P.M. Olfson Home

P.M. Olfson Home
Period: 1800-1899
Exterior Description:

The P.M. (Peter) Olfson Home was built in 1899 of the Queen Anne Architectural Style, which became the dominant style in domestic architecture after the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876, and was adopted enthusiastically in both the United States and Canada until 1910. Most home plans were chosen from the large array of architectural plan/pattern books that were available by mail order or local builders. Ornamentation reached new heights with the Queen Anne Style. Common details included an elaborate variety of surface materials such as wood shingles/clapboard, stone veneer, stucco and brick. Asymmetry, a hallmark of the Queen Anne Style includes steeply-pitched hipped roofs, multiple gables, dormers and elaborate hood moldings. Towers and turrets of every form, round, square and octagonal could sprout from various portions of some of the more elaborate Queen Anne homes. Jigsaw patterns and turned posts are common from gable peaks to porches. Door and window fenestration is usually irregular in both size and placement. Stained, curved, beveled and oriel windows are also commonplace. Virtually every surface was textured or appliquéd to add visual interest. The Olfson home is a well executed moderate Queen Anne home painted in an historically accurate paint scheme for color and placement. Built of wood clapboard construction, this three story home features typical Queen Anne details such as an irregular floor plan, multi-gabled roofline, wood shingles (fish scale), applied stick work, and carved decorative bargeboard. The front (north) elevation entry is comprised of a small entry porch that also creates a second story balcony. This entry porch maintains its original turned posts and balustrade. The second story balcony features a unique dormer over the walkout, that has a carved “sunburst” pattern. The front (north) gable of the 3rd floor is comprised of decorative bargeboard encasing square cut wood shingle “fish scale” and two 9 pane rectangular windows. Above the windows is a carved sunburst pattern at the gable peak. The northeast corner of the front facade also features corner windows with their original overhead bracketed fretwork. The northwest facade has a 2nd story balconet, set back and separate from the front second story balcony. These features combine to create a unique front asymmetry. The west and East 3rd story roof gables are large and identical with their bargeboard and stick work encasing three triangular carved fanned reliefs near the peak. They also have rectangular multi-paned windows surrounded by squared fish scale. At the southeast back corner of the home is another first floor porch, which also maintains its original turned posts and balustrade. The south (back) of the home has an attached 2 car garage that is a much later addition and unoriginal to the home, but conveys will within the home. The Olfson home has a high level of integrity, with most of its original features intact, making it stand out as a good example of the Queen Anne style.

Interior Description:

The P.M. Olfson home is very intact with its original floor plan and woodwork throughout. The front entry (north) is a large 8 foot single 5 panel oak door with an original wind-up style doorbell. The entry foyer is fairly elaborate with a “spoon” carved pillared open stairway, with a lift top paneled bench seat. Overhead are two spindled fretwork panels in the sunburst pattern. At the first landing of the stairway is a curved top stained glass window with slag style glass mixed with amber, green and blue green colors. From the foyer you can access the front parlor, the dining room, or library. To the left of the foyer is the parlor which is accessed through double pocket doors. Off of the parlor through another set of pocket doors, is the dining room, which has a large elaborate columned oak fireplace, with a steel coal burning insert with a relief of a woman’s face above the hearth. To the west of the dining room is the library which is accessed by a single pocket door. The library has an added ½ back and a small adjacent closet under the main stairway. The woodwork in all of these rooms is comprised of oak. All of the doors are matching five panel (two vertical above three horizontal) with all of the original filigreed door knobs and hinges. The floors are maple. The kitchen is off of the dining room (south). The kitchen was newer style cabinets, but does maintain its original maple woodwork trim and doors. The back side porch (east) is accessed from the kitchen. A mudroom is adjacent (west) to the kitchen and is newly tiled. There is an outside (west) entry to the mudroom and also a doorway to the “added on” unoriginal garage (south). The second or “maids” stairway is also located here. The first floor ceilings are ten feet. The upstairs is comprised of a North, East and South bedroom that are all connected by doorways and also have hall access. The fourth bedroom is on the west side of the home and has a closet across the hall. The other three bedrooms have their own original closets. The woodwork is original and pine. The doors are matching five panel design, with filigreed door knobs. Ceilings are 9 feet. The second story full back is at the back (south/west) corner. The bathroom is of the 1950’s vintage. The upstairs main hall runs North to South. The basement is under the rear 2/3 of the home and is field stone. The ceiling (floor joist) height is nine feet. A crawl space accesses the area’s under the front parlor and foyer. The P.M. Olfson home is 2,600 square feet. The home’s interior and exterior remain very original and are an excellent example of a modest Queen Anne home.

Statement of Significance:

Peter (P.M.) Olfson was born in the town of Farmington on December 24, 1863 and lived on his fathers farm until 1890, when he went to Iron Mountain, MI and engaged in the wholesale commission business. In the fall of 1892 he came to Waupaca and purchased a large three story basement brick warehouse and became a dealer in Waupaca County potatoes, grain and produce. He engaged in the produce business on a large scale with warehouses also at Arnott and Iola on the Northwestern Railway. Waupaca in the 1890’s was a huge center for produce, especially the Waupaca Potato. Mr. Olfson was a 3rd ward alderman in the late 1890’s and a member of the Modern Woodmen. He was married on December 18, 1888 to Jessie W. Niven (of Farmington). They had two children: Ward S. and Margaret J. In 1898 P.M. Olfson purchased Lots 6, 7, 20, and 21 from W. G. Packard and also purchased Lot 1 from Ms. E. Stinchfield of Scott’s Addition. His Queen Anne style home was built in 1899 on Lots 20 and 21. Lots 1, 6, and 7 were sold off over the years.

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