Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 4

The area of what is now the university campus was once an up scale and quit neighborhood. Tree lined street such as Algoma, Elm and Park Streets featured many fine residences. William Waters himself chose to live in this part of town. However as the UW-O campus expanded the neighborhood changed drastically. Many houses were razed or moved to make way for university building. Some of the remaining dwellings became student housing.
At the eastern edge of this neighborhood, on the corner of what is now Wisconsin and Amherst stand twin houses built in 1902 by Joseph Raycraft. It is unclear if Mr. Raycraft retained
ownership or sold them outright. It is clear that the first occupant of the house to the left was Mrs. Emily Turner, a librarian and Mr. H. E. Mann a commercial traveler lived in the one to the right. Originally Amherst was named Park Street and was one of the most respected residential streets. Amongst its' denizens was Frank Follett the brother in law of William Waters. Waters designed a charming Queen Anne cottage for Frank in 1884, which is still there and in good condition. Just next door, and built in the same year was the residence of Jesse Y. Hull the proprietor of the Boston 99 Cent Store. The once graceful Queen Anne Style house is now student occupied and not in pristine condition.
Down the street and around the corner, on Elm Street was the home of William Waters. The
house was a Queen Anne Style and built in 1884 as well. Alterations to the front porch as pictured in the accompanying drawing were probably made about 1900. The house was razed to accommodate the construction of a dormitory.
Just up Elm Street was the J. C. Thompson residence. Attorney Thompson was Mr. Waters' lawyer and drew up and witnessed Waters' last will and testament. Thompson commissioned the house in 1902 but the house was of a style and floor plan Waters first used in the 1880's. For many years the building had been a fraternity house or student housing and some changes had occurred, most notable was the removal of the dormer above the front porch. A block or so further up Elm Street was the dwelling of James Peter Jensen. Mr Jensen was the draftsman in Waters' office and his name appeared on many of the building renderings. The house was built at the same time as the Waters' place, 1884, and was a charming gem like cottage, which now serves as student accommodations, loosing much of its luster.
Along Algoma Street, architect Waters planned many fine homes some of which were demolished and some of which survive to this day. A Waters' job that met with the wrecking ball was the residence of John Crawford. Mr Crawford ran the Crawford wood and coal yard on Pearl Street, a business which afforded him the ability to build a stylish Queen Anne home. The L. S. Tuttle house was another building which didn't endure the expansion of the university. Mr. Tuttle and his brother were partners in the insurance business with offices on Main Street. Waters designed a fine Queen Anne Style dwelling. However there don't seem to be any entire images of the place, just a partial glimpse in a photo of the house next door.
One of the houses which survived was the one commissioned by Tom Wall and is now the Multicultural Center. Tom and his brother were partners in the wholesale lumber firm of Wall & Spalding. His brother J. H. also hired Mr Waters to plan his house, which was discussed in an earlier post. Tom's 1899 dwelling is truly magnificent, unlike any other Waters designed residence. Although repurposed the building looks much as it did when built, save for the removal of the balustrades atop the house and porch and an addition at one end of the front porch which has the appearance of having been planned by Mr. Waters.
Some distance up Algoma Street, just past Dempsey Hall is another survivor, the residence built for Moses Hooper. The Oviatt House as it is now known was also built in 1882 of rough hewn lime stone blocks with a prominent tower featured on the UW-O logo. The house is an early Queen Anne Style but rendered in stone rather then lumber as was usual. Mr. Hooper, an attorney commissioned other building by architect Waters as well. The Algoma Block near Main Street housed his office and he would later hire Waters to design a home for his daughter and son-in -law. All the building are built of lime stone blocks, and seem to have withstood the test for time.


  1. Hello. What I beautiful blog you have!I came across The Oviatt House on the national register of historic places, and find that the 2 views there do not seem to be the same building.
    Have you seen this?
    Is it the same?
    Hope you can help me get this matter out of my brain. Thank you.

    1. There's a picture of the Algoma Street Methodist Church and the Oviatt House. Both are by Waters.