Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 6

As noted in the first post in this series, most of William Waters' residential work in Oshkosh was on the north side of the Fox River. South of the river he designed a few churches and several schools, both public and private but only two dwellings can be traced to Mr. Waters. That is not to say there weren't others but just two can be verified. Both were built in 1910 and couldn't be more dissimilar.
The first house to examine was the Harry Meyer residence on Michigan Street. Mr. Meyer was the son of Charles R. Meyer and secretary of the C. R. Meyer Construction Company. The company built many of the larger buildings planed by architect Waters; the Athern Hotel, Algoma Street Methodist Church and Washington and Read Schools are but a few. Harry Meyers' house was a brick bungalow design with Arts & Crafts style influences. Many different styles had currency at that time and it would seem that Mr. Waters was willing to try his hand at any of them. The house has been well maintained and remains unaltered since construction.
The other dwelling up for consideration is the Robert Lutz residence on Knapp Street. Robert was the son of Albert Lutz, quarry operator. The quarry was established in 1867 as Lutz & Kronenberg. Albert passed away but his widow Grace kept it going. In 1889 Robert was listed as a teamster working at the quarry. By 1898 he was manager of Lutz Bros. Stone Quarry and by 1910, commissioned a new residence. A magnificent structure, it was built by the C. R. Meyer Construction Company with stone from the Lutz quarry. It is not easy to label the house with a style; the porch and tower look to be Queen Anne, the porte-cochere and other features are Romanesque. What ever one might choose to call it, it's a unique and grand house.

It is a certainty that there are far more house designed by William Waters in Oshkosh than those described in these past six posts. Perhaps future entries can be devoted to possible Waters' designs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 5

As one travailed along Algoma Street past the Normal School neighborhood one would reach "The west end" as that part of town was known to some. This section of the city was home to the aristocracy of Oshkosh, mainly the Sawyer and the Paines. In time others were building opulent homes on Algoma and West Algoma Streets.
Mr. Waters planned many fine homes as well as a church and a school in this area of town. The first dwelling in this vicinity for which the architect provided drawings was in 1873; the residence of H. C. Larrabee. My research has yet to reveal any image of this house, so it's hard to say if it was Italianate style or perhaps a more modest structure of wooden frame construction. Mr. Larrabee was the saw mill superintendent at the Paine Lumber Company and at one time served on the city council. He built his house just across the street from Edger Sawyer. The neighborhood start to change greatly at the turn of the twentieth century and the structure was demolished and another house replaced it in 1910.
Further down the down the street toward town, just across from Read School was the home constructed in 1883 for Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hooper. Ben was the son of Moses Hooper and his wife, Jesse Jack Hooper was a prominent suffragette, advocate and even ran for the U. S. Senate in 1922. The house was a Queen Anne cottage style and once boosted a large front porch which was altered and converted to indoor living space. The renovation didn't maintain the rhythm as set up by the original arched openings, giving the house an unsettled look. Other than the changes the house has been well kept up.
Even closer to town was another Waters' job with a Hooper connection; in 1910 Moses Hooper commissioned a house for himself, his daughter and her husband Otto Lang. Perhaps the aging attorney felt the house he had built in 1882 was too much for him and wanted to live with his daughter and son in law. The house was of the latest style and was built of rough hewn lime stone blocks, a building material favored by Moses Hooper.
In the last decade of the nineteenth century municipal judge Arthur Goss had William Waters design a dwelling for him to be built on New York Avenue. Judge Goss was born and raised in Oshkosh and attended the Normal School in town, then went on the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a law degree in 1884. He returned to Oshkosh and worked in the office of Moses Hooper until his election as the first municipal judge in 1895. Completed in 1898 the home was a foursquare design with embellishments of bay and triplet windows. This building has been well maintained and looks much as it did when built
Around the corner and up the street from the Goss residence is one of the finest homes on Algoma Street, the house built for A. B. Ideson. Mayor Ideson got his start as a manager with the Paine Lumber Company, showing such skill that he became a shareholder and secretary of the company and in the process acquired a great deal of wealth. His management acumen paid off as well as he was elected mayor of Oshkosh. In 1898 Mr. Ideson hired Mr. Waters to plan a suitable residence to be built on Algoma Street, the architect did not disappoint. The design was grand in scope and interesting in the use of shape and building materials to create
a variation in surface textures. The house has not been neglected and looks to be in excellent condition.
Just across the street from the Ideson place was the home of Phil Sawyer. This building has already been discussed in an earlier post about the Tudor Style. Mr Sawyer, known to family as Phil was the son of Edgar Sawyer and grandson of Senator Philitus Sawyer. Phil had a good head for business and ran many of the family's ventures. His house was built in 1904 and still stands next to the Oshkosh Public Museum.
What is now the public museum was built in 1908 as the residence of Edgar Sawyer and was the crowing achievement for architect Waters. The building was said to be in the "Old English Style" with its towering chimneys. bay windowed gable ends and imposing porte-cochere. The grounds also included a captious carriage house of a design harmonious the the residence. Mr. Sawyer donated the building to the city in 1922 and stipulated that it should be used as a museum. There have been alterations and sympathetic addition to the structure but the original building has not been obscured.
In 1911 Louis Schreiber called upon William Waters to draft plans for a new residence. Waters had a history with the Schreiber family having had planned Louis father's 1884 home on Washington Street. Mr. Schreiber was president of the First National Bank; his father Charles had been head cashier of the same bank. Mr. Schreiber chose a lot on Algoma Street just past the Congress Street intersection, on which to build . He also chose the Colonial Revival Style which was very poplar at the time. The well maintained brick house still graces Algoma Street and appears as did when built.

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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oshkosh Residences Part 3

To the west of Main Street was another popular neighborhood not only for housing but for religious structures. The city's High School, regarded by many as the finest in the state occupied a lot on Algoma Street. Algoma and Church Streets as well as Jackson Street were line with capacious dwellings and elegant churches. Six and a half to the churches in this part of town were the work of William Waters as well as many of the houses. The area was home to merchants, manufactures and other highly respect sorts.

On the corner of Algoma and Light Streets was the residence of J. H. Wall. Built in 1905 using plans drawn by Waters, the home is an early Tudor style and is discussed in a previous posting. J. H. and his brother Tom were in the lumber business in the firm of Wall- Spalding, lumber wholesalers with offices located in the Webster Block. The home is still there but has been re-purposed with a large addition. The original structure remains intact and the addition is harmonious with it.

Also on Algoma Street just to the west of Jackson Street once stood the residence of S. M. Hay, hardware merchant and bank president. William Waters was asked by Mr. Hay to design a brick Italianate mansion. It was built in 1873 and is described in another post as well. The neighborhood experienced many change as the twentieth century progressed, there was the expansion of the High School and the relocation of the Court House. Filling station and super markets replaced many of the fine old homes. The Hay residence survived until the late 1940s when it was razed in favor of a parking lot.

Church Street was also a prestigious thoroughfare on which to build. Not totally cluttered with houses of worship as it's name would imply there was plenty of real estate of the dwellings of the well to do. In 1904 Carl Wickert, a confectioner with a shop on Main Street commissioned Mr. Waters to design a house of the latest style. It was a foursquare or what might have been called at the time "The Chicago Style". The house is much as it was when it was built, two stories the first of lime stone block and large front porch the second story clad in stucco, topped by a dormer and hipped roof.

Down the block and around the corner on Jackson Street was the home E. S. Wilson. Newly built in 1907, it too was of the most current style and a suitable residence for the proprietor of The Wilson Music Company. As with the Wickert house it was a large foursquare with the first floor of lime stone block and the second floor of stucco. The building also is adorned with a full front porch, an impressive dormer and bell cast hipped roof.

Mr. Charles Montgomery chose to build a new house in 1890. The home was on Jackson Street just north of New York Avenue and William Waters was the architect. Mr. Montgomery was for a time the superintendent of the Oshkosh Street Railway but is later listed as a merchant, of what is not reviled. What ever he did for a living it afforded him the ability to build a grand Queen Anne Style dwelling with a broad porch and second floor balcony. The house remains much as it was when built and has been well maintained.

Not far from the intersection of Jackson and Irving Streets was the home of Fred Burgess. Mr. Burgess had been deputy sheriff and jailer for the county. He had moved round that neighborhood every few years, for about a decade. In 1886 he became sheriff and lived for a time in the county court house. Shortly after that Mr. Waters was commissioned to plan a fine Queen Anne Style dwelling. The house still stands but the years have not been kind and the place looks shabby.