Monday, January 17, 2011

In September of 1894 the Oshkosh School Board received a report on the condition of the city's schools. Of particular concern was Smith School on Oregon St. The building had been in service since the mid to late 1860's and the years had taken there toll. The school was an embarrassment to the city and the recommendation was "Build a new school." The board announced the intention to build and five different plans were submitted from architects from Appleton, Merrill, Milwaukee and Joliet, Illinois. William Waters submitted plans as well and in the end was awarded the job.

By July of 1895 contracts were let. The job of building the structure was given to Domke & Meyer. The building's style is unlike anything Mr. Waters had previously designed, a departure from the belfries and ornamentation of the past. There is a central pavilion with two arches forming the entrance, just inside of which a flight of steps rises to the front doors. Above the entrance are three sets of arched windows. The main building is arranged symmetrically behind the central pavilion with sets of arched double windows on the first story and arched single windows on the second story. The building is caped with a hipped roof supported by brackets. Still in service after more than one hundred years the school has had an addition. The same plans were used to build the 1897 High School in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. That building has since been demolished.

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