Friday, March 10, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings, Part 3

Of all Mr. Waters' Appleton, commercial buildings there were five I had trouble pin pointing.  They were; the Moore and Galpin block, Dr. Sutherlands Block, the Smith Block, the Bertschy Block and Mr. Tisher's Store. I had no clue about the Tischer store, what it looked like or where it may have been, the others I was able speculate as to which building they were.
I'll start with the Moore and Galpin block, built in 1871.  Per the 1887 Appleton city directory, Harold and Algernon Galpin maintain an office above White’s Hardware store, the same directory give the location of White’s store as “n s College av., 8 w Durkee.”  Indeed, an 1883 fire insurance map show a hardware store at that location.  The brick building exhibits many of the features that are hall marks of a Waters’ designed business block, most notably two stores flanking a central stairway to the second floor.  There is also an intricate brick work cornice and parapet along the top of the structure. 

There are references to the Sutherland Block in the early city directories and one in “Ryan’s History of Outagamie County” in the biography of Gilbert Ullman.  Other than being on College Avenue there were no clues to guide me in my search for the building.  I knew the building was constructed in 1871 and that was all.  There was one building on the north side of the avenue however that was an exact duplicate of a building on Main St. in Oshkosh, the Weston Block.  The brick work in both the Appleton and Oshkosh buildings were nearly identical to the brick work of Mr. Waters’ Phoenix Fire, also built in 1871. I thus concluded that the building on the north side of College Ave., one building west of the corner of Morrison St. to be the Sutherland Block.     
I was stymied by the Smith Block, a building erected by A. L. Smith in 1873.  Where was it located and what did it look like?  While perusing the Appleton city directory of 1877, I notice an advertisement for the Appleton Crescent which state their office to be on the third floor of the Smith Block.  A listing of attorneys and physicians show that many of these professionals had offices in the Smith Block.  I went back to the photo collection of the Appleton Public Library and looked for a large, three story building that look as if it was built in 1873.  I noticed just such a structure in a postcard of the north side of College between Morrison and Oneida.  Upon closer inspection, I could see the familiar Waters traits, it was two side by side, three story versions of the arrangement so often used by the architect, that being a stairway to the upper floors between two stores.  Mystery solved.
There was no mystery to the Bertschy Block, the 1877 city directory lists P. H. Bertschy and E. N. Johnson as having a dry goods store at 143 College Avenue and the fire insurance map of 1883 confirms that there was indeed a dry goods store at that address.  The building exhibited many features that marked as the work of William Waters, the rosettes carved in the keystone and springers of the center pediment were the most obvious.  Opportunities in Appleton provided Mr. Waters with much work early in his career and he continued getting commissions in that fair city.                                

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings, Part 2

Listed among the Appleton buildings designed by William Waters in 1873 was Mr. H. A. Foster's Drug Store.  A truly impressive building as an anonymous reporter for The Oshkosh Times told of his trip to Appleton in the September 3, 1873 edition of the paper.  The author was asked to accompany Messrs. White and Alexander, proprietor of an Appleton livery stable, to that city.  The report tells of the fast growing town and what a credit to the city were the many fine business block erected along College Avenue. 
Of particular interest was the Foster Drug Store, which the author describes as being “One of the handsomest that we’ve seen in the west, outside of Chicago”.  He goes on to note that the plans were drawn by William Waters who was superintendent of construction.  The stores furniture was provided by Brand and Cole of Oshkosh with counters and display case made of Walnut and Oak. The writer goes on to laud everyone who made for a successful business block and encourages visitors to Appleton to call at Foster’s store. 
Over the years there were alteration made to the building before it was demolished.  There were other commercial buildings in Appleton that came from Mr. Waters drawing board and these have been the object of previous posts: they include the First National, Manufacturer’s and Commercial Banks as well as the Sherman House and Framer’s Hotel. 
 Architect Waters also drew plans for several other commercial building which be the subject of subsequent posts.       

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings Part 1

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.                

Monday, January 30, 2017

Appleton Revisited

The point has been made previously that William Waters was quick to find work in places other than Oshkosh.  As early as 1871 Mr. Waters had commissions for buildings in Appleton.  The city was the county seat, located on the Fox River which provided power for mills and transportation to move goods, it soon became a center for population, manufacturing, commerce as well as education.  The young architect found work designing churches, homes and business blocks.  A list of his early works in Appleton was published in the Winnebago County Press of July 7, 1871 and included the following structures.  New Bank (First National), Moore and Galpin Store, C. D. Smith Stores, Dr. Sutherland store, J. H. Whorton residence and St. Joseph Church.  A list from The Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern of July 17 1873 reports architect Waters as planning structure for: A. L. Smith, a store, Warner and Whorton store, Bertschy block, four stores, The Manufactures Bank, Mr. Tischer store, H. A. Foster Drug Store and the residence of E. G. Goff.  On March 21,1879 the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern noted that William Water s was drawing plans for the residence of L. H. Kuderling.
Researching Appleton building online has been greatly aided by the Appleton Public Library’s “Fox Valley Memory” page, which has a wealth of photograph and texts.  Perhaps the only short coming is the lack of old city directories, there are but five in the collection which starts with 1887 – 88, six more directories can be found on the library’s Appleton Memory Project page.  The Appleton directories from that time don't list houses or buildings by number but rather by location.  A listing would be as follows (sic) Frisch Henry, tailor, res. e. s. Jackson, 2 e. of Harrison.  One may discern that Mr. Frisch lived on the east side of Jackson Street two houses from the corner with Harrison.  Appleton was a fast growing community and it may not have been long before Mr. Frisch’s home was the third or fourth from the corner.  The next few post will deal with Mr. Waters’, Appleton commercial buildings.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Have a Cigar!

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century any Wisconsin city of size and wealth would have had one or more cigar manufactures. Many farmers in the southern quarter of the state grew tobacco to supply the thriving cigar industry. In 1898 Oshkosh had seventeen such manufacturers and in 1900 Neenah could boast of four cigar makers, one of which was Charles Schultz and Son. Business must have been good for Mr. Schultz as he rose to prominence. In addition to cigars he had an interest in politics and was elected mayor of Neenah and also to the State Assembly.
By 1911 Charles felt the need for a new building of his own and commissioned William Waters to plan a suitable structure. The architect design a building of the latest style, using a light colored brick, accented with limestone lintels, trim and cap stones. Mr. Waters also employed a template used successfully years before; two store fronts on either side of a stairway to a second floor. A fire insurance company map of 1913 indicates that a pool hall occupied one ground floor space, the gas company office the other and the cigar factory was on the second floor. The building outlasted the cigar business as the popularity of cigarettes eclipsed cigars and the second floor was given over to other uses. By the late twentieth century the building had outlived its usefulness altogether and was demolished.   

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Christmas Sprite

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”, so says Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas morning after his night of haunting.  A lesson learned by Scrooge late in life but better late than never.  There are those who learn the lesson well and early, William Water was one such person.   
                               The Waters' house on Elm Street, Oshkosh
This December will mark the ninety ninth anniversary of William Waters' passing.  Through my research on Mr. Waters I've learned much about his work and something of the man himself.  One of the first documents I read about Mr. Waters was his obituary, where in it is stated, “For many years he had done act of kindness for people less fortunate than himself, but it was always done so unostentatiously it was known to but a few people. It is said that one the last things he did before his final seizure was to walk laboriously down to his office to make a liberal donation to charity.  Upon more than one occasion poor families had loads of coal or wood sent to them without learning who the donor was.  A number of young men who have entered the architect's profession had received not only their inspiration but financial aid from Mr. Waters.  Several families have lived for month, rent free in houses that he owned, and no payment was ever demanded.  It is said by those knew best that it would be impossible to even estimate the amount of money contributed in such ways.”  
                    William Waters seated to the right of the drum.
William Waters was reported to be of a “retiring personality”, amicable and easy to work with.  He was a devotee of William M. Thackeray and played the base drum for renown Arion Band.  His picture with that band is as far as I know the only photograph of him.  He was passionate about his work and the city and state he made his home.  We may all benefit from like attitudes towards work and the needs of others.    

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Kellett Block

William Waters received yet another commission in Neenah, the Neenah Times of March 8, 1893 published a brief notice that the architect had been in town in order to discuss plans for a new building to be erected near the Post Office for Mr. William Kellett.   Mr. William Kellett in addition to real estate dealings was a merchant of dry goods, along with his partner Edward Jandrey.  The Wm. Kellett and Company store was just across the street from Kellett's proposed new building.  A few weeks later the “Times” reported that the contractors for the new building would be Louis Weber and D.W. Barnes and that the building would be in a similar style  to that of the George Danielson Block, built of red brick with stone trim and would eclipse in beauty all other building along the street.  The first floor was reportedly leased to the American Express company as their Neenah office.   
The new Kellett Block was not all that like the Danielson building, it was not as wide as Danielson's but was built of red brick with stone trim of brown stone, instead of limestone, it also had courses of dark brick for visual interest.  The first floor store front had a door at the center and display windows on either side.  The second floor was defined by three windows in a row and above that in a peaked pediment was a casement window.  The peaked pediment seemed to be the only stylistic similarity to the a fore mentioned Danielson Block.  The Kellett building did indeed add the grace and dignity of West Wisconsin Av., however sometime long after it was built the peak of the pediment was removed, perhaps for maintenance reasons.  The truncated facade gave the structure an odd and unfinished look.