Madison Architects - Donnell & Kutzbock
Samuel Donnell & August Kutzbock were prominent architects in early Madison. They designed all four mansions still standing at the intersection of North Pinckney and East Gilman streets as well as other mansions, churches and pubic buildings including Madison's original city hall (demolished) and the second Wisconsin Capitol building which was seriously damaged by fire in 1904 and subsequently replaced with the current capitol.

Existing Designs:
  • Van Slyke House
  • Kendall House
  • Bashford House
  • McDonnell/Pierce House
  • Keenan House
  • Gates of Heaven
  • Designs that no longer exist:
  • Old City Hall
  • Leonard J. Farwell Octagon House
  • Second Wisconsin State Capitol
  • State Asylum Building (West Wing)

  • Kutzbock was born and trained in Germany. He came to the u.s. in 1852 and settled in Madison in 1855 when he was 40.

    Samuel Donnell was Kutzbock's partner in the architectural firm. Born in Pennsylvania, he came to Madison in 1855 after time in Ohio and California. Donnell died in 1860 at the age of 40.

    Donnell and Kutzbock was Madison's first architectural firm. The firm was short-lived, but the influence of its designs was felt in Madison for many years after its. dissolution.

    Kutzbock and his family moved to Madison in 1855 (from Kutzbock's account book) and shortly thereafter he joined in partnership with Samuel H. Donnell.

    The partnership of Donnell and Kutzbock probably began in 1855, since the Gov. LJ. Farwell residence of that date was attributed to both men in reliable contemporary sources. The last known citation for the partnership was a newspaper advertisement from 1959. - The offices of Donnell and Kutzbock were in the 100 block of King Street.

    Buildings known to have been designed by Kutzbock alone include those built after Donnell's death. These include the Italianate B. Hopkins house (1863), and the German Romanesque Revival Shaire Shomain Synagogue (1863) and Turner Hall (1863). Since the McDonnell House, the Ott house, City Hall, the State Capitol building and the first Van Slyke house are also in this very distinctive Germanic vein, it is likely that Kutzbock was the principal designer for theses buildings, too (Kutzbock's name was listed as the City Hall architect on a sign requesting bids for the building). Non-religious high-style buildings with such strong German influence were quite unusual for their day, even in heavily German communities like Milwaukee. The McDonnell house and the Old Synagogue may very well be of national significance as rare and beautiful examples of this style.

    The L.J. Farwell Octagon house, the F.G. Briggs house, and the Lawrence house are all excellent examples of the classic Italianate style. Other contemporary Italianate buildings in Madison such as the Perry house (152 E. Johnson Street) and the Van Bergen block (120-128 S. Pinckney) also bear a strong resemblance to these known Donnell & Kutzbock designs. These buildings could very well have been designed by Donnell and Kutzbock, but there is no substantiation for this at this time.

    In the 1850s and 1860s Madison was quite a small town. For a small pioneer town to have skil1ed architects with such a command of their trade was quite unusual. Later, 19th century architects in Madison, such as D.R. Jones, Capt. John Nader, Col. Stephen Shipman, and James O. Gordon could not match the artistic finesse of Madison's first architectural firm.