Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mac Kinnon's Menasha Mansion

D. T. H. Mac Kinnon was a capitalist, entrepreneur and inventor.  Among his business ventures were a pulley factory, excelsior mill for which he invented a more efficient knife and paper mills.  Duncan was born in 1852 in England, the son of Capt. Lauchlan Mac Kinnon of the Royal Navy.  Captain Mac Kinnon met former Wisconsin territorial  governor, James Doty in 1849 while in Washington D. C. and traveled with him to Menasha. The captain loaned Doty money with the governor's land holdings as security.  The upshot of it all this was the governor defaulted and Mac Kinnon acquired land in Menasha.  In time the captains sons Falkland and Duncan came to this county and were managing things in Wisconsin.   Falkland moved on to Wausau and then Wisconsin Rapids and Duncan made his fortune in Menasha.  
By 1898 Mr. Mac Kinnon wanted a fine home.  Like many other wealthy Menashans  he sought the services of William Waters to be his architect.  But unlike others, Mr. Mac Kinnon didn't build his house on East Forest Avenue in Neenah, instead he chose the corner of First and Milwaukee Streets just north of the business district.  Architect Waters designed a massive twenty four room Queen Anne Style house with large bay windows, irregular fenestration and high roof with many dormers. When finished in 1899 there were  front and back parlors, music room, dining room, bath and kitchen on the first floor.  On the second floor were seven bedrooms, sewing room and three bathrooms, the third floor was a ballroom.   It was a late Queen Anne Style and had it been constructed of stone it may have looked like a French chateau.  It must have been truly magnificent when new but like so many large, grand houses it was costly to maintain.  It was converted to The Sunset Haven Nursing home, fire escapes where added and it was clad with aluminum siding which altered it's once grand appearance to shabby.

No comments:

Post a Comment