William Waters' buildings were familiar in many cities other than Oshkosh and Appleton was one place where his work was abundant. In addition to residential, religious and commercial structures Mr. Waters planned several schools in the city. The Commemorative Biographical Record of the Fox River Valley, published in 1898 credits architect Waters with four schools in Appleton. There is no doubt the First and Third Ward Schools came from Mr. Waters' drawing board for he's been listed as architect by authorities at the Appleton Public Library. His obituary lists the Second and Third Ward Schools as being of his design but I believe the obituary is in error.Consider the two schools known to have been the work of William Waters; the First Ward was built in 1881 with additions in 1885 and '89. The school was of a light colored brick with darker contrasting bands and lintel accents. It had a bell tower at one corner of the structure and arched entrance and is rendered here with the 1885 addition. The building has long since been demolished.
The Third Ward School was built in 1884 and had a Mansard like roof with large windowed dormers providing another floor for class rooms. There was central bell tower with four clock faces atop it and an arched entry below. The brick work was of a light hue with contrasting bands around the structure. The building was used as a grade school as well as a high school and was later known as Jefferson School. This building too was razed.
What of the Second Ward School as mentioned in Mr. Waters' obituary An Appleton Public Library image of the Italianate Style school is noted as having been constructed in 1856. If that is true the building could not have been designed by Mr.Waters because he was 13 years old and living in Franklin, New York. Also it is stylistically unlike other Italianate school building of his design; therefore it is doubtful that it's of Waters' hand. Ryan High School located in the second ward and sometimes referred to as the Second Ward School was the work of Charles Hove.
One may conclude for a certainty that William Waters planned the First and Third Ward Schools. But what were the two other schools mentioned in the 1898 biographical record? It's not the Sixth Ward School, credit for that goes to architect Philip Dean; the Fifth Ward and Lincoln Schools were not stylistically like other Waters' jobs. The Forth Ward might have been a Waters' job but there's no hard evidence to prove that. Perhaps it was St. Mary's or St. Joseph's schools. Mr. Waters was the architect of St. Joseph Church and may have been asked to plan the school too. For now it will remain a mystery.