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About The Woodson History Center

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The Woodson House was designed for Leigh Yawkey and Aytchmonde P. Woodson by George W. Maher.

Leigh was the only child of Cyrus and Alice Yawkey.  After the Woodsons were married in 1911, they lived in Kansas City where Mr. Woodson practiced law.  

When the Woodsons decided to return to Wausau, the Yawkeys hired George W. Maher, the Prairie School architect to design a house.  They wanted the Woodsons to be close at hand, so the Yawkeys bought the Sexsmith house across the street and had it moved, enabling the Woodson House to be built on this site in 1914.

The house was the last Prairie School style house designed by Maher in Wausau.  He had designed three large stucco Prairie houses in Wausau.  Only two are extant.  He also designed two Colonial Revival houses and the public library (now demolished).

The design that Mr. Maher used for the Woodson house was the dominant horizontal line, but the hipped roof was divided into three sections and there were several motifs such as the arches, the lotus flower and cartouches.  These motifs are repeated on the exterior as well as the interior.

The large windows on the second story are typical of the Prairie School style of architecture.  The series of windows in the living room are called ribbon windows.  The house is brick and the roof is tile.  Note the wonderful triple chimneys that mimic the three sectioned roof.

According to Maher expert, Don Aucutt, the motifs are:  segmental and semicircle arches, guttae in various sizes, lotus flowers, lotus buds and cartouches.  They appear inside and outside.  The motifs show in the dining room sideboard and table and chairs (now in the historical society library).  This furniture was made at Hasselgren Studio in Chicago, a firm which between 1911-1937 furnished many large suburban Chicago houses. 

The entryway leads to a beautiful carved walnut stairway.  All of the woodwork on the first floor was given seven coats of varnish.  The wood was rubbed with pumice between coats.  

The Woodsons sold the house to the Immanuel Baptist Church in 1954.  The church added the sanctuary in 1956.  The Marathon County Historical Society purchased the property in 1995.  Today it is used for the administrative offices for the Society, the research library and archives; the artifact storage and exhibits are also in the building. 




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HOURS

Tues - Fri 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sat - Sun 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Close Monday

LOCATION
Marathon County Historical Society
410 McIndoe Street
Wausau, WI 54403

Office: 715-842-5750
Library: 715-848-0378
Fax: 715-848-0576
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