Alfred R. Clausen House – 1935
By 1935 Manree Park was being developed on the west side of the city of Racine, formerly occupied with farms and orchards.  In 1930, Mr. Halsey J. Reed, owner of farm land northwest of the intersection of Washington and Lathrop Avenues, sold lots 4 and 5 to Charles Anderson, who after becoming a widower, sold Lot 4 to Alfred R. and Esther Clausen.  On October 29, 1935, the Clausens applied for a building permit on a house valued at $5800.
Alfred R. Clausen was born in Denmark on July 7, 1902 and attended business school there before moving to Racine in the fall of 1929.  He worked as an accountant at Frank Luxem & Company, a food wholesaler and beer distributor at 916 Erie Street, eventually becoming Vice-President.  On July 7, 1934, he married Esther Justesen, who was born in America of Danish descent, and by the next year they were building their dream house at 712 Orchard Street.
The Clausens worked with Louis G. Henriksen, contractor, designer, and builder (by 1933 he was listed as an architect).   Their house was meticulously planned, loosely based on the story and a half concept of the Bungalow style, yet incorporating many Tudor touches including the front gable peak and arched entry.  The house is situated with a front-facing roof gable while the house extends deep to the back yard.  A hipped roofed dormer looks over the side entrance and driveway. The entry porch nests against the roof gable and features an arched door with decorative stone tabs projecting into the brick walls.  The stunning centerpiece of this facade is the bay window projection and its copper roof crowning the four arched windows.
The living room focuses on the fireplace, set off with original built-in bookcases.  All the arched leaded windows are original as are the wood floors, which lead into the dining room.  Clearly seen in the hall space beyond is the telephone alcove.  The current owners, Frank and Lisa D’Acquisto, reported that the house was in excellent condition when they purchased it in 1990;  they have updated it while remaining faithful to its original structure.  The kitchen floor required new support and thus a renovation.  On the second floor there had been one bedroom and a huge unfinished attic space, which the D’Acquistos converted into another bedroom with generous storage.  The basement was converted to a children’s play space and they installed a ceiling to accommodate existing duct work.
The house at 712 Orchard Street, in the newly recognized Orchard Street Historic District, is artistically unique and structurally solid.  Preservation Racine is grateful for the generosity of Frank and Lisa D’Acquisto in sharing their home.  We also thank Mary Jane Canman, the daughter of the original owners, who provided valuable information.