Who We Are

Legacy Architecture, Inc. enables our clients to live and work more sustainably by providing creative, timeless designs and exceptional professional services. We partner with building owners, homeowners, civic groups and municipalities who are drawn to our expertise in historic preservation, residential, and commercial projects. Legacy offers an unmatched ability to listen to client's needs and generate a variety of thoughtful design solutions. We create enduring architectural solutions aimed at preserving the past, designing for the present, & planning for the future.

Our Office

The office of Legacy Architecture is located in the historic Eliza Prange House, constructed in 1923 by one of the founders of Sheboygan's famed H.C. Prange Company. Jennifer Lehrke and her husband, Mark, purchased the building in the fall of 2014 and undertook an extensive restoration project to convert the building into four professional office suites and list it in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Restored to its original splendor and upgraded for maximum energy efficiency, the Prange House showcases the commitment to our ideals of preserving local history and striving for a sustainable future while perpetuating a local landmark.

The Prange Story

Eliza Prange was the youngest of seven children, born on September 17, 1862, to German immigrants William and Eleanor Prange, Sr. She spent her youth on the family farm in the rural Town of Sheboygan Falls. After Eleanor's death in 1887, Eliza moved to the City of Sheboygan, where her brother, H.C. Prange, had worked as a general store clerk since 1878. On October 4, 1887, H.C., Eliza, and their brother-in-law, John H. Bitter, opened the first H.C. Prange store. They had two employees for the first 18 months, and H.C. and Eliza lived above the store for the first few years. The company was incorporated in January, 1898, as a closely held general mercantile business with H.C. Prange, president; John H. Bitter, vice president; Otto J. Kohl, secretary; and Eliza Prange, treasurer. Eliza contributed to the success of the business, holding many roles within the company during her 41-year tenure, from clerk to vice president.

H.C. Prange Co. continually expanded their facilities every few years. By 1923, the company had completed construction of a new store, touted as the largest and most modern store in Wisconsin outside the City of Milwaukee. The company had over 400 employees, serving in many departments, from rugs and draperies to furniture, drug sundries, footwear, groceries, and art goods. Coincidentally, that year Eliza built a new house at 605 Erie Avenue with the small fortune she amassed from her business acumen.

When she was 65, Eliza met a most unfortunate demise on August 12, 1928. She had her back to the road while placing flowers on the grave of her beloved brother and business partner, H.C. Her Buick rolled off the road, striking her and pinning her underneath. Less than nine hours later, she died from shock. She was lauded for her quiet charity work for Sheboygan's poor; often her benefactors were unaware to whom they were indebted. Her humanitarian deeds reached beyond her lifetime - her will left an equivalent of just over $4,200,000 in today's dollars to charities. However, "it was in the business world that she was widely known and her death comes as a severe shock to the many employees of H.C. Prange Co. for whom she has been a friend and guiding genius for many years. She was considered a most capable business woman, and her reputation in her field of the business extends over considerable territory."

Since Eliza's death in 1928 and the settling of her estate, her house has had only two owners. The H.C. Prange Real Estate Co. owned the property from 1931 - 1947, renting the house to three local businessmen. St. Mark Lutheran Church then owned the house from 1947 - 2014. Between 1947 and 1998, the building served as the church's parsonage, with three pastors living there. As parsonages fell out of favor, the house has stood vacant since 1998. Funds were not available to make radical modernizations, necessary in owner-occupied historic houses. Consequently, the largely uncompromised building is one of the City of Sheboygan's most distinctive houses. After admiring the house from afar for years, local architect Jennifer L. Lehrke, and her husband, Mark, purchased it in the fall of 2014 and undertook an extensive restoration project, converting the house into four professional office suites and are pursuing listing it in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.