Yawkey House Museum
The Yawkey House Museum is a historic home in Wausau, Wisconsin and is now owned and operated by the Marathon County Historical Society. It was built in 1901 by businessman Cyrus C. Yawkey and designed in the Classical Revival style. The interior of the house was later redesigned by George Maher, a practitioner of the Prairie School architecture style. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Cyrus passed away in 1943 and his wife in 1953. Their daughter, Leigh, donated the house to the historical society in 1954.
Backstory and Context
A House Built by Lumber
This Classical Revival House was built in 1901 for Cyrus and Alice Yawkey. Cyrus Yawkey was already a successful lumber baron when he and his family moved to Wausau in 1899, and he became a core part of a group of local businessmen and city leaders known as the Wausau Group in the early twentieth century.
The home underwent changes while the family lived there. The architect George W. Maher was brought in to renovate the house in 1907, and he brought a sympathetic, Arts and Crafts motif to the interior. In 1910, the Yawkeys hired Morell and Nichols to design the garden on the corner of the block, which included natural shrubs and bushes, and a pool and pergola.
A Museum for Marathon County
The building took on a new purpose after the death of Mrs. Yawkey in 1953 (Mr. Yawkey died a decade earlier), when the family gave the home to the newly formed, Marathon County Historical Society. From 1954 to 2008, the Yawkey House was home to the historical museum; a destination for curious tourists, an educational field trip for generations of school children, and resource for researchers of local history.
After MCHS acquired the Woodson House across the street in the mid-1990s, the Yawkey House underwent a period of historic renovation. Over decades of use as a museum, the home had been re-purposed to fit the needs of a working institution. But in 2008, the historical renovation brought the building back as close as possible to the state it would have been when the Yawkeys lived there, as the offices, storage, and exhibit space for the historical society were moved to the Woodson House.
http://www.marathoncountyhistory.com/YawkeyHouseMuseum.php?ContentId=86 Charlen Stant Engel. "Yawkev, Cyrus, House," National Register of Historic Places. 12-31-74.