Saturday, December 31, 2011

Neenah Residences. Part One

The city of Neenah was fertile ground for the talents of William Waters. He designed all manor of buildings in that city; commercial, school and residential. His residential work was extensive and can be divided into homes on Doty Islands' Forest Avenue and those on East Wisconsin Avenue and the west side of town.
One of Mr. Waters earliest efforts was on East Wisconsin Ave with the twin dwellings of C. B. Clark and Frank Shattuck. These homes have been described in another post on the Italianate style. They were probably built about 1873 but by the 1890's were unfashionably out of date. Both house were replaced by mansions designed by the Milwaukee firm, Ferry & Clas. Mrs Clark didn't demolish the old house but had it moved down the street where it still stands, however remolded beyond recognition. The fate of the Shattuck place was most likely the wrecking ball.
Next to Frank Shattuck's, to the west was the residence of another partner in the Kimberly Clark Company, Mr. H. V. Babcock. Mr, Babcock came a little later to East Wisconsin Ave, erecting his Waters designed home in 1881. Although the residence is Queen Anne in style it was the subject of an earlier post on the Tudor style as alteration gave it a Tudor look. The house is rendered here with the original front porch and porte-cochere.
Babcock's neighbor to the west was Henry Sherry a successful lumber man and entrepreneur. Mr. Sherry built his house in 1882 in an eclectic Queen Anne style. The house is replete with a large front porch, porte cochere and an almost steeple like central tower. Sherry must have liked architect Waters' work as he was retained to design office and commercial structures.

Just past the Sherry residence was the 1885 mansion of John Stevens. Mr Stevens was a flour miller and inventor and his invention of a roller-crusher profoundly changed the milling process. He patented the device and became a wealthy man, then built an appropriate dwelling. The immense house was a Queen Anne masterpiece with porches, balconies, porte cochere, bowling ally and one the the larges picture widows of its day. Alas the Stevens house no longer stands.
The work kept coming for William Waters with a commission in 1887 from J. R. Davis for a new residence. The Davis brothers ran the Winnebago Paper Company. J. R. Davis passed away and its difficult to say if he ever lived in the Waters designed residence his widow lived there for many years. The home is pictured here as it was designed by Mr. Waters with a diminutive front porch. Some time around 1900 a sizable porch was added to the front and east side of the structure.
The next house on the block was yet another Waters' job. Built in 1892 for paper company owner C. W. Howard the house was large and imposing with interesting gables, a balcony and full front porch. The house is reminiscent of the Ben Hooper and A.B. Ideson residences in Oshkosh. But for a few minor alterations the building looks much as it did when constructed
There are several more houses of Mr. Waters design along East Wisconsin Avenue as well as those on Forest Avenue but those are for another post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 6

As noted in the first post in this series, most of William Waters' residential work in Oshkosh was on the north side of the Fox River. South of the river he designed a few churches and several schools, both public and private but only two dwellings can be traced to Mr. Waters. That is not to say there weren't others but just two can be verified. Both were built in 1910 and couldn't be more dissimilar.
The first house to examine was the Harry Meyer residence on Michigan Street. Mr. Meyer was the son of Charles R. Meyer and secretary of the C. R. Meyer Construction Company. The company built many of the larger buildings planed by architect Waters; the Athern Hotel, Algoma Street Methodist Church and Washington and Read Schools are but a few. Harry Meyers' house was a brick bungalow design with Arts & Crafts style influences. Many different styles had currency at that time and it would seem that Mr. Waters was willing to try his hand at any of them. The house has been well maintained and remains unaltered since construction.
The other dwelling up for consideration is the Robert Lutz residence on Knapp Street. Robert was the son of Albert Lutz, quarry operator. The quarry was established in 1867 as Lutz & Kronenberg. Albert passed away but his widow Grace kept it going. In 1889 Robert was listed as a teamster working at the quarry. By 1898 he was manager of Lutz Bros. Stone Quarry and by 1910, commissioned a new residence. A magnificent structure, it was built by the C. R. Meyer Construction Company with stone from the Lutz quarry. It is not easy to label the house with a style; the porch and tower look to be Queen Anne, the porte-cochere and other features are Romanesque. What ever one might choose to call it, it's a unique and grand house.

It is a certainty that there are far more house designed by William Waters in Oshkosh than those described in these past six posts. Perhaps future entries can be devoted to possible Waters' designs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 5

As one travailed along Algoma Street past the Normal School neighborhood one would reach "The west end" as that part of town was known to some. This section of the city was home to the aristocracy of Oshkosh, mainly the Sawyer and the Paines. In time others were building opulent homes on Algoma and West Algoma Streets.
Mr. Waters planned many fine homes as well as a church and a school in this area of town. The first dwelling in this vicinity for which the architect provided drawings was in 1873; the residence of H. C. Larrabee. My research has yet to reveal any image of this house, so it's hard to say if it was Italianate style or perhaps a more modest structure of wooden frame construction. Mr. Larrabee was the saw mill superintendent at the Paine Lumber Company and at one time served on the city council. He built his house just across the street from Edger Sawyer. The neighborhood start to change greatly at the turn of the twentieth century and the structure was demolished and another house replaced it in 1910.
Further down the down the street toward town, just across from Read School was the home constructed in 1883 for Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hooper. Ben was the son of Moses Hooper and his wife, Jesse Jack Hooper was a prominent suffragette, advocate and even ran for the U. S. Senate in 1922. The house was a Queen Anne cottage style and once boosted a large front porch which was altered and converted to indoor living space. The renovation didn't maintain the rhythm as set up by the original arched openings, giving the house an unsettled look. Other than the changes the house has been well kept up.
Even closer to town was another Waters' job with a Hooper connection; in 1910 Moses Hooper commissioned a house for himself, his daughter and her husband Otto Lang. Perhaps the aging attorney felt the house he had built in 1882 was too much for him and wanted to live with his daughter and son in law. The house was of the latest style and was built of rough hewn lime stone blocks, a building material favored by Moses Hooper.
In the last decade of the nineteenth century municipal judge Arthur Goss had William Waters design a dwelling for him to be built on New York Avenue. Judge Goss was born and raised in Oshkosh and attended the Normal School in town, then went on the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a law degree in 1884. He returned to Oshkosh and worked in the office of Moses Hooper until his election as the first municipal judge in 1895. Completed in 1898 the home was a foursquare design with embellishments of bay and triplet windows. This building has been well maintained and looks much as it did when built
Around the corner and up the street from the Goss residence is one of the finest homes on Algoma Street, the house built for A. B. Ideson. Mayor Ideson got his start as a manager with the Paine Lumber Company, showing such skill that he became a shareholder and secretary of the company and in the process acquired a great deal of wealth. His management acumen paid off as well as he was elected mayor of Oshkosh. In 1898 Mr. Ideson hired Mr. Waters to plan a suitable residence to be built on Algoma Street, the architect did not disappoint. The design was grand in scope and interesting in the use of shape and building materials to create
a variation in surface textures. The house has not been neglected and looks to be in excellent condition.
Just across the street from the Ideson place was the home of Phil Sawyer. This building has already been discussed in an earlier post about the Tudor Style. Mr Sawyer, known to family as Phil was the son of Edgar Sawyer and grandson of Senator Philitus Sawyer. Phil had a good head for business and ran many of the family's ventures. His house was built in 1904 and still stands next to the Oshkosh Public Museum.
What is now the public museum was built in 1908 as the residence of Edgar Sawyer and was the crowing achievement for architect Waters. The building was said to be in the "Old English Style" with its towering chimneys. bay windowed gable ends and imposing porte-cochere. The grounds also included a captious carriage house of a design harmonious the the residence. Mr. Sawyer donated the building to the city in 1922 and stipulated that it should be used as a museum. There have been alterations and sympathetic addition to the structure but the original building has not been obscured.
In 1911 Louis Schreiber called upon William Waters to draft plans for a new residence. Waters had a history with the Schreiber family having had planned Louis father's 1884 home on Washington Street. Mr. Schreiber was president of the First National Bank; his father Charles had been head cashier of the same bank. Mr. Schreiber chose a lot on Algoma Street just past the Congress Street intersection, on which to build . He also chose the Colonial Revival Style which was very poplar at the time. The well maintained brick house still graces Algoma Street and appears as did when built.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 4

The area of what is now the university campus was once an up scale and quit neighborhood. Tree lined street such as Algoma, Elm and Park Streets featured many fine residences. William Waters himself chose to live in this part of town. However as the UW-O campus expanded the neighborhood changed drastically. Many houses were razed or moved to make way for university building. Some of the remaining dwellings became student housing.
At the eastern edge of this neighborhood, on the corner of what is now Wisconsin and Amherst stand twin houses built in 1902 by Joseph Raycraft. It is unclear if Mr. Raycraft retained
ownership or sold them outright. It is clear that the first occupant of the house to the left was Mrs. Emily Turner, a librarian and Mr. H. E. Mann a commercial traveler lived in the one to the right. Originally Amherst was named Park Street and was one of the most respected residential streets. Amongst its' denizens was Frank Follett the brother in law of William Waters. Waters designed a charming Queen Anne cottage for Frank in 1884, which is still there and in good condition. Just next door, and built in the same year was the residence of Jesse Y. Hull the proprietor of the Boston 99 Cent Store. The once graceful Queen Anne Style house is now student occupied and not in pristine condition.
Down the street and around the corner, on Elm Street was the home of William Waters. The
house was a Queen Anne Style and built in 1884 as well. Alterations to the front porch as pictured in the accompanying drawing were probably made about 1900. The house was razed to accommodate the construction of a dormitory.
Just up Elm Street was the J. C. Thompson residence. Attorney Thompson was Mr. Waters' lawyer and drew up and witnessed Waters' last will and testament. Thompson commissioned the house in 1902 but the house was of a style and floor plan Waters first used in the 1880's. For many years the building had been a fraternity house or student housing and some changes had occurred, most notable was the removal of the dormer above the front porch. A block or so further up Elm Street was the dwelling of James Peter Jensen. Mr Jensen was the draftsman in Waters' office and his name appeared on many of the building renderings. The house was built at the same time as the Waters' place, 1884, and was a charming gem like cottage, which now serves as student accommodations, loosing much of its luster.
Along Algoma Street, architect Waters planned many fine homes some of which were demolished and some of which survive to this day. A Waters' job that met with the wrecking ball was the residence of John Crawford. Mr Crawford ran the Crawford wood and coal yard on Pearl Street, a business which afforded him the ability to build a stylish Queen Anne home. The L. S. Tuttle house was another building which didn't endure the expansion of the university. Mr. Tuttle and his brother were partners in the insurance business with offices on Main Street. Waters designed a fine Queen Anne Style dwelling. However there don't seem to be any entire images of the place, just a partial glimpse in a photo of the house next door.
One of the houses which survived was the one commissioned by Tom Wall and is now the Multicultural Center. Tom and his brother were partners in the wholesale lumber firm of Wall & Spalding. His brother J. H. also hired Mr Waters to plan his house, which was discussed in an earlier post. Tom's 1899 dwelling is truly magnificent, unlike any other Waters designed residence. Although repurposed the building looks much as it did when built, save for the removal of the balustrades atop the house and porch and an addition at one end of the front porch which has the appearance of having been planned by Mr. Waters.
Some distance up Algoma Street, just past Dempsey Hall is another survivor, the residence built for Moses Hooper. The Oviatt House as it is now known was also built in 1882 of rough hewn lime stone blocks with a prominent tower featured on the UW-O logo. The house is an early Queen Anne Style but rendered in stone rather then lumber as was usual. Mr. Hooper, an attorney commissioned other building by architect Waters as well. The Algoma Block near Main Street housed his office and he would later hire Waters to design a home for his daughter and son-in -law. All the building are built of lime stone blocks, and seem to have withstood the test for time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 3

To the west of Main Street was another popular neighborhood not only for housing but for religious structures. The city's High School, regarded by many as the finest in the state occupied a lot on Algoma Street. Algoma and Church Streets as well as Jackson Street were line with capacious dwellings and elegant churches. Six and a half to the churches in this part of town were the work of William Waters as well as many of the houses. The area was home to merchants, manufactures and other highly respect sorts.

On the corner of Algoma and Light Streets was the residence of J. H. Wall. Built in 1905 using plans drawn by Waters, the home is an early Tudor style and is discussed in a previous posting. J. H. and his brother Tom were in the lumber business in the firm of Wall- Spalding, lumber wholesalers with offices located in the Webster Block. The home is still there but has been re-purposed with a large addition. The original structure remains intact and the addition is harmonious with it.

Also on Algoma Street just to the west of Jackson Street once stood the residence of S. M. Hay, hardware merchant and bank president. William Waters was asked by Mr. Hay to design a brick Italianate mansion. It was built in 1873 and is described in another post as well. The neighborhood experienced many change as the twentieth century progressed, there was the expansion of the High School and the relocation of the Court House. Filling station and super markets replaced many of the fine old homes. The Hay residence survived until the late 1940s when it was razed in favor of a parking lot.

Church Street was also a prestigious thoroughfare on which to build. Not totally cluttered with houses of worship as it's name would imply there was plenty of real estate of the dwellings of the well to do. In 1904 Carl Wickert, a confectioner with a shop on Main Street commissioned Mr. Waters to design a house of the latest style. It was a foursquare or what might have been called at the time "The Chicago Style". The house is much as it was when it was built, two stories the first of lime stone block and large front porch the second story clad in stucco, topped by a dormer and hipped roof.

Down the block and around the corner on Jackson Street was the home E. S. Wilson. Newly built in 1907, it too was of the most current style and a suitable residence for the proprietor of The Wilson Music Company. As with the Wickert house it was a large foursquare with the first floor of lime stone block and the second floor of stucco. The building also is adorned with a full front porch, an impressive dormer and bell cast hipped roof.

Mr. Charles Montgomery chose to build a new house in 1890. The home was on Jackson Street just north of New York Avenue and William Waters was the architect. Mr. Montgomery was for a time the superintendent of the Oshkosh Street Railway but is later listed as a merchant, of what is not reviled. What ever he did for a living it afforded him the ability to build a grand Queen Anne Style dwelling with a broad porch and second floor balcony. The house remains much as it was when built and has been well maintained.

Not far from the intersection of Jackson and Irving Streets was the home of Fred Burgess. Mr. Burgess had been deputy sheriff and jailer for the county. He had moved round that neighborhood every few years, for about a decade. In 1886 he became sheriff and lived for a time in the county court house. Shortly after that Mr. Waters was commissioned to plan a fine Queen Anne Style dwelling. The house still stands but the years have not been kind and the place looks shabby.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 2

The near east side neighborhood from

about Merritt and Mt Vernon Streets
and east to Broad St., down to Otter St. was once a prestigious part of town, many
business owners, lawyers and doctor
chose this location to build for its'
proximity to Main St. and government
buildings. Many of the prominent people
also chose William Waters as their architect. One of the first to do so was William Doe, a wealthy lumber dealer. The Wm. Doe home was the first residential job for the young architect, coming to him in 1869, just a about a year after his arrival in Oshkosh. The Doe residence is interesting in that its' not quite Mansard nor Italianate in style. The home seems to be something
in between. It does display a floor plan
that Mr. Waters utilized in many later designs. By 1880 William Doe had moved on and the house became the residence Mr. W. H. McKoy another lumber dealer. The McKoy's lived in the house for years. Even after Mr. McKoy's death his widow, Sarah remained in the house. Not until 1908 did she move to the dwelling built for Mr. Finney on Washington Street.

Just a block or two north on Mt. Vernon Street was the house built for Frank Domke in 1904. Mr. Domke was the proprietor of the Senate sample rooms at number 12 Washington Street. The establishment obviously made a tidy profit for it's owner as he was able to build a fine home. Oscar Ernst also had a house built at about the same time. The Ernst residence was on Merritt Street next to the Turner Hall. Oscar ran a meat market on Main Street in a building also designed by Mr. Waters after the great fire of 1875. Both dwelling are still standing with little or no alteration from the original design. Mr. Waters designed many homes along Washington Street, not far the corner of Mt Vernon and Washington was the residence of Dr. Teal DDS. Dr. Teal had been living on Grove Street until 1904 when a fine home designed Mr. Waters was built at number

71 Washington Street next to the W. J. Kelley house.

After a few years the neighborhood started to change, many dwellings were replaced by large structures such as the Masonic Temple, the Wisconsin National Life Insurance and the Post Office. For years however the little gray house remained tucked between the Masonic and life insurance buildings. Finally after many years the house was demolished and replaced with a driveway. The Kelley residence was replaced by the life insurance building. Mr. Kelley was a resident of the city since 1852 and a jeweler with a store on Main Street. I've rendered it here as it was originally but a larger porch across the front was add some time later. On the other side of the street and to the east was the home of Dr. Corbett. Built in 1892, it is a fine example of Queen Anne style architecture. A fitting residence for one of the city's most prominent
physicians. Dr. Corbett was one of the founders of Lakeside Hospital, later Mercy Hospital. As a side note; The original Lakeside
Hospital was housed in the Waters' designed Richard Guenther residence on the corner of Washington and Hazel Streets. Mr. Waters also drew the plans for the new Lakeside Hospital built in 1913. To the west of the Corbett home and just across Court Street, was the home of Joe Mueller. It too was constructed in 1892. Joe was the proprietor of a meat market. At first he partnered with one of the Heisinger brothers and later with Adam Zentner. The house was a grand structure in the Queen Anne style but was razed for the construction of a new Post Office.
In 1880 J. M. Bray (AKA Matt Bray) built a fine
home with plans drawn by William Waters. He had lived at Revere House and later on the north side of Washington Street not far from Mt. Vernon. The new dwelling was on the south side of Washington St. between Court and Broad Streets at perhaps mid-block. To early for Queen Anne and a little late for Italianate it is difficult to assign a style to the Bray residence. Mr. Bray had moved to Wisconsin

with his parents form Maine in 1857. He partnered with Leander Choate in 1860 forming the lumber and land company of Bray and Choate. The two were also partners in the C. A. Johnson & Company a dealer in a full line of shoes and boots for men women and children.
The next block to the south is Waugoo Street.
Not far the intersection with Court Street was the home of O. F. Crary. Mr. Crary came to town in 1848 and by 1884 was a successful grocer. Mr Crary went with the most up-to-date style,
Queen Anne. The house is still there and has been well maintained over the years. Just across the street but fronting on Court Street was the home of Charles Barber. Mr. Barber was an attorney in the firm of Finch and Barber. William Waters designed the Barber residence in 1882 and the structure is more subdued then later works. The building has had very few alteration, the most major one being the expansion of the front porch so as to wrap around the south corner.

The change was made very early and may have
been planed by Mr. Waters. On the other side of the street once stood the Catherine Noyes residence. Mrs.
Noyes was the widow of Dr. J. C. Noyes. The house was built in 1915 and was a fine example of of the colonel revival style which had become popular at the start of the twentieth century. The building went from a residence to retail space sometime in the 1970's when it became the Court Gift Shop. By the 1980's the place was razed to make way for a parking lot. The last house to consider in this neighborhood was that of Mr. F. B. King. King was a successful business man with interests in a verity of enterprises. He and his brother operated the F. B. King & Bro. sample rooms at # 5 Algoma St. Later he became the president of the Western Manufacturing Company, makers of ladies muslin under garments. In 1892 King commissioned William Waters to design a fine home on the corner of Waugoo and Broad Streets. The house was another Queen Anne with a balcony and bay windows. There were some modification done early on to this house as well. The first being
the addition of a bay to second story at the rear of the structure. Some minor changes were also made to the balcony just above the front porch. The alterations are sympathetic the the original design and may well have been the work of architect Waters. The house has been kept up and is one the grandest on Waugoo Street.                                                    

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oshkosh Residences

The Oshkosh structure of William Waters were and are to be found in every part of the city. However, nearly all of his residential works were built north of the Fox River. These dwellings span the breath of his career and reflect great stylistic changes from Italianate and Queen Anne to Colonial. To the east of Main Street homes are to be found along Ceape Street, Court,Waugoo, Washington, Merritt and Mt. Vernon. To the other side of Main Street, Algoma, Jackson Amherst and Elmwood were popular neighborhoods for Mr. Waters efforts.

Perhaps the best way to examine these structures would be by neighborhood. On the eastern end of Washington Ave, many houses of Waters' design were clustered near that streets' intersection with Hazel Street. Richard Guenther,
R. P. Finney, Geo. Hilton,
Charles Schreiber and C. A.
Weisebrod, all built just a few doors
from one another. Both Mr.
Schreiber and Mr, Finney were
bankers, George Hilton and

C. A. Weisebrod were lawyers.
Richard Guenther was a druggist
cum congressman. Closer to town were the
dwellings of E. C. Kellogg a gentlemen framer, living in town and G. H. Wyman a traveling salesman for the Schmit Brothers Trunk Company. Not far away down on Ceape Street was residence of Frank Metz a partner in Metz and Schloerb wholesale leather located on Main Street.

No lengthily verbal descriptions will accompany this entry, the renderings will be all the description needed. The homes located on the east side are for the most part Queen Anne in style with the later Foursquare style represented in the Kellogg and Metz dwellings. I've tried to do rendering of as many of these
buildings as possible but I've
found no images of the
Weisebrod or Schreiber homes.
There are but sketchy
descriptions in the newspapers.
In a press articles published in

1872 it is said the proposed C. A. Weisebrod
dwelling will be located on the south
side of Washington Street. No dimensions are called out but that the house will be brick with stone trim with basement and two storied high. The building will have a hipped roof an observatory atop the roof. The coast of the structure was to be $7,000. One may conclude, given the date of construction and this description that the house would be Italianate style with a windowed cupola to cap it off.

The Charles Schreiber residence has even less newspaper space devoted to it. Brief mention is made of it in an 1884 recap of new construction.

Bell & Cole were the builders, the style
was Queen Anne. The building was to
be 36' x 60' with a large number of
windows some fitted with stained
glass. It was to have a basement and
two stories, coasting $7,000.

I suspect there are a great many more houses designed by Mr. Waters occupying the east side and other parts of Oshkosh and I've a good idea which one they are. In a future posting I intent to talk about the many residences I believe to be the work of Waters.
Until then I'll continue with the examination of dwellings by neighborhood.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Flats of Oshkosh Real or Imagined

In the late ninetieth century the city of Oshkosh was taking on a metropolitan feel. One manifestation of this was the planning and building of flats or multiple family dwellings.William Waters was commissioned for several jobs of this nature. Newspaper accounts abound with many proposed buildings, some of which were constructed and some were not. There was a proposal made in 1885 by Richard Guenther to put up a building of Waters' design on Jefferson Street, consisting of two tenements. An article printed in the Northwestern Weekly on October 22nd describes it as a handsome double house of the Queen Anne style, fronting to the east with entrances on the north and south sides of the building. The front window of each flat was to be of three panels with an upper section of art glass. Although the house was two stories the dormers above the second floor were to make it appear as a third story. The description is vague and gives no indication of size or what material was used in construction. It is difficult to know if the dwelling was ever built; there are follow up articles nor any images. It is possible that it was razed to make way for the Elk's club or other new construction.

The Frontenac Flats were an undertaking of Dr. Steele and E. L. Wickwire with J. T. Raycraft as builder. The plans were drawn by William Waters in 1897 and much press was given to the building over the course of construction. The flats were to occupy a space 120' x 120' at the corner of High and Bond Sts. and was to be built of red pressed brick, two stories high with red terra cotta trim just below the cornice. Rumors of a third story were put to rest by Dr. Steele shortly after work commenced. As laid out by Architect Waters the building was to hold sixteen flats, twelve to front on High St. and four to front on Bond St. However the final number of flats was fourteen. The building was ready for occupancy about a year after started and still stand.

The Marden Flats were built by the Marden brothers, asphalt pavers and roofers. The flats weren't on as grand scale as the Frontenac, just upper and lower units on a long, narrow lot next to Trinity Episcopal Church. The house was built in 1898 tight next to the church. It sat on a tall foundation and had small front porch gained by a flight of eight steps. Above the porch was a set of double windows and to the right were bay windows which went from the basement to second floor. The structure was of wood and had a flat roof. The building was razed perhaps some time in the 1940's.
Two project of the early twentieth century never came to fruition. On February 2, 1902 the Northwestern printed a revised description of the flat to be be erected by W. W. Tolman at the intersection of Jackson St. and West Irving Avenue. Tolman purchased the former Bouck property, an empty lot measuring 63' x 120' and had Waters plan a three story building, 56' x 87' which would hold six flats. The building was originally to be two stories of brick but was changed to three and built of wood. There were to be bay windows in both the sitting and dinning rooms. It was to be Colonial in style with entrances at the center of the structure with front verandas, the first floor being of press brick and stone, the upper portion of wood. There is no evidence visa vie newspapers or photographs that the structure was ever built. The other project to come from Mr. Waters' drawing board but never built was proposed by Mr. H. W. Peek or Peck as the Northwestern of 5/5/1902 reported. Peek was a successful cigar merchant and had a home on the north east corner of Washington Avenue and Mt. Vernon St. The plan called for the moving of his house to an empty lot on Mt Vernon just north of Merritt Avenue and build an edifice of nine flats. The 100' x 45' three story structure was to sit on a lot 120' x 60' and was to be built in the latest style of red press brick with trim of Oshkosh blue limestone. There were to be two entrances on Mt Vernon and one on Washington with verandas on all three floors and was to be named the Windsor. Mr. Peeks' untimely death ended the project.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Turner Halls of Oshkosh

Turner organizations could be found in many American cites with a large German population in such states as Texas, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana Ohio Kentucky and Wisconsin. In Europe the turners were primarily a gymnastics organization but with a strong political philosophy.
After the suppression of the revolution of 1848 many Germans immigrated to the new world and some formed turner halls. Oshkosh was no exception. After the great fire of 1874 the city's turners asked William Waters to draw plans for a suitable building for their purpose and to be located on the northeast corner of Merritt Avenue and Jefferson Street.
For many years I had searched without success for an image of the hall built in 1874. Recently the Oshkosh Public Museum opened an online photo gallery, which has proved to be a great boon to my research efforts. I applaud archivist Scott Cross for his work. With the aid of the gallery I was able to find two images showing a portion of the building from which I was able to extrapolate the look of the entire structure. By the look of it the hall was a large wooden structure, very utilitarian in nature, not unlike a warehouse of some sort. The
building served for nine years when the Turners undertook a remodeling project that was to transform the hall into an opera house. The old wooden building saw seven more years of service but was replaced in 1890 with an elegant brick building on the same site.
The new hall was also designed by Mr. Waters, of the latest Romanesque style and looked something like the Grand Opera House. The hall was used for a verity of functions; it could be an opera house, recital or exhibition hall as well as a gymnasium. It eventually became the Company B armory and was used to that purpose until it was razed in the mid 1960's to make way for an automotive repair shop.
Mr. Waters was also hired in 1886 as architect of the South side Turner Hall. The hall was located on the south east corner of South Main Street and Tenth Avenue and was immense, magnificent wooden structure, in the Queen Anne style, featuring a souring corner tower. In 1902 the building became the Badger Club and later it was converted to warehouse for storing paper. It was destroyed by fire in 1920.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oshkosh Schools 1901 to 1916

The destructive High School fire of 1901 brought about a competition for a replacement. Five architects vied for the job, William Waters and Ephraim E. Stevens chief among them. With a crowded field of contenders there was much to look at, consider and talk about. The debate went on for weeks and preliminary votes taken but no resolution. The discussion became rancorous at times with accusations that some members of the school board were voting for the man, not the plan. In the end the most serious consideration was given to the plans presented by Mr. Waters and Mr. Stevens. At the school board meeting that was to finely decide the issue, forty ballots were taken before the plans of Mr. Stevens were chosen.
The City Council then started to bicker over the choice and even more time was wasted. But after all was said and done E. E. Stevens' plans were built. It seemed that William Waters exclusivity as architect for the Oshkosh School Board was at an end.

E. E. Stevens' 1901 Oshkosh High School

In 1903 the city was contemplating a school for the thirteenth ward on the city's growing south west corner. A call was put out to local architect for plan for a new school to be built near South Park. Both Waters and Stevens submitted designs for the new building. Not much press was devoted to the school boards proceedings. A vote was taken and the job of designing South Park School was awarded the Mr. Stevens. The design looked as if it was to have another wing added, perhaps as the need arose. The result however was an unbalanced looking structure.

Stevens' 1903 South Park School

Eight years pasted before another public school job came up, the Orville Beach Manual Training School. The building was to located on property next to the High School donated by Mr. Beach. This time the competitors were William Waters, E. L. Lindsay and Henry Auler. A few years later Mr. Auler would work with Waters on the design of the new High School

Some of the Oshkosh schools were aging, the Frentz School built in 1873 was by 1914 deemed dangerous and obsolete. The idea was to place the school on Grove Street in the eleventh ward. Without a great deal of debate the job went to Mr. Waters. Longfellow was not unlike St. Peter's School planned the year before.

Also in 1914 the School Board decided to expand the High School. It was recommended the design go to William Waters, assisted by Henry Auler. A tour of high schools in St. Paul, Superior and other cites was arranged in order to see the latest in school design. The new addition was in the same style as the Beach Training School and the pair presented and impressive sight. The building serves today as Oshkosh City Hall.

P. S. The High School addition was the last building William Waters worked on. After his death his firm became Auler Jenson & Brown.