Stunning 1891 German Renaissance Revival Schuster Mansion is for sale

Stunning 1891 German Renaissance Revival Schuster Mansion is for sale

One of Milwaukee’s best-kept German Renaissance Revival jewels is for sale.

The George Schuster Mansion, which has been operating as a bed and breakfast under Laura Sue and Rick Mosier for about 20 years, and is colloquially known as The Red Castle, 3209 W. Wells St., is on the market for $2.2 million. The 1891 brick and sand stone mansion was designed by Crane and Barkhausen for tobacco magnate George Schuster – not as some believe, for the department store owner Ed Schuster – and has eight bedrooms, seven and a half baths across 9,300 square feet on a third-of-an-acre lot in the Historic Concordia Neighborhood.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and to the state register three years later.

Schuster was born in Ohio in 1850 and arrived in Milwaukee in 1872 and in the following years, was a partner in Schuster & Fitts, a wholesale tobacco company. He married Nora Devendorf in 1878.

“Schuster’s fortunes were apparently riding high in 1891,” notes the Historic Designation Report prepared by the city when the house was being considered for landmark status. “Having lived on the west side where the preponderance of middle class, upper middle class and wealthy Germans resided, it was natural for him to have chosen a west side location for his permanent home.

“Wisconsin Avenue was already populated with numerous mansions going back to the city’s earliest years. … Wells Street in comparison was relatively new and just coming into its own in the late 1880s.”

He purchased the site for his lavish mansion in August 1891 and bought adjoining plots soon after. In September, a construction permit for the house was pulled.

The house was estimated to cost $23,000 for construction alone.

A beautiful coach house designed by the same architects was built at the same time. Crane and Barkhausen also designed this red gem facing Lake Park .

“The house must have raised a few eyebrows in its day,” the report continues. “There was nothing else like it on Wells Street that we know of. The bright red sandstone, bright red brick and red terra cotta are striking and the eclectic styling was definitely a concession to European castles with references to Romanesque, Gothic, Chateauesque, German Renaissance Revival and some Colonial Revival all on one building.”

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