Every North Shore newcomer and native knows exactly the story and location of the legendary “Witch House." Scattered with oddly artistic statues and riding on a plethora of urban legends, Mary Nohl’s house on Beach Road in Fox Point has become a suburban fixture.
Between its word of mouth notoriety and a book published in 2009 titled “Mary Nohl: Inside & Out,” one film student considered it’s about time for a documentary chronicling the mystery and whimsy behind the famed Fox Point landmark.
Joseph Skow, the director of “Pilgrimage to the Witch House”, is a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He’s been independently working on the film since December 2010, and with screening dates starting in May 2012, Skow is searching for memories.
“We’re still searching for individuals interested in sharing their stories and experiences regarding Mary Nohl and her art environment,” said Skow. “If people have any home video or photographs taken on your own ‘pilgrimage’ they should share them.”
Skow says the documentary is inspired by the people who have helped pass on Nohl’s artistic creations. While vandalism threatens the property, the Mary Nohl house is listed on the Wisconsin and National Registry of Historic Places. It’s also been nominated as a Milwaukee County Landmark. Skow said he hopes the film will bring awareness to the history of the unique home.
“In 2005 the Wisconsin Preservation Trust listed the historic landmark as one of the 10 most endangered properties in Wisconsin,” Skow said. “Mary Nohl’s environment remains one of the few tangible examples of childhood innocence and whimsical fantasy. It is truly a surreal experience visiting her property.”
After 17 months of work, Skow’s documentary on the Fox Point landmark will debut at the UW-Milwaukee Senior Screening in next May. He’s also working on featuring his film at two separate film festivals, as well as a special screening at the Fox Bay Cinema & Grill. However, the additional screenings are yet to be confirmed.
If you have a special memory of the “Witch House” and would like to possibly be featured in Skow’s documentary, contact Joseph Skow.