August 18, 2020 – Town of Erin, WI – Head south on Highway 83 and take a right on Mayo Road in the Town of Erin and you will come upon a subdivision that had very interesting intentions.
The subdivision on Sconfinato Drive was started in the 1960s by a man named Bob Caldart; he wanted to fill the area with unique homes. Also interesting to note, this is the only road in Erin without an Irish name.
Nine people jumped on board right away and the wooded lots started to be filled with homes that featured unconventional shapes and unusual designs.
On first blush it’s a little Cat in the Hat with a flair for cardboard toilet paper roll (said with the best of artistic intentions.)
”Bob was an art teacher and his partner was an architect and they had this idea to build all these weirdo homes,” said Bob Blankenheim, a neighbor currently living in the subdivision.
Blankenheim is a building inspector. He spoke about the history of the area after being interrupted while mowing his lawn with a cigar in hand.
“The homes they built were not constructed to last long,” said Blankenheim, referring to one house as “the golf ball” and another as “a box standing on a corner.”
“Caldart’s intention was to create a subdivision of these exotic homes,” Blankenheim said.
After nine homes were built, interest began to wane. The covenant of the subdivision expired after 20 years and new owners started to remodel and build homes with more conventional designs.
“You‘ll see there are nine of the weirdos still in here and 26 regular homes,” said Blankenheim. “There’s no market for this kind of stuff; it is just built-in maintenance.”
Caldart also built a pottery studio in the subdivision where he would create in his workshop and then hold an open house, sometimes twice a year.
While Caldart had more plans, his neighbor said, he grew ill and died. His wife passed as well and the son recently sold two properties that were in the family including the pottery shop.
Just an interesting nugget of history if you’re driving the Rustic Roads and touring the Town of Erin in Washington County.
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