Historic registry considers Ashland mansionThe Wilmarth Mansion, located at 622 Chapple Ave. in Ashland, will be considered on Friday by the Wisconsin Historical Preservation Review Board for nomination to the Wisconsin State Register of Historical Places and the National Register of Historical Places.
The Wilmarth Mansion, located at 622 Chapple Ave. in Ashland, will be considered on Friday by the Wisconsin Historical Preservation Review Board for nomination to the Wisconsin State Register of Historical Places and the National Register of Historical Places. The National Register of Historical Places is the federal government’s official list of historical properties worthy of preservation. The State Register is Wisconsin’s parallel program. Listing in the state and national registers provides recognition and assists in preserving the nation’s heritage. The Wilmarth Mansion was acquired by Impact Seven in 1999 as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort and is undergoing extensive preservation in anticipation of its future return to productive use.
The Wilmarth Mansion is Ashland’s most significant historic example of the Georgian and Neoclassical styles of architecture, a unique concoction exemplifying the character of its owner/architect and the unrestrained American spirit of the Gilded Age. The red brick building is accented by cut sandstone quoins, stringcourses, sills and lintels and a heavy wood entablature. There is a two-story tetraprostyle portico with four colossal columns of the Corinthian order on the north. The interior has high-style woodwork, fireplace trim and doors and ornate plaster cornices and ceiling relief, the style of which varies from room to room and floor to floor. Built by Ashland’s first banker, Lewis Cass Wilmarth, the 1885 residence retains most of its architectural detail in near original condition, despite functions as something other than a family home for nearly three-fourths of its existence. The building was long part of Ashland General Hospital, which was founded and funded in a dramatic 10-day campaign, by local people concerned for the health needs of their fellow citizens. The facility is generally known by the name it assumed in 1946 of Trinity Lutheran Hospital. Between 1917 and 1972, the mansion served primarily as the entrance and administrative space for the larger ward and treatment additions appendaged on its east side. The double-loaded hospital corridors had a series of murals painted by local artist Lucia Hokanson that were lost shortly after Memorial Medical Center took possession in 1974 for use as a rehabilitation facility. The interior of the 1918 hospital and the 1957 extension were completely altered in 1999 by Impact Seven for their current use as multi-family housing. The iconic exterior form was retained and is now the sole surviving built-witness to over a half-century of Ashland’s medical history. The Wilmarth Mansion is situated in a residential mixed-use neighborhood in Ashland, five blocks uphill from the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior.