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06 Sep Tue 05

Gresham Mansion on the Red River

008b-100_0848.jpg This week I will be spending some time in Wisconsin working several auctions, and one sparked my interest: the sale of the Gresham Mansion.

I did a quick Google search on “Gresham Mansion” and turned up some background on the property:

  1. Gresham Mansion, land to be sold, Wisconsin State Journal

    If the walls of the Gresham Mansion in Shawano County could talk, they would tell quite a story.

    Built in 1939, the building sits on land that was once seized by the Menominee Warrior Society in a 1975 occupation that lasted 34 days and thrust the usually quiet plot into the national spotlight.

    Now, more than 30 years after the monthlong confrontation between members of the Menominee Tribe and police and National Guard soldiers, the land is being divided into 17 lots to be sold at an auction on Sept. 8.

  2. Alexian Brothers Novitiate: Gresham, Wisconsin

    In 1950 the Alexian Brothers acquired the Gresham, Wisconsin property, some 232 acres of land and several buildings, as a gift. In 1954, a new addition was added at the cost of about $1,500,000. For seventeen years the property was used as a traditional Novitiate. In 1968, the Novitiate program was moved to Chicago, but the Gresham facility was maintained by a resident caretaker.

    The home was originally built in 1939 by Mrs. Frank (Jennie) Peters of Mount Kisco, New York, the widow of a former Chicago lawyer and inventor. Mrs. Peters built the home for her invalid daughter, Jane, who died before the residence was completed. Mrs. Peters lived in the house until 1948. Following her late husband’s request, she had designed the structure to make it easily convertible into a facility for the Alexian Brothers, to whom Mr. Peters had formed a strong attachment while living as a boy near the hospital on Franklin and Market Streets in Chicago. On October 6, 1948, Brother Julius, Rector of the Alexian Brothers Hospital in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, received a letter to that effect.

  3. ALEXIAN BROTHERS NOVITIATE, aerial photograph

    Gresham, Shawano County. October 20, 1975. Altitude c. 2,000 ft. The camera looks SSW to the former Alexian Brothers Novitiate, situated on the north bank of the Red River about two miles east of Gresham and one-half mile south of the Menominee (County) Indian Reservation. On New Year’s eve, 1974, a group called the Menominee Warrior Society took control of the vacant Roman Catholic facility, claiming it for Menominee tribal use as a hospital. In a well-publicized confrontation with the Wisconsin National Guard, the demonstrators were forced to withdraw, leaving the building in a state of disrepair.

    [The image on this site shows the original — much larger — building as it was in 1975]

There is a tremendous amount of history on this site. The image I’ve posted (above) shows what is left of the building today.

 

written by Kevin in it's all around us