By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 15, 2001 at 2:18 AM

To bring back the "Grand House on a Grand Avenue," the Pabst Mansion, 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., is launching the Serpents & Spires Capital Campaign to raise the necessary funds for extensive exterior restoration work. The restoration is the first part of a two-phase project on the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion.

When the Pabst Mansion was completed in 1892 it was considered the jewel of Milwaukee's famous avenue of mansions, known as Grand Avenue. By that time the 57-year-old Captain Frederick Pabst was an accomplished sea captain, beer baron, real estate developer, philanthropist and patron of the arts.

The exterior of the 37-room mansion displays examples of Flemish Renaissance Revival style with ornamentation of carved stone and terra cotta. The interior is equally impressive, featuring woodwork, stained glass, baroque and rococo detailing and ornamental ironwork. The entire building is a testament to the excellent work of local Milwaukee craftsmen.

The roof will be the first focus of the project. The terra cotta needs to be recreated and replaced. In addition to repairing what is now on the roofline, returning ornamentation that hasn't been on the mansion since before 1921 will also be fixed. Spikes that at one time were on the gables will be recreated from photographs and returned to their lofty perch.

Estimated cost for the entire project is $1.2 million. Over $250,000 has already been raised. A capital campaign is being launched to raise the remainder of the balance.

During National Historic Preservation Week this month, the Pabst Mansion is hosting a special event on Tues., May 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The capital campaign is being launched then and recipients of the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion Preservation Awards will be announced. For more information call (262) 369-8171.

The Pabst Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and considered one of the finest Flemish Renaissance Revival mansion's in America. It has been featured on A&E's television program "America's Castles."

The Pabst Mansion is open Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Sun. from noon-3:30 p.m. Adults are $7, senior and students are $6, children 6-17 are $3 and kids under 6 are free. You can reach the mansion at (414) 931-0808.