The origins of Appleton's nineteenth century commercial building are not always easy to trace. There are two building surveys, one from 1978 and another from 1989, also the Wisconsin State Historical Society has an online photo inventory of many Appleton building with some notation about architects, such as William Waters.
Of the ten commercial building listed in the 1871 Winnebago County Press and 1873 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper articles, I’ve positively identified five of them. There were other buildings by Mr. Waters not listed in these articles, the Sherman House, Farmer's Hotel and the George Walter's Brewery. The First National Bank and Manufactures Bank were both described in a post entitled Bill's Banks, Part Two from May of 2014. I will start with the ones that are validated as coming from the drawing board of architect Waters. On the south side of E. College Ave. not far from the campus there are several old shops. The oldest of these are the Smith stores, two identical building built in 1871. They were not architecturally extraordinary but rather plain. In each structure there is a store front with a stairway at the side leading to the second floor. There were three windows across the upper floor and modest brick work on the cornice. At some point the second stories windows of one of the building were altered, detracting from the original harmony.
To the east of the Smith buildings was the Warner and Whorton block. Constructed in 1873 the block employed a familiar template; two store fronts on either side of a stairway to the upper floor. The building displayed Gothic details in the windows and featured on ornate metal cornice,
the building survived with few alterations. Mr. Waters was also the architect of Mr. Whorton's house, built in 1871.