Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brandon High School

A useful tool for research is the internet, one can visit many places and times, never leaving the office.  While viewing images of schools I was astonished to find one of  the Brandon High School located in a village in western Found du Lac county.  I thought at once it had to be a Waters' job because of its' remarkable resemblance to both Smith School in Oshkosh and the High School in Wittenberg.  It was perplexing that in all my investigation of William Waters I'd never seen any reference to the Brandon school.  I contacted the Brandon Historical Society but they had no information on the building at all.  Other attempts to find a written  record of the architect proved just as fruitless.  Online archives of the local newspaper, "The Brandon Times" had nothing of high schools' construction and no school histories were to be found.  The school no longer exists as an institution, having been combined with another small rural high school. 
As of this writing I still have no written proof that William Waters planned the structure but I'm willing to say he authored the plans.  Here's my reasoning: The front elevation from the roof down was the same on this building as that of Smith School, Oshkosh and Wittenberg High School; a central pavilion with two arched entrances behind which a flight of steps led to the front door.  Above these portals were three sets of double windows with arched tops.  The wings on either side of center had on the first floor two sets of double arched windows, like those above the entry and four windows across the second floor. The right side elevation was the same as the other schools with four sets of windows on the first floor and eight windows on the second floor.  The left elevation was a departure from the established pattern, just three sets of windows on the first floor and six along the upper floor implying a divergent floor plan.  The greatest modification  was the roof; Where as the schools in Oshkosh and Wittenberg had low hipped roofs the Brandon school's roof was reminiscent of that of  Winneconne's West Side School. (See "Small Schools" May 2010.)  The roof featured large dormers on either end such as those found on the Shawano and Marshfield high schools.  A diminutive bell tower with an almost onion like dome crowned the peak of the front elevation.  The years of the building's constructions is unknown to me but I would recon it to be circa 1900 give or take five years either side of that date.  It is unclear when the school was demolished, perhaps sometime in the 1980's.

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