Historic Structures

Lloyd R. Smith House, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Date added: November 26, 2009 Categories: Wisconsin House

Inspired by Italian Renaissance villas, this attractive, well-preserved building, for forty years a private residence and now a public museum, is an admirable example of the traditional architecture built in this century and of the work of Chicago architect David Adler. Its setting is also noteworthy: The Smith house stands on a terraced, landscaped bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

The application for the building permit (No. 26178) is dated September 6, 1923, and lists the mansion's estimated cost as $200,000. According to the "Report of Inspection" on file at the General Office, Building Inspection, 1010 Municipal Building, construction was completed and "finishing and decorating" in progress by November 3, 1924.

The mansion, originally called Sopra Mare, was built for Lloyd R. Smith, an executive of the A. 0. Smith Corporation, and was donated to the Milwaukee Art Center, Inc. in 1963-66 by Smith's widow, Mrs. John Jacob Curtis. On April 20, 1966, Maurice W. Berger, president of the Art Center, presented the deed to the property to John L. Doyne, Milwaukee County Executive. Rechristened the Villa Terrace, its new name reflecting its address, setting, and style, the former residence opened as a museum in June of the following year.