Milwaukee February 17, 2018
There’s No Other House On Earth Quite Like This One In Milwaukee
Milwaukee is full of sights to see, but some are truly spectacular. In a suburb just north of Milwaukee, you’ll find this house that is unlike any you’ve ever seen. Fox Point is home to the preservation of a unique Milwaukeean artist, and her work is loved to this day. Some legacies truly live on forever, and we hope this is one of them.
Welcome to the Mary Nohl House!
Also known as the Mary Nohl Art Environment or the Fox Point Witch’s House, this eclectic house in Fox Point has been watched, loved, and talked about for decades.
Who was the artist behind this unique house?
Mary Nohl was a Milwaukeean, a teacher, and—first and foremost—an artist. She graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1937 and was an incredible teacher at many schools until she decided to move back to her parents cottage in Fox Point to focus on her own artwork.
After Mary’s parents passed away, ownership of the cottage passed on to her.
From the 1960s until her passing in 2001, Mary turned her childhood home into a work of art. She took the charming cottage and created dozens of sculptures from concrete, sand, driftwood, wire, and anything else she could find. This art yard has wind chimes hanging from the trees and wood from boats on the sides: it’s a truly resourceful work of art.
The inside is just as amazing as the outside.
Not only was Mary a sculptor, she also painted and made jewelry. All of her pieces reflect the life of a whimsical woman who was also well-traveled and well-cultured.
After Mary Nohl’s death, the house and the sculpture garden were donated to the Kohler Foundation.
In 2012, ownership transferred to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and later was threatened to be dismantled and rebuilt at a public site in Sheboygan.
After much pushback in the community, the plans were cancelled and the house is to be restored in its original location.
As of 2006, the Mary Nohl House is a National Registered Landmark.
Though the myths will be told, Mary Nohl was certainly no witch.
Her solitary life as an artist started many rumors about Mary Nohl being "a witch," and her unusual house has Milwaukeeans telling tall tales. Though it’s fun to imagine such stories, Mary Nohl was an incredible woman. In addition to her life’s work transforming her cottage, her estate of over $11 million was donated to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and used to fund the Mary Nohl Foundation, providing arts education for children and artists’ scholarships, and so much more.
Mary Nohl’s Art Environment is a precious memory to those who grew up in Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs.
Many remember going by the "witch’s house" to scare their friends, or merely admire the art beyond the gates. To this day, the house is visited by many, though at this time it is closed to the public. The National Landmark will continue to be adored from the sidewalks. Mary Nohl's Art Environment is located at 7328 N. Beach Rd., Fox Point.
Do you have stories of visiting the Mary Nohl House, or did you meet Mary herself? We would love to hear them in the comments below!