Historic home in Milwaukee’s Park View neighborhood.
From the 1981 Landmarks Commission/Department of City Development report…
Robert Machek was a woodcarver, carpenter and cabinetmaker. He came to the United States in 1879 from Vienna, Austria and settled in Milwaukee during the late 1880s. Presumably he built this house in the early 1890s, as he was first listed in the city directory at this address in 1894. Reminiscent of medieval European cottages and the more recent early nineteenth century “fachwerkbau” structures of rural Wisconsin, the Machek House is a significant example of local architecture characterized by direct European influences.
Prior to his arrival in Milwaukee, Machek’s artistic skills had been internationally acclaimed by the King of Serbia, who presented him with a silver medal for his work on the Royal Place in Belgrade. With the prestigious honor and his own craftsman-designed home, he anticipated numerous commissions and wide popularity. However, this was not the case. Machek left Milwaukee in 1907 for California where he died.
There has been a residence on this site since 1877, and Machek probably tore tore it down before beginning his new house. He used a basic asymmetrical “cottage” plan, popular for the period, and embellished the facades with Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Oriental elements. Window and door surrounds, porches and bargeboards are all heavily carved with ornate abstract forms like human masks, geometric patterns, dolphins and other animate shapes. Wood strips were applied to the exterior to simulate half-timbering. The interior was richly ornamented with numerous carved built-ins, trim, paneling, and Machek’s own handmade furniture.
Only a few alterations relating to heating, electricity, and plumbing have been made since the house was built. The last Machek relative to live there was a cousin who sold the house in 1947. The present owners purchased it in 1964 and have done extensive restoration and refurbishing.