​The W. Harold and Edna C. Pugh House (1930)
In 1928, to accommodate Racine’s growing population and the demand for housing, the city annexed a large plat of land north of what is now Melvin Avenue. The prime real estate in this section was a stretch of land overlooking Lake Michigan that offered expansive lots with private beach access and spectacular lake views.  Several of Racine’s most prominent citizens quickly purchased large parcels and began to build grand homes in a variety of styles along the street known today as Michigan Boulevard.
 
In 1930, a building permit was issued to Harold Pugh for a stone residence costing $48,000. Harold was president of one of Racine’s oldest businesses, Pugh Coal and Oil Company. City records indicate that it was the most expensive house to be built on that street until the early 1950’s.  The architect is unknown, but the contractor was Nelson & Co., a local construction firm. Although often referred to as a Tudor Revival, the house is actually French Eclectic, which was a popular style in this country during the 1920s and 30s. Soldiers, among them both architects and builders who served in France during World War I, were inspired by houses they saw in the French countryside and brought back ideas for incorporating this style into new American houses of the era. This house is a towered subtype of the French Eclectic style immediately identified by the prominent central tower which encloses the staircase. Builders often referred to this style as a “Norman Cottage” as the design is patterned after rural French farmhouses. 
 
Harold was 42, in the prime of his personal and professional life, when he built this house. After the death of his father, William H. Pugh in 1925, Harold assumed management of Pugh Coal and Oil Company.  He was also a director of the National Bank & Trust Co. and the Pioneer Steamship Co. of Cleveland, Ohio.  He and his wife Edna had two children, William and Marjorie. Their new house, an impressive 4800 square feet with 18” stone walls, stood like a fortress above Lake Michigan. Harold passed away in 1958; Edna in 1969. Daughter Marjorie had married Arthur Janes, Jr. (great grandson of Lorenzo Janes, one of Racine’s founding pioneers) in 1942 and they bought the house from Edna in 1964 ensuring that it would remain in the family for another generation.
 
In 1982, the house was sold to Joe and Cathy Marino. Joe was CEO of Western Publishing Co. and a committed volunteer for many Racine organizations. He retired in 1989 before the company became part of Golden Books Family Entertainment. Joe passed away in 1999 and Cathy owned the house until 2006 when she sold it to the new president of Johnson Diversey, Ed Lonergan and his wife Laura.  Building permits show that the Lonergans invested almost $1,000,000 over two years in improvements to the house, including two large additions that added almost 2500 square feet.  Designed by Racine architect Ryan Rudie and constructed by Bukacek Construction Inc., the house was redesigned to take full advantage of panoramic lake views while honoring the spirit of the original home by seamlessly blending in the additions and interior updates. In November 2014, the house was sold at auction to Brian Hyndman of Vista, California. Preservation Racine is very grateful that he agreed to share this grand and historic house with the tour this year.