The city of Neenah provided many opportunities for Mr. Waters to ply his trade. He designed all kinds of buildings in that community, several of them were schools. Prime among them was the First Ward School, which was built in 1879 and served grades one through eight as well as the high school. By that time styles were in transition from Italianate to Queen Anne and the school showed influences of both. The building was built of stone from a local quarry and bricks from a Neenah brick yard at a cost of $15,600, with a heating system and school furnishing the price tag came to $25,000.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
As stated in earlier posts William Waters engaged in the practice of architecture soon after arriving in Oshkosh. It also wasn't' long before he was getting commissions from out of town. An early such job came from woolen mill owner William Prentice of Sheboygan Falls. The Sheboygan County News of March 4, 1870 reported that Mr. Prentice was gathering materials for his new dwelling as designed by Architect Waters of Oshkosh. Surly on a visit to that city Waters must have secured the contract for the new high school to be built, for an announcement in the Winnebago County Press of August 20,1870 credits him with the design. Reference was made in the passage that work would commence in the fall.
Mr. Waters utilized the Italianate style which was becoming the new fashion in architecture, he used a similar design on Oshkosh's Franklin School in 1871. The Sheboygan Falls school was of brick and sat on a high foundation and employed a lengthwise plan with the entry a the center of a narrower portion at the front of the building. Fenestration through out the building exhibited roman arches. The entrance was gained by a flight of steps and was a set of double doors with a fan light above. To each side of the doors were single windows and above the door was a set of double widows flanked by single windows, in the gable was a small round window and atop the roof was a wooden bell tower. The walls receding to the main structure were perhaps fifteen feet and at the intersection there was a single window on both floors as well as on the short adjacent walls. Turning the corner, the school continued for a distance of fifty or sixty feet, along it's course were three chimneys and ten single windows and set of double on the first floor with a window and door to a fire escape above. A low pitched hip roof with a balustrade about the perimeter near the peak capped the building. As designed the school had mostly single windows along the sides but this must have prove problematic for as the building aged windows were added. A postcard image from the 1880's shows double windows on the first story and an image from 1890's features additional windows on the second floor. In 1900 a replacement was built next to the old school which continued to serve as an elementary school until it was razed in 1968.