Monday, January 30, 2012

Neenah Residences. Part Two

William Water continued to receive commissions from Neenahites for residences and East Wisconsin Avenue remained a popular street on which to build. Mr. Waters had made many connections and a solid reputation for himself, bringing him even more work. Charles Babcock a relative of an earlier client H. Babcock asked the architect in 1900 to design him a dwelling. Charles was an executive with the Plover Pulp & Paper Company and Wisconsin River Paper. The house was in the English Cottage Style and was similar to the R. P. Finny residence in Oshkosh. It still stands but no longer on East Wisconsin Avenue, having been move to a lot near the corner of Congress and Stone Streets. Some alterations have been made, such as the enclosing of the front porch and the addition of an oriel window in the kitchen.

Another Waters designed residence on East Wisconsin Avenue was that of William Z. Stuart an executive with Kimberley Clack. The Stuart house was built in 1890 as a wedding gift from John A. Kimberley to his daughter Helen. The house was stylistically like that of Charles Babcock but on a grander scale. Like the Babcock house it too was moved from Wisconsin Avenue to a lot on Elm Street where it remains to this day. After its relocation an expanded front porch as added, other than that the house looks as it did when constructed.
Godfrey Ulrich also hired Mr. Waters as his architect. Mr. Ulrich was a partner in the Ulrich & Cunningham Meat Market, later to become Godfrey Ulrich Meats. The business thrived and he was able to build a handsome dwelling on the "Avenue". The house has endured the years and remains much as it was in 1900 when built.
Yet another client of architect Waters was Fred Elwers. Mr. Elwers had partnered with Mrs. F. J. Kimberley in the Kimberley & Elwers Drug Store. The store carried a full line of wall paper, window shades and paint as well as pure drugs. Late the business became Fred Elwers Drugs & Paint. The enterprise must have been successful as Mr. Elwers built a large attractive home on East Wisconsin. The house is still there but changed from what it was. Perhaps sometime in the 1960's in an attempt to update the structure, six inch wide siding replaced the original three inch wide covering and much of the Victorian detail went with it.
The Bergstrom brothers; George and Dedrick were young aggressive and savvy businessmen when in 1878 they joined with H. V. Babcock to purchase the Smith, Van Ostrand and Leavens Foundry, becoming Bergstrom Brothers & Company, makers of plows and stoves. George bought out his partners in 1904 and continued to operate the stove works. Dedrick and his son John acquired the Winnebago Paper Company which became Bergstrom Paper.
The brothers turned to architect Waters for their housing needs. Dedrick built a fine Queen Anne Style house in 1893 on the corner Sherry and Church Streets on the west side of Neenah, aka Sherry Town. The next year George constructed a large dwelling on East Wisconsin Avenue or Park Row as it was sometimes called. The house was a mix of Shingle Style and Queen Anne.
As for Dedrick's house; it continued as a family dwelling as his daughter lived there for many years but it was demolished to accommodate the building of the new Post Office. The house that George built fared much better; although altered many years ago, a recent renovation has restored its glory.

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