Milwaukee's Historic Concordia Neighborhood: Exploring The Manderley Bed And Breakfast
Milwaukee's Historic Concordia Neighborhood has a rich history dating back to the 1850s. Old-world craftsmanship is found in midsize homes and large mansions alike, with architectural styles ranging from Cream City brick, gothic, Victorian, and Mission Style homes.
Many of the neighborhood's historic mansions were demolished in the 1950s through the 1970s, and many were converted into rooming houses or left to decline. However, the Historic Concordia Neighbors, Inc. keeps preservation and education as their primary mission to maintain the homes still standing.
This year, Historic Concordia Neighbors is offering free virtual tours of homes in the neighborhood, including the Manderley Bed and Breakfast.
Andrew Parker and Marie Parker are the proprietors of the Manderley Bed and Breakfast in the Historic Concordia Neighborhood.
History Of Concordia Neighborhood
According to Marie Parker, the neighborhood's first residents were wealthy Germans who settled in the area. She recounts that it wasn't long until Concordia became a recreation of Berlin, leading to the city being dubbed "New Berlin."
Marie Parker explains that these wealthy settlers, "came with a pocketful of cash, they came with their bakers, their brewers, their craftsman, and recreated [what] they called little Berlin here."
Eventually, the area became home to some of the wealthiest and most powerful people of the state. Among the families who settled there were the Millers and Davidson's.
Parkers Move To Historic Concordia Neighborhood
Andrew Parker grew up in Milwaukee at 14th and North Street. After graduating from Washington High School and Marquette University, Andrew began working for Marquette University and decided to look for a home in the area.
When he began looking in the mid-1980s, he came across a group called the Westside Conservation Corporation. The group essentially bought old houses from the old Concordia College as Concordia College used to be the center of this neighborhood.
The group "came in and redid all the houses to make them like new. So all new heating systems and updated the electrical...they marketed them to families to come and be urban pioneers," explains Andrew Parker.
Andrew Parker bought a Victorian home on 34th Street previously owned by Hugo Tully, a furniture manufacturer.
Marie Parker is from Greenfield, Wisconsin and she says her love for Victorian-style homes was born when she did an internship in the suburb of Evanston.
When she met Andrew, he lived in one of those incredible, old homes that reminded her very much of Evanston.
Operating The Manderley Bed and Breakfast
After getting married, the Parkers stayed in many bed and breakfasts and knew they would eventually like to own and operate one.
The Parkers admit that the Concordia neighborhood wasn't on their radar at first. The two wouldn't notice the area until a house that checked all their boxes showed up on the market.
Andrew Parker notes, "It had the potential to have everything we wanted. We hadn't really considered an urban location as ideal. But it turns out an urban-like location for a bed and breakfast is perfect as there's always something going on in Milwaukee."
Marie Parker notes that the house was missing the original double doors, all the stained glass windows, and the mantels. But it had an open grand staircase and had private quarters for them. It had eight bedrooms and a giant yard.
With creativity, lots of shopping, and research, the Parkers eventually restored the house and opened their doors as a bed and breakfast.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, The Manderley Bed and Breakfast incorporated virtual touring. The two say that adding this feature was monumental in how people get to experience their historic home and business.
The Parker's B&B and many other historic homes in the area can be explored in 360-degree virtual tours. You can view them here.