Thursday, January 13, 2011

The city's fifth ward had steadily grown in population and by 1878 the school house at the corner on Elm and Vine Sts. could no longer accommodate the large number of scholars. Property on Algoma Blvd. was purchased and plans by Mr. Waters were adopted by the school board in June of 1879. The contract for construction was awarded to E. E. Stevens. By the spring of 1880 Read School was ready for occupancy.
One newspaper account said "It has somewhat of a unique appearance, and in style and arrangement is quite unlike the other school buildings in the city." Waters employed a transverse lay out which gives the building an imposing presents from the street. The school is of cream brick with a central bell tower rising high above the steeply pitched roof. The tower roof has been restored to the original tall peek, after decades with a low pitch replacement. As for what style to call it, perhaps Queen Anne fits the best. The buildings' fenestration is regular with windows of a large size. Over the years architect Waters drew plans for additions in 1895 and 1905. The building is still in use today, some one hundred thirty years later.

P. S. The name of E. E. Stevens will come up again in subsequent posts. Not only was Stevens a contractor but for a time the mayor of Oshkosh. Additionally he was a talented architect and often competed with Waters for jobs, that will be the subject for a post of its' own.

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