By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 23, 2024 at 12:01 PM

For readers with the means – or for those of us that like to gawp and dream – another Lake Drive stunner has hit the market. This time, it’s the 1922 home designed by Buemming & Guth for businessman Edward H. Schwartzburg, 3223 N. Lake Dr.

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The five-bedroom, 5.5-bath, 5,612-square-foot Lannon Stone-faced place carries a $1.275 million asking price.

According to the listing – which you can see here – the two-story Jacobean-style home on a quarter-acre lot has “original woodwork, marble entry and a Cyril Colnik wrought-iron designed staircase. The sunlit living room includes a fireplace and the elegant dining room is perfect for entertaining.”

There are also ornate plaster ceilings and leaded glass windows. Outside there are gardens and patios, and the house is located a block north of Lake Park.

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The house was designed by architect Herman Buemming – whose own house I wrote about here – and his former employee and then-partner Alexander Guth.

As I wrote in the previous story, Buemming was born in Toledo, Ohio on Sept. 5, 1872 to German immigrants Julius and Charlotte Buemming. Buemming and his family moved to Milwaukee when he was 12, and he attended Milwaukee Public Schools.

Upon graduation in 1888, he apprenticed for a year in the practice of Charles Gombert, architect of the North Point Water Tower. He then was hired as a draftsman by the Pabst Brewing Company.

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But seeking better things, Buemming traveled to New York City and enrolled at Columbia University in 1891 and studied architecture for three years, after which he worked with a number of architects, including no less than Stanford White and George B. Post.

During his time with Post, Buemming served as superintendent on the construction of the Bank of Pittsburgh building (now razed).

Buemming came back to Milwaukee in December 1896 and went into partnership with Gustave Dick, setting up in the Pabst Building on Water and Wisconsin, and they drew a variety of buildings, from upper East Side mansions to churches like Bay View’s Immaculate Conception to taverns like Century Hall on Farwell Avenue and commercial buildings like the University Club.

The partnership with Dick ended in 1907, and after traveling around Europe, Buemming opened his own practice, in which he hired Guth, who had worked for him as early as 1905. In 1915, Guth struck out on his own and then worked for a time with Alfred C. Clas.

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He returned to Buemming as a partner around 1918-9 and the two were together until 1927, when Guth left to work for Herbst & Kuenzli and Buemming brought his son John into the practice.

Among Buemming and Guth’s work together was the Johnson Controls building at 507 E. Michigan Ave. and a number of homes on the upper East Side.

The Lake Drive house was designed by the architects – and built by contractor Edward Stiegerwald – for Edward H. Schwartzburg, who had a prominent Milwaukee name.

Schwartzburg’s grandfather Christian, born in 1800 in Saarbrücken, Prussia, arrived in the area in 1837 and was said to have been given a lot at 4th and Juneau upon which to build a house by Byron Kilbourn.

Later, that Schwartzburg had a large landholding near what is now 35th and Villard, leading to the birth of the hamlet called Schwartzburg. The arrival of two railroads boosted the area, which had a station on the site of the later North Milwaukee Town Hall. Because he gave the land for the station to the Milwaukee Road, the station was named for him.

The area, part of Granville, became known as North Junction, then North Milwaukee.

Edward Schwartzburg
Edward Schwartzburg. (PHOTO: Wisconsin Historical Society)

Schwartzburg’s son Henry served in the navy during the Civil War and became a prominent Milwaukee businessman, as did his son Edward, who worked in enameling and stamping, working up to management positions.

By the time he retired in 1925, Schwartburg was an executive and board member at National Enameling and Stamping Co.

Afterward, he ran an apartment building, where he and his second wife Flora also lived, at 2035 N. Lake Dr., in what appears to be a continuation of long-running real estate interests.

Why they left the Lake Drive house so soon is a mystery, but newspapers help us see that the switch took place around the same time as Schwartzburg’s retirement.

“One of the largest deals for a single home negotiated during the last year has just been completed,” the Journal wrote on Oct. 7, 1925, “in the sale of the E.H. Schwartzburg home. It was learned from reliable sources that the deal involved about $100,000.

“The purchaser is A.W. Bush of the Nunn-Bush Co.”

That would have been Arthur William Bush, co-founder in 1912 of the company that would become prominent shoe manufacturer, Nunn-Bush.

By 1926, the house was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur William Bush. The couple still lived there when Arthur passed away in 1950 and Edith remained there for another dozen years, selling to house to John Papia around 1961-2.

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Papia then listed it for sale in late 1962 for $49,500 ... less than half of what Bush had paid for it nearly 40 years earlier. When you account for inflation it’s an even worse deal. That $100,000 in 1924 is worth $1.8 million today, while the $49,500 in 1962 is just $500,000 now.

When the house hadn’t sold by 1963, the price was reduced. By 1965 it was either still for sale or for sale again, until it was purchased by Carl and Mary Bruce that year. They listed it in 1973 and a 1974 ad says that it was priced “under $100,000.”


A Dr. M. R. Mendez was there in 1975, but ads offering the house for sale reappear the following year.

It appears that former Bucks player Larry Sanders more recently owned the house.

Regardless, it appears to be a beautiful house and the asking price – $1.275 million (basically the assessed value, which is $1,268,300) – is considerably below what Arthur Bush paid for it exactly 100 years ago.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.