The Wilson Place Mansion front door was crafted at the turn of the twentieth century, likely by a well-known Arts and Crafts Movement blacksmith named Thomas F. Googerty. Wilson Place Mansion was the home of James Huff Stout, a lumber baron, longtime state senator, and philanthropist. Area tradition has it that the door was fashioned to honor Stout, who had founded the Stout Institute, an innovative educational institution that eventually became the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Covered with a now-weathered oak veneer, the Wilson Place door looks like a single massive slab of wood, almost 7 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide. Three large, elaborately spiraled wrought-iron hinge straps are bolted to the surface. In the upper portion of the door is a circular glass window, over 2 feet in diameter. This window is covered with a grille of spiraling and interwoven wrought-iron rods with acanthus leaves at their ends and a raised oval cartouche in the center. These motifs reflect the medieval-revival aesthetics that were a common feature of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Listen below to the Wilson Place Door’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:
Written by James E. Bryan, March 2016.
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Object courtesy of Wilson Place Museum.
Special thanks to: Howard S. Miller; Ron Verdon and Tim Alberg of the UW-Stout Dept. of Art and Art History; Melissa Kneeland, Executive Director of Wilson Place Museum; and Heather Stecklein, Archivist at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.