Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cooksville’s Artists and Artisans, Part Five: Ralph Lorenzo Warner, by Larry Reed

Warner next to the House Next Door
Ralph Warner was a legend in his own time. His creations in Cooksville quickly brought attention to himself, to his “House Next Door,” and to the Village of Cooksville, no doubt much to his surprise.
Warner arrived in Cooksville in 1911, bought the old Duncan House, and from then on the village was never quite the same.

Milwaukee-born Ralph Lorenzo Warner (1875-1941) came to Cooksville from Racine where he lived and where he heard about the quaint village from Susan Porter, a teacher-colleague who had grown up in Cooksville and owned the Backenstoe-Howard House (“Waucoma Lodge”) on Webster Street. Warner bought the “House Next Door” to Susan’s home and immediately set about restoring the old brick Duncan House. He filled it with his growing collections of antiques—furniture, domestic items, art works—many found locally and at the same time he began cultivating his special old-fashioned gardens of herbs, vegetables and flowers.