By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 30, 2023 at 8:16 AM

A grand Victorian home on the Harambee / Riverwest border has hit the market, and it’s one that will likely be familiar to residents of those neighborhoods.

(PHOTOS: Courtesy of Essam Elsafy)

The five-bedroom single-family home at 2363 N. Holton St. is a handsome Queen Anne with a nice porch with beautiful wood details inside and out.

The house, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s architectural inventory, is an “Excellent example of a large frame residence by this well-known Milwaukee architect. This building has most of its elaborate ornamentation and possesses integrity of form and appearance.”

It was built in by contractor Rich Riesen in 1891 to designs by architect Edward V. Koch for Joseph A. Meyers, who owned J. A. Meyers & Co. (Meyers Bros.), a cut stone and gravel contractor.


The asking price for the 3,131-square-foot home is $348,000 and Essam Elsafy is the listing agent. (Elsafy was also the agent for the Kern Mansion on the East Side.)

Elsafy’s listing for the home details some of its features:

“This meticulously restored 1891 Queen Anne Victorian north of Brewers' Hill is an old house lover's dream! The breathtaking woodwork, gorgeous stained glass, original hinges, oversized pocket doors, gleaming wood floors and fireplaces (tiled by the Trent Tile Co.) have been carefully crafted and attended to by the owner. The first floor offers an office, dining room (with Anaglypta wall covering), full bath, kitchen, pantry, larder and two parlors separated by a spool and spindle divider. The stunning main staircase leads to four large bedrooms and an additional bedroom/office/studio. The primary bedroom contains a second tiled fireplace with wood surround and a dressing mirror. A lovely back staircase leading to the kitchen, basement and enclosed backyard with 3.5 garage spaces complete this historic offering."

Among other works by architect Koch are the five-story Romanesque Metropolitan Block, 1012 N. 3rd St. – lost to fire in 1975 – designed with Charles Fink; the beautiful cream city brick Weinstock House in Merrill Park; the “other” Lion House on Highland Boulevard in Concordia; and the jail (and maybe its adjacent courthouse) in West Bend.


Not a ton is known about Koch, whose work is often confused with work by the unrelated and considerably more well-known Henry C. Koch (see the West Bend link above, for example).

According to a city landmarking report for the Weinstock house, “Edward V. Koch first appeared in the Milwaukee city directories in 1878 at the age of 16 and he is listed as an apprentice. He was living with miller John Koch. In 1886 he opened his own architectural office under the name Edward V. Koch & Co. with offices in the Colby-Abbot Buildings."


In 1892, he moved into the new Metropolitan Block, which he’d designed, and two years later relocated to the Iron Block. Later, however, he worked from home at 2125 N. 4th St.

By 1901, the report continues, Koch was an assistant inspector of buildings for City of Milwaukee and by 1904 building inspector – with an office in Henry Koch’s City Hall – serving in that role until 1911, at which point he began working again as an architect.


By this time he and his wife Lucy lived at 2415 N. Humboldt Ave., though later he lived at 2873 N. Sherman Blvd., from around 1924 until his death in 1931 at the age of 69.

Born in Milwaukee in 1860, J. A. Meyers was a stone supplier and building contractor that supplied everything from gravel to stone steps to building stone and worked on high-profile projects like the Pabst Brewery, the Pfister & Vogel Tannery and the Pabst Hotel.

After spending about four years working as a stonecutter in Indianapolis, Chicago and Minneapolis, Meyers returned to Milwaukee in 1884.

While Wikipedia says that Meyers was appointed two years later as superintendent of schools, MPS’ history, “Our Roots Grow Deep” shows that William Anderson was in the middle of his tenure at that time. It seems more likely that with his background and experience, Meyers served in a building and construction capacity.


In 1886, Meyers was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Populist / People’s Party candidate, serving one two-year term.

He built his Holton Street home – interesting out of wood – not far from his stone company headquarters on Walnut and Palmer Streets.

By then apparently living on the East Side, Meyers died at the age of 55 in early February 1916 after a months-long illness, leaving behind his wife, a son Joseph Jr., a daughter Birdie, his father, five brothers and three sisters.

His Holton Street house also survived and remains a gem and it could be yours. See the full listing, with many more photos and more details, 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.