Justine and I drove down to Milwaukee to visit Anna on her birthday "weekend." Justine found this place while searching the Internet. We enjoy going to a small tea house by us and this sounded like such fun - a high tea experience. This month, the presentation was on 1880's fashion.
When I called to make the reservations, the lady asked me "where are you from?" I said "Ringle, WI, - let me spell that for you..." She replies, "oh my, you don't need to, as my husband grew up in Ringle." I said "shut up!" (Ringle is very small!) She proceeded talking to me about it as she ran up to the the 3rd floor to hand her husband the phone. Once he said his last name - I instantly knew where he grew up - the homestead. I knew, because Al and I looked at that place when we decided to move out here. However, it didn't have enough land for us. That is what happens, a farmstead will be purchased for the land, divided up, often times leaving an adorable home with only a few acres. We wanted animals - so it wasn't a good fit. It truly is a small world! The owners are Rick and Laura Sue Mosier.
Our high tea experience started with Laura Sue and Rick dressed in period style clothing. We were seated in the solarium. Which, when they purchased the mansion, they didn't know even existed as this was covered with a roof.
Laura Sue's presentation on tea history and etiquette was very informative. We then were served our tray of savories and sweets along with a variety of tea choices. As we ate, Laura Sue changed into a "tea dress" - that she made in period style. She gave us a very interesting presentation on fashion from the 1880's showing us and passing around many antique examples. I learned quite a bit about this era.
After, we were given a tour of the first floor. I should say, that when Rick and Laura Sue purchased the mansion 7 years ago, the previous owner had started a renovation. The mansion, over the past 100 years, had been turned into an apartment complex. They have/are painstakingly reviving this beauty to complete period accuracy - they have guidelines to adhere to as it is on the National, State and County historical registries.
It is truly a beauty. Laura Sue tells us that Mr. Schuster built this mansion from the "fortune" he acquired growing and selling tobacco. I know not many think of Wisconsin as a tobacco state, but in the 1880's Mr. Schuster had a farm in Mukwonago, WI.
He decided to move to the city, where his warehouse was, and built this mansion for only $24,000. He was married with 4 daughters, one of which is an accredited artist. He was hit with a string of bad luck. One of which was his warehouse being burned down in the Milwaukee Fire of 1892. His wife decided to divorce him and she moved to California with the children. Mr. Schuster, did marry again, and had 2 children with his second wife. He had 1 son, who was an architect and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright. I loved learning about the original family. Rick and Laura Sue have several articles and photos of the mansion during the many decades up to today.
I loved the experience, sharing in the history of tea, fashion and Wisconsin historical families. I can not say enough good things about this place. Should you ever find yourself in Milwaukee, keep the Schuster Mansion in mind. I did bring Rick a gift - a brick from Ringle. That was Ringle's claim to fame - brick factory. He was suprised and I think really liked it. I told him I brought him a piece of Ringle to his home in Milwaukee. If nothing else, it will be a good door stop.
Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.