A Grand Estate for the Owners of Watkins | Forgotten Minnesota
As preservationists approached Rockledge, the home’s owner, Ernest L. King Jr., shuffled to the front door and yelled, “I’m tearing it down and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Mr. King had no use for the home but didn’t want anyone else to use it either. Holding true to his word, Rockledge was razed just before his death in 1987. In 1911, architect George Maher designed a grand, 10,000 square foot Prairie School style home nestled against a rocky cliff along the Mississippi River just south of Winona. His clients, Grace Watkins King and E.L. King, Sr., were the owners of the Watkins Medical Products Company. Maher worked alongside Frank Lloyd Wright for many years. Much like Wright, Maher borrowed from the Rockledge’s surroundings to create an earthy interior with brown, green, and orange colors throughout. He designed all of the interior objects for the estate including chairs, rugs, urns, clocks, lamps, and even the silver service. Lilies also appeared throughout the home on lamps, drapes, and on the silver coffee service. In 1931, the King family decided to redecorate Rockledge. All of Maher’s furnishings and fittings were moved from the home and stored in a barn on the...
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