For a brief 18 month period in 1971-1972 my family lived in this house on the shore of Green Bay. It was a wonderful example of late nineteenth century architecture. But, the heating system burned 1000 gallons of fuel oil a month.
The house was built to an incredible scale. I remember enormous rooms with high ceilings that our furniture sort of floated in. There was an elevator, servants call button in the dining room (which also had silver-plated heating registers), and a two bedroom servant's apartment on the third floor.
The breakwater along the backyards was a loose stone rubble. Much of it was partially polished granite chunks that looked like cast off headstone blanks. Any one piece was more than a single person could lift. There were a few storms strong enough to blast the smaller rocks into the backyard as much as twenty feet. The ground surface behind the wall was only about a foot above the water line.
For most of a century the lumber and woodworking industries simply dumped their wood chips and bark into the bay. All of that material eventually sank to the bottom. Whenever a storm was strong enough to roil up the bottom, the back quarter of our yard would fill with waterlogged wood chips to a depth of as much as half a foot.
All images and text Copyright Dale Austin, 1962-2008