Wanda Gag House Restoration

Wanda Gag House being repaired in New Ulm, MNThe Wanda Gág House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1894, the restored two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne is the childhood home of internationally acclaimed artist, illustrator and printmaker Wanda Gág. Wanda Hazel Gág, author of the classic children’s book, Millions of Cats, was born March 11, 1893, to Anton Gág and his wife Lissi, in New Ulm. She was the eldest of seven children. The artistic family grew up in this unique home, constructed by Anton Gág, which served as a children’s paradise complete with skylights, an attic artist’s studio and open turrets.

The Wanda Gág House Association was formed in 1988 and purchased the house. The extensive Gag House restoration started to return the house to its early 1900’s period. The original interior design, color and decoration has been fully uncovered and is unique to the Midwest. Hand-painted decorative motifs and architectural finishes inside and outside were executed by Anton Gág, an accomplished artist, decorator and photographer. They were created by overlaying several opaque and transparent layers of casein paint on primed plaster. Original artwork from the Wanda Gag House Association collection is displayed.

Restoration Timeline Highlights

  • November 15, 1988: The WGHA purchases the house for $24,000.
  • 1990: Porches are removed, the two-story is turret is opened, two front side parlor windows are uncovered, roof is repaired and shingled, and skylight frames are uncovered and replaced.
  • 1991: Exterior is painted in documented colors. Original turret is rebuilt with custom spindles.
  • 1992: Work begins to uncover hand-painted border in parlor.
  • 1994: Extensive yard work is done. Dining room and parlor stenciling is uncovered. Some of the flooring is sanded and refinished. Attic floorboards are raised, revealing many artifacts underneath them.
  • 1996: Stairway and halls with lion rampart borders are restored.
  • 1999: Restoration of upstairs bedrooms. Exterior is repainted.
  • 2005: Prairie stone basement is cleaned and restored.
  • 2008: Woodwork is restored using “faux bois” process.
  • October 2008: After 20 years of dedication and hard work, home is considered to be totally restored!