History – The State Historical Society of Wisconsin in association with the U.S. Department of the Interior placed Cupola House in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, on the National Register of Historic Sites in July of 1979. This magnificent house richly deserves this designation.
Cupola House, built in 1871, is a stately example of Gothic revival style architecture and, as such, is rivaled by no other in Door County. This house was built by Levi Thorp, one of the earliest settlers in the Egg Harbor area, and reflects the position this early merchant had in the county. This house was paid for with gold dust he brought from California in a chamois money belt after the gold rush of 1849. He was particularly careful in the selection of wood for his new home and found knots unacceptable and, as renovation has revealed, he was most successful in avoiding them.
The house is as square and solid today as it was when built – this being due both to the fact that the house’s foundation rests on bedrock and that Levi Thorp used lumber of grand dimensions throughout. The floors are white pine brought across the frozen waters of Green Bay from Menominee with the other lumber needed for this beautiful project. A staircase rises through the center of the house and is graced by banister and newel post of butternut.
The central hall surrounding this staircase has fine examples of early wallpaper and wood grain painted woodwork and doors. This house is, and will remain, an exquisite example of early Wisconsin design and craftsmanship. The renovation and preservation of this historic house was supervised by its new owners, Richard and Gloria Hansen.
Opened to the public for the first time in its history in June of 1982, the Cupola House has continuity of quality and friendship – similar to Levi Thorp’s expectation for this house.