Photos by Kevin Brown of The George W. Maher Society

904 Franklin St., Wausau, WI 54403 Built in 1894

Built for Charles and Helen Gilbert in 1894, this house serves as a well-preserved example of a Shingle Style design, and the first of six homes that Maher would design in Wausau. His second commission in town wouldn’t come until ten years later, for Charles’ friend and business colleague, Charles Winton.
At just 29 years-old and still in the early stages of his independent architectural career, the influence of his former employer, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, is evident in the homes he designed in this period.
Like many in the wealthier class of Wausau, Charles Gilbert made his living in the lumber business, working as secretary for the Winton Timber and Lumber Co. of Wausau and Minneapolis. According to family lore, Charles and Helen found Maher during a visit to Chicago in 1893; Helen was searching for an architect to reproduce a house she had seen in a magazine. 
This theory is disputed by Maher researcher and author Don Aucutt: “I believe the Gilbert connection with Maher resulted from lumber industry relationships, particularly Maher’s acquaintance with James A. Culbertson, an early Kenilworth resident who had lumber interests in Menominee, Michigan. Culbertson moved to Chicago from Kentucky; he had relatives in New Albany, Maher’s boyhood home.”