By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 16, 2023 at 9:01 AM

Just about a year ago, I took you inside the beautiful 1890 brick Victorian designed by James Douglas at 1425 N. Prospect Ave.

At the time, the house was for sale.


You can read the history and see how it looked at the time in this Urban Spelunking article.

Now, it's available to rent as an Airbnb.

The unit six bedrooms with eight beds and 3.5 baths and can accommodate 16 or more guests. After 10 reviews, the property has a five-star rating.

There is also a second unit in the building's third floor, which you can see here.

It's being rented by superhost Brad Todd, who owned the former Stubby's Gastrogrub, which closed in December.

Among the Airbnb's many amenities are free on-site parking, a washer and dryer, air conditioning, wi-fi and more.

But the real amenity is being able to spend time in this gem of a home, designed by one of Milwaukee's most talented 19th century architects.


As I noted in my earlier article, Douglas – a Scottish immigrant – was a respected architect with a long career, whose alluring 1876 cream city brick home for grain dealer Gilbert Collins was (and still is) just a few doors south.

The neighborhood had earned the nickname of “Douglasville" for the many residences Douglas designed in the area, but only a few of his works survive. One of the most noteworthy and well-known is the Dr. Fisk Holbrook Day House perched atop a hill in Wauwatosa.

Others nearby include the Quarles House at 2531 N. Farwell Ave., Sanford Kane House at 1841 N. Prospect Ave. and an apartment building on the 1500 block of Kane Place. He also designed a pair of matching Victorians at 1708 and 1714 N. Farwell.

"I own a few other historic Milwaukee homes with two of my best friends that we started fixing up and renting on Airbnb a couple of years ago," Todd tells me. His partners are Kevin Baumgart and Nikolai Mikkelsen.

"This has become something we've come to really enjoy as we are passionate about old homes, the city of Milwaukee and hospitality."


Todd is especially excited about how much of the home's interior has survived.

"The most special part about this home is the preservation of all the original woodwork including the oversized pocket doors, the fireplace mantels and the grand staircase," he enthuses. "There really is a wow factor the second walk through the front door!  While getting this property ready, maintaining the historical integrity was our top priority. 

"We sourced most of the furnishings from estate sales and Facebook marketplace with the help from our friend Ann Murphy from Good Land Antiques in Bay View and our manager Allison Geschke. This took a good while, but we are finally up and running and sharing this special place with others has already proven to be rewarding!"

The owners are also maintaining a rotating gallery of artwork by a local artist. One hundred percent of sales will go to the participating artists.

Currently, the work of Anton Carter is on view.  Interested artists should make contact.

Todd hopes their carrying out the wishes of long-time previous owner Leon Travanti.

"Travanti's wish was for the residence to stay preserved and remain a home rather than be converted to an office, like so many of the other old mansions in the area," he says.  "

"The next phase of the dynamic history of the Travanti house is as a short term rental which gives so many others the opportunity to experience how special it really is."

The photos embedded here are from the Airbnb listing, which has many more photos and more information. Find it here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.