Monday, December 31, 2012

Ripon High School

Mr. Waters' architectural influence was seen throughout the state of Wisconsin, from Ashland on Lake Superior's southern shore to Watertown situated along the Rock River.  Much of his work outside of Oshkosh was within a short distance of home.  A May 19th, 1881 article in the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern was an interview with the architect and a litany of his works in progress.  He's quoted as saying, "I've never known business to be so rushing in the office as it was this spring."   The demand was largely, however, from out of town.  Ripon, some twenty miles southwest of Oshkosh was a place which provided several building commissions: including residential, educational and commercial structures.  One of the buildings mentioned in the newspaper was a new school house in that city.    
The building was to be built of brick 67' x 94' with a basement and two stories high at a cost of $12,000, that was all the write up had to say about the building.  Queen Anne was the favored style at the time and the new school was very stylish with bricks of a light hue and contrasting dark bands and window accents.  It possessed an asymmetrical plan; behind the central bell tower was a transverse pavilion with a gabled roof of sorts.  At the center of the left elevation arose a chimney, which at the roof line met with a small gable, the main portion of the roof formed a hip at the corners but at the point above the small gable continued to the peak as a gable, making for a complex and interesting design feature.  Along the front of the roof was gabled dormer with a small window.  To the right of the steeple was another pavilion, at a right angle to the main building, it too had a gabled roof.  There was a porch and entrance on the front of the tower which rose high above the school, capped by a peaked roof.  The building remained in use as a high school and served grades one through eight until it was demolished 1912.

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Lisbon High School

On April 21, 1900 the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern reported that the firm of William Waters & Son was successful in it's bid to win the design contract for the high school at New Lisbon, a community about ninety five miles west of Oshkosh in Juneau County.  The building was to cost $25,000 and the younger Mr. Waters was on his way to that city to advertise for a contractor and make other preparations.  A year later there was another article regarding the New Lisbon school, praising the community of a thousand citizens for building a fine and modern school.  The headline read "High School at New Lisbon Tho Small May Give Oshkosh Ideas."  Perhaps that was an admonishment, suggesting the Oshkosh School Board may wish to scrutinize the plans of the building; there being a protracted discussion about a new high school in Oshkosh.  

The write-up went on to describe the new structure as two stories 73'x 105' built of Bedford limestone and red pressed brick.  The assembly room, measuring forty  by sixty was on the second floor as well as the principal's office, and two each of the following: laboratories, recitation rooms and cloak rooms.  The first floor was occupied by five class rooms, the basement housed wash rooms, furnace room, a large play room for use on rainy days and the third floor attic was one large room outfitted as a gymnasium.  The building was   a transverse layout with large wings on either side of a receding wall at center containing an arched entry of segmented limestone, other trim as well as the foundation were of the same stone.  The rest of the structure was of red pressed brick, laid with recessed courses every two feet or so giving the first floor walls a layered look.  A band of stone divided the first and second floors with brick work quoins decorating the corners of the second story walls, the window featured jack arch lintels.  Above it a tall hip roof covered it all; four small dormers graced the front of each wing and great chimneys towered over the roof.  A large dormer  dominated the center of the roof just below an elegant bell tower.  By the start of classes 1901, the students of New Lisbon had a fine new school but which was to have a short existence for on the night of March 10, 1907 it was consumed by a fire.  All that remained were portions of the front entry, left wing outer walls and the chimneys.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shawano and Marshfield High Schools

Smith School in Oshkosh, Wittenberg and Brandon High Schools were not the only schools for which Mr. Waters used the same plans.  The 1880's were busy times for William Waters with much work in Oshkosh and the growing north land.  In mid December of 1887 a one line notice was printed in the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern stating the architect was preparing plans for a school in Shawano.  No mention was made that it was to be the new high school and the reader is given no dimensions, construction materials or other specifications.  One may speculate the school was built in 1888 and may have been finished by the start of school that year.  The building remained in service for many years but not always as the high school, later it became a grade school and was renamed Lincoln School but was destroyed by fire in 1924. 

On August 8th of 1889 the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern reprinted a brief article from the Marshfield Times, which announced that William Waters was in town to submit plans for the new high school to the building committee, which accepted them.  These drawing were said to be with very few alterations, the same as those of the Shawano High School.  In the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of July 2,1890 it was noted that the new Marshfield High School was completed; it measured 50' x 94', two stories high with seven rooms and cost $15,000.  This building was used as the high school for a time but was replaced in 1899, became known as Central Avenue School and was renamed Washington School in 1906.  The building eventually was no longer needed and was demolished in 1957.
These two schools employed a transverse arrangement with a prominent bell tower at the center.  The fenestration of the front elevation was regular with eight windows in the foundation, twelve large apertures  on the first and second floors and two small window on both floors adjacent to the tower.  Perhaps these smaller widows opened into cloak rooms while the larger windows were ostensibly class rooms windows. The entrance, gain by by a flight of steps was at the center of the tower protected by a covered porch with a gabled roof.  The school in Shawano was of light colored brick with dark courses forming bands, the arched   lintels also had dark accents, Marshfields' school built of red brick and plain lintels.  A hip roof with large dormers at either end capped the structure.  The major variation between the two, beside the brick color was the belfry; Shawanos' had louvered covered openings on each side and Marshfield had small columns which gave the tower a Romanesque appearance.