In 1908, as Charles and Sarah contemplated building a residence for themselves and their collection, the couple was drawn to English design — a nod to their English heritage. This led them to Alexander Chadbourne Eschweiler, a prominent Milwaukee architect who designed many lavish city residences — some in carefully executed Tudor style.
Eschweiler was born in Boston in 1865, the son of a German-born engineer. The family moved to Northern Michigan, where his father worked in the copper mining industry. They moved to Milwaukee when Alexander was 17 years old. He attended Marquette University for a year before transferring to Cornell University. After earning his degree in architecture there in 1890, he returned to Milwaukee and began his career with the Henry C. Koch architectural firm, designing the atrium roofs of Milwaukee’s iconic City Hall and the Pfister Hotel among other early commissions.
Eschweiler started his own architectural firm in 1892. Initially, he was best known for his residences, many of which can still be found on Milwaukee’s East Side along Bradford Avenue, Newberry Boulevard, and Lake Drive. He also won many commissions for commercial buildings, including three buildings on the Milwaukee Downer College campus (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), the Marquette University Law and Science buildings, and the Wisconsin Gas Company headquarters on Wisconsin Avenue. Eschweiler built his home in the city of Milwaukee at 2810 E. Bradford Ave. in 1902. The home is still standing. Eschweiler’s three sons joined his firm in 1923, forming a partnership that continued to build homes, and industrial and commercial buildings for over 50 years.