Welcome to Fairlawn Mansion & Museum.
Fairlawn was built as the home of Martin Pattison who lived here with
his wife Grace and six children. Pattison, a wealthy lumber and mining
baron, envisioned Fairlawn as a home befitting his success.
Construction began in 1889 and was
completed in 1891 for a cost of $150,000.
The 42 room mansion is built in the popular Queen Anne Victorian style
of architecture. The proud four story turret makes Fairlawn a familiar
landmark along Harborview Parkway. Other classic features of the Queen
Anne style include the home’s prominent porch, steeply gabled roof,
and the use of contrasting colors and textures on the exterior trim.
Following Martin’s death in 1918, Grace Pattison donated Fairlawn to
the Superior Children’s Home and Refuge Association to be used as an
orphanage. Approximately 2000 children called Fairlawn home during the
42 years it was a children’s home, from 1920-1962.
In 1963 the City of Superior purchased Fairlawn for $12,500. The
mansion had been slated for demolition in accordance with Grace
Pattison’s will after the Children’s Home closed its doors, but civic
leaders and members of the Pattison family were able to save Fairlawn
through a loophole in the will. Fairlawn Mansion has operated as a
city owned museum ever since then. An award winning Victorian house
museum, today it is preserved for residents and area visitors alike as
a poignant reminder of Superior's heritage.
Baseball Star Babe Ruth (sitting on the
lower center of the steps) was among the celebrities who visited
the children at Fairlawn.
Several dozen children called Fairlawn
home at any given time during its lengthy period as a children's
Fairlawn has been a prominent visual landmark
along the shores of the Superior Bay since it was built by the
Pattison family in 1890. Today it is still remembered by many who
visit as the Superior Children’s Home - a refuge for poor children and
unwed mothers. During this unique 42 year period the mansion underwent
drastic changes in order to meet mandated codes and the needs of its
residents. In 1962 the Superior Children’s Home closed its doors and
Fairlawn was slated for demolition. In response to strong citizen
support the City of Superior purchased the property and the old house
began a third life- this time as a museum.
Through the years the City of Superior, Douglas County, the Douglas
County Historical Society, and many other public and private entities
invested time, labor, and money in improvements at Fairlawn. These
restoration efforts at Fairlawn attracted the attention of Tom Jeffris,
well known for his support of restoration at other historic buildings
throughout the state. Through a generous gift from the Jeffris
Foundation, matched by the City of Superior and Douglas County, a $1.6
million restoration project was begun to return Fairlawn’s exterior
and first floor interior to their original splendor.
The Fairlawn Mansion front corner with
the tower before the $1.6 million restoration project.
After the restoration project, the
Fairlawn Mansion is a gorgeous site.
Prior to the restoration project, the
Fairlawn Mansion was not handicap accessible.
A ramp was placed on the west side of
the Fairlawn Mansion to bring it up to date with city codes.