Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Three Wisconsin Courthouses

In all William Waters drew planes for six courthouses as well as additions to the Winnebago County Courthouse.  The architect had remarkable years from 1880 to 1888 for in that time three courthouses of his design were erected.   The preliminary drawings upon which all three were based were done perhaps in 1880; a Queen Anne style building with a tower to the left of a main pavilion and gabled dormers along each side.  They were the Oneida, Price and Waushara county courthouses. 

The first of these triplet building was the Price County Courthouse in Phillips built in 1880; of wooden frame construction, with a Mansard roof atop the tower but in general of a Queen Style.  The trip north proved good for business as architect Waters drew up plans for a bank and school in the same village.  All three building served until the summer of 1894 which was hot and dry; on July 24th wind driven forest fires moved toward Phillips.  Many residences fled the flame via a south bound freight train while the conflagration consumed the community.  In 1887 a very similar courthouse was built in Rhinelander, Oneida County.  After years of service a new, larger replacement was built and the former courthouse became the Oneida County Normal School but was later demolished.

Also in 1888 Waushara County built a new courthouse based on the same set of plans.  Although Queen Anne in style this building was of brick or had a brick veneer with a bell shaped tower roof similar to that of the Oneida Courthouse.  The light colored brick was accented with decorative bands of dark brick.  The fenestration matched that of the other two buildings, with arched windows on the second floor.  For the next forty years the courthouse was a landmark in Wautoma, until April 30th, 1928 when a fire started in the basement and quickly engulfed the entire structure.  After the blaze, a chimney left standing and swaying in the wind was dynamited out of concern it might fall and do harm.  What remained of the walls soon collapsed, the building was a total loss.

1 comment:

  1. I am aware of the location of two of the windows from the 1887 Oneida County Courthouse. Does anyone have information on the design and composition of these windows? (