Elsa Ulbricht House

915 North 28th Street

In the same year that they won a highly competitive bidding war for the right to design the Milwaukee Public Library, George Ferry and Alfred Clas designed and built this home in 1894 for Oswald Ulbricht. The home features beautiful and original stained glass windows, spectacular fretwork, and an ornate fireplace.

The history of the family that first occupied the house is as fascinating as the house itself. Ulbricht owned a lumberyard and worked as a general contractor. His company’s best known accomplishment was the Water Tower, which still stands at the end of North Avenue overlooking Lake Michigan. Ulbricht lived in the home with his wife and five children until his death in 1936.

Ulbricht’s daughter, Elsa Ulbricht, is one of Milwaukee’s best known names in history. An artist and professor of art at the Milwaukee State Teacher’s College (now UW-Milwaukee), she lived in the home until her death in 1980.

Elsa gained national attention for her work with the WPA during the Depression. She developed a program that gave jobs in the arts to out-of-work women. Many of these products are highly collectible today. She was also the director of the Ox-Bow Summer Art Program in Saugatuck, MI, where she honed her abilities as a painter. Her paintings and other artwork are still in great demand today.

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