Rockledge (King-Watkins)


rockledge (King-watkins)


In 1987, members of the E.L. King family decided that Rockledge, their former summer home near Winona, Minnesota, would be torn down.  It had fallen into disrepair and was abandoned in the early '80s.  Architectural Antiques bought the salvage rights and saved many pieces of this extravagant Prairie Style home.
Built in 1912 by E.L. King, Sr. for his wife Grace, Rockledge stood on the bank of the Mississippi River.  Chicago architect George Maher was commissioned for the project He also designed the J.R. Watkins Medical Products Co. and a bank for King.
An accomplished Prairie School designer, Maher had worked in the same office as Frank Lloyd Wright and George Elmslie.  He took his cues from the surrounding environment and used motifs, a lily in this case, which he carried through out the entire design.  Not only was he responsible for the building's plan and structure, but he also designed its finest details including stained glass, furniture - built-in and free standing - clocks, vases and upholstery fabrics.
In 1931, the Kings remodeled much of the house in the Art Deco Style.  Many of the original Prairie Style pieces were removed and saved for about 40 years.  They were eventually auctioned off and brought record prices.  Then in 2006 some of the same items that had sold in the late 1970's for record amounts were resold at Sotheby's for even higher prices.
When Architectural Antiques began deconstruction at Rockledge most of the Prairie Style pieces were gone.  However, the high-quality Art Deco pieces were still intact, and Architectural Antiques managed to save almost everything. Eight marble fireplace mantels, floors, china sinks, moldings, hardware, and light fixtures were among some of the pieces saved. The only pieces remaining from this salvage are a pair of balusters from the 13-foot curved exterior railing.