While some may see it as a perfect layout after a taco party or too many beans, the Hawthorne House in South Milwaukee has one distinct feature that's making the rounds on social media: a communal bathroom with four toilets — and no partitions.
The Girl Scouts of America for a time used the home and added the toilets, and four sinks, to the bathroom, said Jane DiChristopher, the realtor marketing the residence for Mahler Sotheby's International Realty. No partitions were ever added that she is aware of.
DiChristopher compared the design to a communal shower and said she’d seen two commodes before, but not four.
“It’s definitely not the oddest thing I’ve ever seen in real estate,” she said, offering one example of carpeted walls and ceilings. “This wasn’t something that shocked me when I saw it.”
Built in 1851 by the Fowle family, the commonly called “Hawthorne House” was the first-ever home built on Hawthorne Avenue, according to the listing on Milwaukee-based Mahler Sotheby's International Realty. The 3,913 square-foot home at 300 Hawthorne Ave. has six bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths. It is for sale and listed at $450,000.
The home has a contingent offer accepted but “we would gladly take secondary offers,” DiChristopher said.
The home was used as a farmhouse until 1920 or 1930 when it was donated to the Girl Scouts, DiChristopher said. The scouts also added caretaker quarters.
The next owners had the home for 40 years and chose to keep the bathroom the same. DiChristopher said when her client went to buy it the bathroom was “startling." She has made an effort to include the unique feature in all marketing to avoid off-putting potential buyers.
The owner, who had plans to use the home as an Airbnb, was going to renovate the four-seater bathroom but never did.
DiChristopher has given about 25 tours and mostly gotten positive feedback, she said.
While many focus on the unique bathroom, DiChristopher said the historic nature of the home can be overlooked. She said Herbert Hoover’s wife had tea there with the Girl Scouts and the underground railroad is rumored to have utilized it, too.
“You can really see the historical features come through the flooring, cabinets, large windows and porches,” DiChristopher said. “All owners really tried to maintain the integrity.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: South Milwaukee's Hawthorne House has 4 toilets in one bathroom