home on the lower three acres of the current estate. The current estate sits on 5 acres with 338 ft. of frontage on Upper Nemahbin Lake. The grounds include a tennis court and tennis hut, an in ground pool, a sauna house, a playhouse with fireplace, a boat house foundation and a year round pier into Upper Nemahbin Lake. Original details are seen within the home including original phones, fire hoses and hidden bookshelves. Natural oak, fir and maple floors have been preserved and maintained through out much of the home. Six spacious bedrooms, four with ensuite baths are located on the second floor, each with unique and picturesque views. From these bedroom windows, look south to the pool, east to the front drive and down to the tennis court, west to the pond and lake, and north to the woodlands. Each view reminds you that this is a special place. The north end of the house can function as a nanny, in-law or caretaker’s area. A separate living room with kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom make up this area. These quarters can be closed off from the rest of the upstairs and accessed by a service staircase off the kitchen. The recently remodeled kitchen, a slate floor laundry/mudroom and remodeled bathrooms provide up to date improvements. A new powder room, right next to an existing one, fills the need for large parties at the home. There are six fireplaces located through out the house originally used only with coal. The upstairs bedroom fireplaces are really too small for log fires and should be converted to gas log fireplaces. A blazing fire in the large living room inglenook hearth is a must during winter holidays and daily fires in the kitchen fireplace make the kitchen a favorite fall and winter gathering place. The lower level full basement has several rooms. A cellar door entrance in the northwest corner leads into what was originally the laundry. With large ceramic side-by-side tubs, this room has been used for everything from sausage making to a ceramic studio over the years. A vegetable root cellar with original screened cabinets for canned foods can hold many seasonal decorations or might even be a future wine room. This could take the place of the original wine room, which while smaller, is functional and adequate. The original furnace room now functions as a laundry room and has a large smokehouse in one corner which was used to smoke the pigs, chickens and beef raised on the farm. The large iron fire suppression tank (8 ft diameter and 20 ft in length), which was housed in the southwest corner of the basement, has been removed. In the concrete cradles where it stood are now large tables used for art or projects. The former coal room is now used to store the framed art of Ruth Muehlmeier, a prolific Wisconsin artist for the last 60 years. Over the years, a tennis court and tennis building, a pool, pool house and sauna house, and an oversized three car garage have been added to the estate. The original “guest house”, which mimics the main house in many details, is also known as the Dollhouse. It still stands complete with its smaller scale fireplace, window seats, glass-enclosed bookshelves, cast iron sink and cast iron stove. While the original outhouse that serviced this building is no longer there, the younger guests to Wildwood love staying, and playing, in this house. To talk about the craftsmanship and materials at Wildwood, is to understand the difference between a “McMansion” built in the last 20 years and this “Real McCoy”. The thick cream colored stucco exterior gives the home a rich, warm and solid character. At the top of the circle driveway, the main entrance alcove, with its balustrades and bay windows above, give a stately Elizabethan charm to this welcoming entrance. Go lakeside and find the long columned porch, now screened and protected from weather with full height jalousie windows, with two projecting sleeping porches above and a row of eyebrow windows peeking from the third floor billiard room. The exterior “trim” is all substantial lumber, purposeful in its scale to carry the heavy stucco, large timber beams, strong line of eaves and fascia, along with the tiled roof. The floor to ceiling glass enclosed sunroom, allows tree filtered light into this pleasant room. The living room, as in much of the house, is detailed with Norwegian cypress, shipped over from Europe by Mr. Houghton. Cypress does not shrink or expand much and is unique in the way it casts silver and gray tones in the various light through out the days and seasons. The butter joints and herringbone pattern in the substantial fireplaces are proof that a talented mason built them. This home was also unique in that it was one of the earliest to have cast concrete basement walls and foundation. The home at Wildwood is well insulated and has combination storm windows on all the original double hung windows ~ which all operate. The living room windows raise up into the south walls their full height! Four energy efficient furnaces (installed in 2009) warm the house, while air conditioning, though rarely needed, is also through out the home. The blanket of snow in winter combined with the bare hardwood trees; show off the homes’ features. Why be here in winter? Sled down the hill to the lake, cross country ski through the woods, take a sauna and jump into the snow, or just watch the snow fall while sitting on a cozy seat in the sunroom. Sit-down dinners for 50 to 70 people are no problem in this home. Summers have hosted numerous weddings and large parties. A large tent fits comfortably against the grass area north of the Dollhouse. A smaller tent fits just south of the house. The upper level of the house has a leather pocket pool table that was built on site, a large playroom, a full bath, and about 60% of unfinished attic space. A Veltex window skylight allows light into an area used for drawing or drafting. The roof is a Vande Hey Raleigh architectural tile roof ~ fire safe and maintenance free. Beautiful architectural lighting by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives show off the exterior for special events or just because it looks so good! The tennis court has a Sport Court surface, easy on joints and low maintenance. While the Lake Country area is safe, an ADT alarm system protects the house and its occupants. Wildwood is a large house that can feel quickly like a home for all seasons. Whoever is lucky enough to live here will appreciate the care and attention given to it over the years. It is a “manly home” in scale and appearance compared to many of the Queen Ann style “wood board” lake homes. A future owner of Wildwood needs to have an appreciation of history, like to tell a good house story, and like to do a project now and then. The work benches in the garage and in the basement provide room for many tools. The future owner of Wildwood also will be respected in this Lake Country community for helping to keep homes such as Wildwood standing proud. While not currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there is little doubt that it would be accepted on the basis of its unique architecture and its historic occupants. Original plans are available for the main house. Architect William Herbert Schuchardt was born in Milwaukee WI in 1874. He attended UWM from 1891-1893 and studied architecture at Cornell University receiving a BS degree in 1895. After graduation, William traveled and studied in Europe in 95-96, after which he gained experience by training for eight years at the firms of Elmer Grey (Milwaukee), Richard Schmidt (Chicago), William Rantoul, Cope and Stewardson (Philadelphia) and Cass Gilbert (New York). William also studied in Paris under Ernest Hebrard and was the winner of the Prix de Romein in 1904. Mr. Schuchardt was instrumental in forming the Wisconsin Chapter AIA in 1911 of which he was the first president.


Please see extensive remarks.


Fantastic Turn-of-the-Century Estate

  • • Please see related story.

For more information contact...