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4123 Monona Drive

Frank Allis, son of the founder of the Allis-Chalmers farm machinery company in Milwaukee and a gentleman farmer with an extensive agricultural operation in historic Blooming Grove, chose a lakeside setting on which to build his large manor house in 1888. With its large columned porch overlooking Lake Monona and acres of shady lawn and garden, including 1500 feet of shoreline, this 14-room two-story wooden-sided house in one of the most interesting structures in Monona. Designed in an eclectic style, the house fits into a time period when revival styles were popularized. It possesses many Georgian characteristics, such as dormer, fanlights, columns and decorative pilasters. Other unique features include an open carved oak staircase and sizable ballroom on the third floor. Basically, the structure of the house has remained unchanged. Notably, the house has seven fireplaces all featuring glazed tiles surrounded by carved moldings. The fireplace in the living room boasts a six-foot-high mantel. In its time, the Allis home was among the first year-round dwellings on the lakeshore beyond the city limits of Madison. The estate was extensive, consisting of may farm buildings and stables and a private race track. Almost 600 acres, it stretched south and west along the lake to the grounds of the old Tonyawatha Springs Hotel and spanned across present-day Monona Drive. from Frank Allis School south to Pflaum Road, including the Monona Golf Course area. The building at 4202 Monona Drive was operated as a boarding house for the dozen or more farm hands by Mrs. Delbert Scott, whose husband was the coachman and later chauffeur for Mr. Allis. It, along with the foreman's home at 4304 Monona Drive, stands on acreage later operated as the Quaker Oats Experimental Farm.

Frank Allis

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