Walter Davidson House

3223 West Highland Blvd

The architectural firm of Kirchhoff and Rose designed and built this Arts & Crafts style home in 1905. Kirchhoff and Rose had a very successful practice designing many prominent homes and commercial buildings including theatres. The home was built for James Higler who was the Manager of the Davidson (which later became the Palace) Theater on 5th & Wisconsin. According to a June 22, 1936 article in the Milwaukee Journal, Higler was “A leading theatrical figure in downtown Milwaukee.”

Walter and Emma Davidson purchased the home in 1911 and owned it until around 1937. Walter was one of three Davidson brothers who, with William Harley, founded the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. The first Harley-Davidson factory was built in 1906 on Chestnut Street, which is less than half a mile walking distance. That location is now Juneau Avenue (at 37th Street) and is the corporate headquarters. During their many years in the home, the Davidson family added the master bedroom and dining room to the east side of the house.

The home was subsequently used as a rooming house for approximately 10-15 years before it was purchased by Concordia College around the 1950s and then sold to a private owner during the early 1980s. The current owners purchased the house in 2003 and have brought it back after many years of serious neglect.

One Added Story

  1. I visited this house in the late 1980′ and was fasinated with the office/confrrance room located in the basement. The walls were lined with leather coverings. This was either removed or covered over in later years.

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