Close Virtual Tour

Gettelman Mansion

2929 West Highland Blvd

This German Renaissance Revival mansion, designed by Crane and Barkhausen, was built in 1901 for William Starke, proprietor of the Lake Michigan Dredge and Dock Co. Stark’s wife, Louisa, was a Manegold, and it seems likely that her parents were William and Mathilda Manegold, who lived nearby at 3015 W. Highland Blvd.

In 1919, two years prior to his death, Starke was also listed as vice president of the Concordia Fire Insurance Co. and the Old Line Life Insurance Co. of America. The Stark’s daughter, Louise, married Fred Gettelman, Jr of the brewing family. In 1906 Fred was assistant brewmaster and by 1926, he was secretary of the Gettelman Brewing Company. By 1923 the young couple had moved in with the widowed Mrs. Starke, and it’s believed they raised their family in the home until 1933. At that point, the house became a Gamma Theta Pi Fraternity. It has housed a law office since the early 1990s.

Of note is the color of the exterior brick, the cut stone and stone carvings, and the masonry arches at the side entrance. This gracious structure was almost lost to fire in 2001. The fire consumed the back half of the roof and much of the second and third floors. City firefighters and neighbors worked tirelessly to salvage all that could be saved. Fortunately, the highly decorative areas of the first floor were conserved and beautifully restored.

One Added Story

  1. “When a job was well done at the plant, my grandfather, Walter Davidson, would climb up on the factory rooftop and raise a flag that could be seen less than a mile away by his buddy Fritz [Fred] Gettleman, who ran Milwaukee’s famous Gettleman brewery–it’s now part of Miller brewery. Fritz would then bring a barrel of beer up to the factory for all the employees to celebrate.” — Jean Davidson.

    From “Jean Davidson’s Harley-Davidson Family Album.”

    And of course Walter Davidson lived just west of here at 3223 West Highland Blvd.

Add your story about the
Gettelman Mansion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *