Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Neenah High School

The city of Neenah provided many opportunities for Mr. Waters to ply his trade.  He designed all kinds of buildings in that community, several of them were schools.  Prime among them was the First Ward School, which was built in 1879 and served grades one through eight as well as the high school.  By that time styles were in transition from Italianate to Queen Anne and the school showed influences of both.  The building was built of stone from a local quarry and bricks from a Neenah brick yard at a cost of $15,600, with a heating system and school furnishing the price tag came to $25,000. 
The building was longer than it was wide and had wings on each side with entrances.  On the front elevation, a flight of steps carried one to the front doors situated in a small portico with decorative iron work along the roof top.  Above this portal was a set double windows and in the peak of a gable like facade was a set of small windows.  Beyond these apertures arose a great bell tower with louvered openings and intricate if not unusual roof details.  Fenestration on the front elevation consisted of twelve windows; two on either side of the door from foundation to the second floor.  Side walls back to the wings had nine window, three on each level.  The front walls of the wings had entries which echoed the front door with but a single window above. Around the corner the side walls continued back with nine openings and a small window in the gable.  That portion of the building behind the wing was the mirror image of that in front.  A low pitched hip roof with flat top covered the school, with low balustrade running the perimeter at the roof's crest and an eminence chimney issued from the center of the roof.  A new structure, Kimberly High School was built in 1906 but the First Ward School remained as a grade school and was extensively remodeled in the 1930's or 40's, the bell tower was removed, some windows bricked up and large windows added to admit more light.  It was renamed Washington School and was kept in use until 1976 when a new school was built and the old one razed.

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