Wisconsin’s Mushroom House is FOR SALE!

image from: imgur.com

image from: imgur.com

Wisconsin has some weird houses – like the rock-in-the-house-house and the house-on-the-rock-house. And of course Wisconsin has a few boarded-up graffiti-covered abodes that have seen better days.

But an abandoned mushroom house?

Yep – they have one of those too.

image from: roadtrippers.com

image from: roadtrippers.com

This sad relic is known as the Door County Mushroom House. It was once an enthralling earth-bermed hobbit house, but these days it only entertains vandals and the occasional obsessive house-peeper like myself.

The Mushroom House is located near Fish Creek outside of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on private property.

Local legend purports that the mushroom house was built by an artist/architect and used as a summer home. The homeowner either went bankrupt or died (no one is really sure) but his wife apparently hated the place so much that she just up and left. That’s the story anyway.

It is all boarded up now, as you can see.

image from: practicalenrichment.wordpress.com

image from: practicalenrichment.wordpress.com

I did some digging around but could not find a single photo of this whimsical house in its heyday.

In fact, website after website had little to no information about the house, and no one knew who the owners were. Nobody is even sure when it was built.

But House Crazy Sarah has her ways of finding things out. (It’s called county assessor records my friends – free and open to the public!)

Here’s what I found:

The owners on record are John & Jean xxxxxxx [it is a matter of public record but I don’t want to publish their last name here]

A septic system was installed on the property on 09/19/1978 – that is a pretty good indication of how old the house is.

The residential tax assessment value is $174,100.00 and the taxes for this year were $1,767.44 with zero balance due. Taxes are paid in full!

So technically, this place is NOT abandoned. And the original owners are alive and well.

image from: practicalenrichment.wordpress.com

image from: practicalenrichment.wordpress.com

But a mythical abandoned mushroom house boarded up in the Wisconsin woods is almost more appealing than a shiny new mushroom house, don’t you think?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 ****UPDATE:

11/23/2014

A reader sent me this message:

The owner of the “Mushroom House,” or “The Domes” as he and the rest of the family referred to it, has sadly passed away. I have been given permission by the estate holder to give out his e-mail address for any interested buyers of this eclectic structure. James Awe is the contact. His e-mail is jamesawe@prodigy.netThe family are very motivated sellers. As far as I know the property will be sold “as is.” The sale of the previous owner’s cottage on the lake in Sturgeon Bay will also be for sale. The cottage was built before proximity laws were enacted, so it is believed to be the closest private structure to the lake in Sturgeon Bay.

****

12/31/2014

The listing agent for this property sent me the following email:

****

01/04/2015

There is now a listing on Zillow with many interior photos!

Check it out:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5015-S-Cave-Point-Dr-Sturgeon-Bay-WI-54235/2103971566_zpid/

 

~~~

Sources:

http://www.visitdoorcountywisconsin.com/

https://roadtrippers.com/places/the-door-county-mushroom-house

http://pubinfo.co.door.wi.us

 

 

 

39 Comments

  • SOmeone is paying the taxes! How interesting. Actually, I think it’s kinda cool. reminds me of thatch covered carriage barns in England- but in cement. Too bad you couldn’t get inside- I would have LOVED to seen that! Nice find Sarah and don’t ya just love public records! PS: I just had the history done on A Pleasant House and will be posting that journey soon. WOW is all I can say. Stay tuned!

  • This is so interesting and charming. I wonder if the owners are just not able to take care of the house enough to be able to live in for any given amount of time. It reminds me of a space house, one that you would see in science fiction movies. I love it, very cool.

  • Suzan S. says:

    Paid in full, but no one there…..that IS fascinating !
    They may have set it up as a kind of trust and the property tax is paid up for 50 years or More !
    They may have come into an inheritance or something and covered the tax for a long time.
    It’s on private property but there are vandals ?….that’s a shame.
    If only there were some interior pics.

  • I always wonder about seemingly abandoned homes, of all kinds. Old farmhouses on the side of the road, etc. It is sad, because, while it may not be my idea of a dream home, it was someone’s idea. Sort of sad.

  • Nat says:

    I don’t know a whole lot about the Mushroom House, but I do know that the current owners (who are my wife’s grandparents) are not the “original” owners. John bought the house at auction years ago. My brother-in-law stops up there every once in a while to repair things enough to keep it from totally crumbling. I’ll have to direct him toward this article so he can fill you in on the details of the house…or is it more fun keeping it a mystery?

  • Jennifer Harrison says:

    How absolutely interesting. Look forward to the mystery being answered and possibly interior pics!!

  • Cameron Walker says:

    Does anyone know the owner of the mushroom house

  • Nat says:

    The owner of the “Mushroom House,” or “The Domes” as he and the rest of the family referred to it, has sadly passed away. I have been given permission by the estate holder to give out his e-mail address for any interested buyers of this eclectic structure. James Awe is the contact. His e-mail is jamesawe@prodigy.net The family are very motivated sellers. As far as I know the property will be sold “as is.” The sale of the previous owner’s cottage on the lake in Sturgeon Bay will also be for sale. The cottage was built before proximity laws were enacted, so it is believed to be the closest private structure to the lake in Sturgeon Bay.

    • housecrazy says:

      Thanks Nate, I will make a note of this right in the post and share on my FB page as well to help get the word out.

    • B says:

      “The cottage was built before proximity laws were enacted, so it is believed to be the closest private structure to the lake in Sturgeon Bay.”

      That’s definitely not possible considering it’s across the road from the lake. However it very well might be closer than the required setback for the state park land that the parcel abuts.

      • Nat says:

        The cottage I referred to is a completely separate property from the Mushroom house. That cottage property is in Sturgeon Bay rather than Fish Creek.

  • Will there be an estate sale announcement? Is that the property on Lake Forest Park Drive?

  • Julie says:

    It’s on Zillow with tons of interior photos!

  • Ida says:

    Looked for the link at Zillow after Julie posted…found it using “Mushroom House Wisconsin” as search parameters. Asking is $349K and lots of photos. Link: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5015-S-Cave-Point-Dr-Sturgeon-Bay-WI-54235/2103971566_zpid/

  • Michal Ann Carley says:

    Our summer home is right next store. Our friends and neighbors down the road, who still own at least three homes there still, had parents who split. The father, an artist, purchased the property from another neighbor and commenced to build the house of his own design. He enlisted University of Wisconsin–Green Bay students to volunteer labor and built it of concrete. Watching it emerge from the earth, as it were, was fascinating. The owner/builder later abandoned the project before it was habitable – although some did live in the structure on and off. It was eventually foreclosed upon and sold at auction to the current owner.

    The artist is deceased. The rest of his family and former wife are still living and summer on the Lake in Door County. If one wished to conduct research on the project, it would be straight forward.

  • Wendy Gardner says:

    Just looked at the photos. Ugh, the place looks like a dungeon inside. Nothing workable or charming about the interior. No wonder the wife hated it, it’s REALLY awful. I noticed not a single picture of the bathrooms was posted, they must be horrendous.

    • Nat says:

      My wife tells me it used to be pretty nice inside. She spent holidays in the house as a child. Anyone looking at the pictures should understand that the house was rather extensively vandalized, which is why the windows have been boarded up. A lot of the copper (wires and pipes) were ripped out and stolen from the house a few years ago. The house is made up of two domes. Dome one was finished and livable, dome two was left incomplete by the original builder and pretty much looks like a dungeon, as you said. Indoor pics don’t capture the look as well because the windows are boarded up, so the intended atrium lighting doesn’t shine through (pun!).

      • housecrazy says:

        Thanks for commenting Nat – I can imagine the damage that was done to the poor place, not only by vandals, but also by any critters who got in. Personally, I think this place could be spectacular with some fixing up!

  • Jodi says:

    Have pictures been removed from the listing? Only shows one photo of the front and lists 1 of 1.
    May be a tough sell, a buyer would have to pay cash for the place. Lenders won’t give loans for a structure that doesn’t have compairables. Unless there are other mushroom houses in the area? Do the smurfs live in door county? I think this might make a cool Bed & Breakfast!

  • Loriek says:

    I was surprised that the house was in such a primitive condition. It was never really finished, the kitchen cabinets can’t really be called that…just a few unfinished boards, no real bedrooms, all wiring and plumbing is just about non existent, no way to heat except for the center wood burning fireplaces and those are most likely no longer safe. No pics of the bathroom(s) so they must really be bad. It’s basically an outer shell (possibly leaking) that would take a ton of money to restore to a livable condition. For the asking price I expected a more finished interior (even if there was some vandalism). It seemed like an inventive idea that was poorly executed. This doesn’t compare to the earth homes I’ve seen in Switzerland and other areas for the steep asking price. On that same road there are 3 other properties owned by people with the same last name as the original builder/owner. I wonder if they could be related? I hope someone with a lot of money does restore it. Could be fabulous some day.

  • dan says:

    Is this property zoned residential only? It would make an interesting restaurant, featuring earthy, natural recipes. With the right investors this could be a real sought after stop in a very busy vacation area. I know I’d definitely add this to my vacation schedule. Just an idea!

  • Deb says:

    Judging by the picture and as someone who is familiar with Door Co, I know that there is at least one more home built in this style – a series of rebar and concrete domes. The one that I am familiar with is built into the sand on the Lake Michigan side of the penninsula. It was quite successfully lived in for many years and may still be. I think the intent was to have the majority of the home underground for energy efficiency and that the windows were to face the most optimal direction for sunlight (with shades for wintier nights.

  • Whitney F says:

    I have toured this property several times with the owners. The original builder was an artist who did screen printing; one dome is for living, the other is for working (it even has a darkroom). It was built in the early 1980’s and unfinished when the current owners bought it for very, very cheap. My parents stumbled across the property while rollerblading in 1986 and have been very interested in it for a long time, and thus did the research to find the owners and learn about the home’s unique history. It truly is now abandoned (at least the owners have not been there in a long time- it has been severely vandalized and it makes my heart hurt to think about it). I have many pictures of the home in its near-original state, feel free to contact me if you’d like more information.

  • Linda Stepp says:

    I went to the website you provided and they had 20 photos posted of the Mushroom House. I kept wondering why the family hated it so much. Maybe because of the remote location and the fact it was all concrete and cave like. I imagine it as being rather cold all the time especially in Wisconsin! I did not like the kitchen; it was too fragmented with tiny round islands and no cabinetry as far as the photo shot. It was very interesting and if anyone wants to see the images the website is still available for viewing as of 2/17/2016.

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