Michael Horne
House Confidential

Millionaire Paul Ryan’s Magnificent Home

House Speaker's Georgian home might befit a founding father. Take that, Donald Trump.

By - Feb 18th, 2016 06:53 pm
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Millionaire Paul Ryan's Magnificent Home. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Millionaire Paul Ryan’s Magnificent Home. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

For the first time in history Wisconsin is the home state of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 1st District Congressman Paul D. Ryan of Janesville. Ryan, who ran as the Republican candidate for Vice-President in 2012, was also the first Wisconsinite to appear on a major party national ticket.

Ryan’s district includes the Milwaukee County communities of Oak Creek, Franklin, Hales Corners and Greendale. Altogether four congressmen — half of the state’s delegation — represent some portion of Milwaukee County, although it has only 16 per cent of the State’s population and less than 2 per cent of its land area. What some may see as gerrymandering, House Confidential views as an opportunity to visit the residences of more congressmen serving in the same session than this county has ever known.

Ryan’s residence is a Georgian Revival mansion in downtown Janesville, which was a settlement when Ryan’s Milwaukee County communities were still cornfields. Janesville is the seat of government of Rock County. The county offices and Ryan’s house are both located on Courthouse Hill, a nationally and state-registered historic district.

If Ryan can’t find his birth certificate and needs a copy so he can get his ID to cast his ballot at the Hedberg Public Library, he will find it at the Register of Deed’s office, just four blocks away from his house.

Ryan’s home, built in 1929, has 5,786 square feet, 13 rooms, six bedrooms and seven baths. It sits on an ample lot of eight-tenths of an acre with a detached two-car garage. It is one of the finest of any politician’s homes to have yet been visited by House Confidential. But it was easily afforded by Ryan, who became a millionaire as a result of his marriage in 2000 to Janna Little, a former congressional staffer turned Washington lobbyist who hails from a wealthy family of Oklahoma trial lawyers, and who changed her name to Janna Ryan upon getting married.

Paul Ryan’s net worth was estimated at $4.9 million at the time he ran for vice president, well more than the average net worth of the average congressman, which is just over $1 million. Ryan is among 271 members of congress (more than half of those serving) who are millionaires.

This mansion, as a backdrop for a Speaker of the House, could not be any better cast, or of more formidable Republican lineage. It is well-designed, well-built and utterly representative of the highest elements of Federal architecture of the sort we relate to our Founding Fathers and the early years of our republic. As one description notes, the red brick house has a central doorway, portico with free-standing columns, overall rectangular form and balanced fenestration.

The brick is laid in Flemish Bond, more structural than the thin veneer courses most commonly seen in the Midwest, which cover up and fireproof what are essentially frame structures. The home is accented with white trim and black shutters against the red brick. The roof is grey slate — another sign of massive construction — and the gutters and downspouts are copper. The windowsills are stone — all these elements point to sound craftsmanship, traditional construction methods, and a hefty budget. Ryan’s first job may have been at McDonald’s, but this is no mere McMansion.

In many additional respects, including its gated fence, its dormers, its restrained yet dignified entryway, the home seems much more a product of the North Atlantic region than of Janesville, Wisconsin. It would not look out of place in the nation’s Capitol.

This may be because the architect of the home was from Washington D.C.

Appleton Prentiss Clark, Jr., [1865-1955] had a 60 year career. Clark’s father was a lawyer and Republican who supported voting rights for African-Americans. Clark, Jr. graduated from high school in the nation’s capital in 1883 and produced dozens of buildings there, some of substantial construction that now serve as foreign embassy residences, like that of Austria. At the time of his passing, he was considered the dean of architects of his era. At some point he encountered William G. Wheeler, for whom he constructed this home. This is one of many Clark buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and is believed to be the only one he built in Wisconsin.

Wheeler was a Republican attorney and a native of Rock County, much like the man who owns the home today. Like Ryan, he was an early go-getter. By the time he was 30, in the 1891, he was the District Attorney for the county, and later served as a member of the assembly as a U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin before continuing with what was apparently a lucrative practice.

Wheeler later sold the home to George Safford Parker II of Janesville’s Parker Pen family. Parker was a collector of early American furniture and art, and headed the Janesville Foundation for over 50 years. Parker also served as the chair of Milwaukee-based Manpower Group from 1976-1986, and as head of the state’s Republican party from 1974-76, and later on the national committee for the party.  Upon his death in 2004, the home was transfered to his Caxambas Foundation’s hands for $432,700.

Ryan Home Comes With Remodel

Ryan, the third prominent Republican occupant here, bought the home on June 3rd, 2010 for $420,950, with Warranty Deed 1893929 being duly filed at the Rock County Courthouse right there on Courthouse Hill.

However, nearly two weeks after the sale, on June 15th, 2010, Permit BP101354 was issued to the Caxambas Foundation, its previous owner, “To remodel kitchen — Frame down new ceiling in kitchen and cosmetic work.” The permit cost $50, but the value of the new kitchen for the congressman was not mentioned. Perhaps it was a condition of the sale that the owner, a foundation with an address of 5320 N. Lake Drive, Whitefish Bay, should provide a new kitchen for the purchaser, a Member of Congress. The $27 million foundation is headed by Martha Parker Thermansen, George S. Parker II’s daughter. Perhaps a careless clerk recorded a former owner’s name on the permit. It does seem like a situation an elected official would want to clarify for the public.

After Ryan’s family moved in, the assessor knocked four years off the building’s effective age to reflect the new toilets installed in the home. The walk-up attic is a finished playroom and bedroom, but the faucets for the bathtubs there cannot be used. Fortunately, the playroom has a shower and two sinks.

In January, 2016 Ryan paid a $60 permit fee to have seven motion sensor lights placed around the home’s 0.82 acre grounds. In 2012, when he was running for Vice President, Ryan had to pay a $50 permit fee for temporary electrical service to accommodate the Secret Service agents who watched his home. I wonder if Mitt Romney ever reimbursed him for that little out-of-pocket expense. Or does Romney agree with Donald Trump that Ryan was responsible for the Romney-Ryan ticket losing the 2012 election?

Tax Incremental Payments

Ryan is known for being a master of budget minutae, and there is evidence he employs his analytic skills to the science of household management. For example, there is no penalty or interest assessed for making property tax payments on the installment basis. Ryan uses this thrifty expedient to help with his family’s cashflow. On January 28th 2016 he paid $5,468.24 of his $10,936.48 property tax bill, with the second payment due on or before July 31st.

Six Bedrooms in Janesville, None in Washington

When Ryan was mulling the speaker’s job, he made it clear that he did not intend for the new responsibilities to diminish his family time. He insisted upon travelling home to his district on weekends to be with them in this magnificent home. But during the weekdays, it is a different story. Ryan is one of some 40 members of the House of Representatives — mostly Republicans — who sleep on cots in their offices during the work week. He is the highest ranking member of the Couch Caucus, choosing to sleep in his modest Longworth Office Building space rather than in the tobacco-stained palatial Capitol building office left to him by departing Speaker and chain smoker John Boehner.

Milwaukee County’s Four Members of Congress

Milwaukee County was divided among four congressional districts following the 2010 Census. The members, and their Milwaukee County communities:

1st District, Paul Ryan (R)

Ryan’s district includes the Milwaukee County communities of Oak Creek, Franklin, Hales Corners and Greendale

4th District, Gwen Moore (D)

[House Confidential Honoree 2013]

Moore’s district includes the Milwaukee County communities of Milwaukee, Fox Point, Bayside, Brown Deer, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, South Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis, Glendale and West Milwaukee

5th District, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R)

The longtime congressman’s district now includes the Milwaukee County Communities of Greenfield, Wauwatosa and West Allis.

6th District, Glenn Grothman (R)

Grothman’s district includes the Milwaukee County community of River Hills, and two tiny pockets of Bayside with a handful of residents.

Photo Gallery

The Rundown

  • Owner: Paul D. Ryan; Janna L. Ryan
  • Location: Janesville
  • Neighborhood: Courthouse Hill
  • Subdivision: Jackman and Smith’s Addition
  • Year Built: 1929
  • Architect: A.P. Clark, Jr., Washington D.C.  [1865-1955]
  • Style: 2.0 Story Georgian – Federal Revival brick mansion shows fine detailing and closely resembles similar homes found in places like Washington, D.C., where Ryan sleeps on a cot in his office.
  • Size: 5,786 s.f..
  • Fireplaces: Multiple
  • Rec Room: Upstairs in the attic.
  • Assessment: Land: 35,719 s.f. lot is assessed at $50,800 [$1.42/s.f.]. Improvements: $396,700 Total: $447,500. Current owner bought residence 06/03/2010 for $420,950.
  • Taxes: $10,936.48 Paid on the Installment Plan. Most recent payment: $5,468.24 made on 01/28/2016.
  • Garbage Collection Route and Schedule: Could Not Be Determined
  • Polling Location: Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St. Janesville
  • Aldermanic District: N.A. [Janesville has a seven-member council elected on a citywide basis.]
  • County Supervisor District: Rock County 24th District Supervisor Richard Bostwick
  • Walk Score: 60 out of 100. “Somewhat Walkable.” Close to the Citrus Cafe and Wiggy’s Saloon. Ryan’s Janesville District Office, at 20 S. Main St., is just a half mile away, right past the South Central Wisconsin Builder’s Association. To be fair, though, Wiggy’s Saloon is more of a John Boehner kind of place.
  • Transit Score: Could Not Be Determined

How Milwaukee Is It? Not very. The residence is about 75 miles from Milwaukee’s City Hall

40 thoughts on “House Confidential: Millionaire Paul Ryan’s Magnificent Home”

  1. Patty Wanninger says:

    Paul Ryan is an O’Reilly and Conway’s man.

  2. Joanne Brown says:

    I think it’s outrageous that Paul Ryan’s 5700-sq. ft. house is assessed at less than $500,000, when my 1700-sq. ft. house in Madison is assessed for nearly the same amount and my taxes are higher. That house is worth at least $1 million, even in Janesville.

  3. Wauwatosa says:

    What a beautiful home. Seems befitting of a Speaker of the House. I though that assessment was a tad low myself.
    Appears you can get a lot of home in Janesville for a reasonable price.

  4. AG says:

    Joanne Brown, that’s just how cheap the real estate in Janesville is. If you don’t mind the commute, go buy yourself a 5k sq foot home there and save yourself some money on taxes.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    Hey he’s just a normal WI dude who likes Miller Lite and making sure that all of his legislation benefits people who have massive mansions like he does.

  6. Ryan says:

    “Millionaire, Paul Ryan.” Pity the poor unfortunate liberals, with not a penny among them, who reject the scornful capitalist’s way of life, choosing instead to reside in soup kitchens while donating their blood and their very souls to the causes of justice. Democrats and the creators of this publication are so…noble.

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    Yes clearly the message is that liberals are perfect creatures who only do good deeds. I believe that was the exact phrasing.

  8. Tim says:

    I also pity the poor unfortunate liberals who don’t pick themselves up by their bootstraps & marry into wealth. Like Paul Ryan, Like Ron Johnson.

  9. Harald says:

    To Joanne Brown: of course your taxes are higher and home assessed higher. You live in the People’s Republic of Madison where the government of the city is run by liberals and Democrats. You pay inflated taxes so those idiots can keep giving your money away to the residence of your city who refuse to get a job to pay for themselves and actually help the city by paying taxes. And year after year, the other idiots in Madison keep voting them back into office to ruin the city and the local government.

  10. Clark David says:

    When I grew up in Janesville, I may have regarded this as a “mansion”. Today I see this article as misleading and political. I note that Milwaukee Mayor Barrett’s home is worth nearly as much. Why not run an article him in the same tone? Paul Ryan deserves credit for his devotion to family and the state, including to a city that has had its struggles.

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    Wow the way Harald tells it Madison is a real sh*thole and you wonder why anyone would want to live there. Interesting then that it’s such a highly regarded city and ranks as the third best place to live in the entire country. http://www.visitmadison.com/media/rankings/

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    A devotion that has done nothing to help the poor people of Janesville.

  13. Tyrell Track Master says:

    As much as I dislike Paul Ryan’s politics I have to offer some respect for sleeping on a cot all week. That’s commendable.

  14. Dear Clark David:
    I have written an article about Tom Barrett’s residence. I will leave it to you to judge if it is “in the same tone” as my article about Speaker Ryan’s residence.
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2013/05/17/house-confidential-mayor-barretts-modest-mansionette/

  15. Mike Carey says:

    Well I’m realy confident in his ability to understand the hardships many od his constituents live in when I saw his home and how much he’s worth. It makes me wonder what the value of his home in D.C. is? Or Oklahoma, where is wife is from?

  16. Allison says:

    He does not have a home in Washington dc. he sleeps in a cot in his office and showers at the gym.

    now back to regular programming for more useless comments and urban milwaukee blogs by jeremy michael and bruce about how republicans hate poor people

  17. Vincent Hanna says:

    Republicans don’t hate poor people? Next you’ll tell me Democrats don’t hate lower taxes.

  18. David Clark says:

    Without taking time to dissect every word, the headlines alone set a different tone. Personally, I think both of them are loyal public servants and not ostentatious.

    HOUSE CONFIDENTIAL
    Mayor Barrett’s Modest Mansionette
    The home is reserved, restrained, dignified unto dull, not unlike its occupant.

    HOUSE CONFIDENTIAL
    Millionaire Paul Ryan’s Magnificent Home
    House Speaker’s Georgian home might befit a founding father. Take that, Donald Trump.

  19. Bruce Murphy says:

    David Clark, speaking as the editor who writes the headlines, are you saying the headline that describes Barrett as dull is pro or anti-Barrett? And the Ryan headline, which says his home would befit a founding father, is that pro or anti-Ryan?

  20. Terry Ott says:

    Speaker Ryan lives in THAT? What a disgrace.

    I set out to compare with former Speaker Pelosi’s home, to see if Ryan was keeping up. Problem: you have to narrow it down, because Nancy has that impressive-looking place in the city (San Francisco), that spread in Napa (20+ acres?) with the vineyard and tennis courts, and then the DC shack in Georgetown.

    Paul’s digs would make for a quaint Pelosi guest house, or “The Madame Speaker Bed & Breakfast” in Napa (should they need to get a cash flow from it). And they could put it somewhere out on the periphery so they wouldn’t have to look at it or the riff-raff coming and going.

  21. rnprn says:

    Before all the gerrymandering, the 1st district used to include Beloit and other areas of Rock County. They really wacked the heck out of the district, it is not recognizable anymore.

  22. Maria says:

    It appears he maintained a sturdy fence/wall around his home.

  23. Mary says:

    Interesting to review all the homes that have been featured, but am puzzled at how the city superintendent of schools is able to afford a $14million home — and where it could possibly be located.Does she sleep at her desk too??!!

  24. Dave Reid says:

    @Mary If you read the story (click on her name) about Darienne B. Driver, you will find she lives in an apartment building valued at $14 million. She does not have a $14 million home. http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2014/10/08/house-confidential-mps-superintendent-drivers-downtown-pad/

  25. Clark David says:

    Vincent Hanna, is that your real name? Who are you? Please think a little deeper. The world is not a cartoon.

  26. Sarah Parker says:

    That house was my cousin George Parker”s home. The authentic George S. Parker home is at 1000 E. Milwaukee St. in Janesville. When my father joined the government, appointed by Nixon as Head of the Agency for International Development AID working directly under Henry Kissinger. Because government conflict of interest in government my father, Daniel S. Parker, grandchild to the founder of Parker Pen, he had to reign CEO to accomplish great, philanthropic work for the State Dept. During that time Gearge Parker (the owner of Ryan’s) removed my father from office. The Ryan’s family home is across the street from Ryan’s family home.

  27. Maria Ginter says:

    I wouldn’t call the driveway and the landscaping “Magnificent” but then I’m not from Wisconsin.

  28. Teotonia says:

    Paul Ryan needs to help America stay America and do something about the guy in the White House he is destroying America as we know it and worse is yet to come.No one is allowed to publicly redicule humiliate America the way trump did, we are a great country NOT the trash he described Mr Ryan Please save our country from this man

  29. Teotonia says:

    Mr Ryan, I believe you are an American at heart and you want what is best for our country. You are a republican but I do believe you put the best interests of the country above your own interests and party. Believing that this is true, how can you support a man like trump, I don’t think you do at heart, but that does not count, what counts is what you are willing to do to stop this man from further trashing our country. How he described our country to America and the world on election day is unforgivable, and the words of a traitor. We are not the trash he described, we are a great nation.We have our problems, I thought racism was a thing of the past , unfortunately I saw it very much alive with trump and his followers. These people do’t represent you or me or the great majority of American and how can we allow what the KKK call their leader. I am not so worried about KKK groups I am worried that based on what he has said continues to say and do , our country will have no power or respect in the world, we see China and Russia rising and when our leader praises people like Putin , what does that mean? I know what it does and so many others. Please Mr. Ryan you have the power to guide congreaa and the Senate as you are the majority to do what is best for our country NOT donald trump. He uses the White House to promote his business and so does the rest of his family. worse than that, they will destroy America as we know it. God help you to do the right thing for America and the future or our children, I am sure you want your children and future grand children to know America as we know it.

  30. Jason says:

    Teotonia, this is what the left has to say about Trump’s son. So don’t act like your side is SNOW WHITE, on inauguration weekend, leftist comedians and writers took to Twitter to call Barron a “rapist” and a “homeschool shooter” and to suggest the boy is an arsonist.
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/01/comedians-call-trumps-son-barron-rapist-homeschool-shooter/#XTctshccBfhvy77b.99

  31. Vincent Hanna says:

    WND? The site of the birther king and lunatic Joseph Farah? Did you defend Chelsea like this Jason?

  32. Gary says:

    What about Harry Read and his MILLIONS

  33. Vincent Hanna says:

    Yes why isn’t Urban Milwaukee talking about a retired Nevada politician. Good question.

  34. the headline should be Ryan DC couch potato . or Ryan understands compounding and interest become millionaire along with

    there are 10.4 millionaire’s in the US adding 300,000 or 3 % per year .

    — do not spend it save it put 1,000 dollars away each year between 20 and 30 invest it in the DJI or NYSE or NASDAQ indexes at Vanguard or any low fee reliable place and you will be a millionary at 65 . That’s half the price of owning a used car and its operation for a year —live in town take a bike or walk save money on doc bills too .

    I am delighted we have some economically literate representative in DC maybe we need some more anyone of us would have been put out of business , have no credit —why does government not have the same rules as the people it serves , what world are they living in ?

  35. u2kazoo says:

    What’s the street address for this house? I’d like to send him a letter.

  36. Dale Pautzke says:

    Typical rich greedy Republican. He enjoys the best health care, retirement and benefits of his high position. Wants to take away health care and social security from the rest of us. My son may die if he looses his ACA. Doe Ryan care?

  37. Dale Pautzke says:

    Paul Ryan does not care to represent the people. He wants to abolish the ACA which is keeping my son alive. He wants to cut social security and medicare. Why does he feel privileged to live off our tax dollars?

  38. James says:

    His health insurance should not be paid by citizens, especially those who are about to lose teir own, who mostly live in red states…

    Self serving SOS.

  39. judith moriarty says:

    sarah parker: my brother Mike Moriarty was married to Jody Parker. he claimed she was a member of the Parker Pen people…true?

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