Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Schools for Neenah, Menasha

William Waters continued to design schools in both Neenah and Menasha.  Over the years from 1888 to 1894 he drew plans for two schools in each city.  1888 was a very busy year for Mr. Waters with projects in Oshkosh as well as a school and city hall in Neenah.  Most of the press was given over to the progress of the new city hall and no mention made of the school boards decision to replace the ageing and cramped Third Ward School.  Architect Waters delivered a beautiful Queen Anne Style edifice with Tudor style details, the Stevens Point School Board also used the same plans for the Fifth Ward School in that city

These buildings had been described as Tudor Style but that was not a term that would have been used in 1888.  The buildings' plan was simple, a large pavilion adorned with an imposing bell tower next to a covered arched portico with another pavilion at a right angle to the left.  

Neenahs' school was constructed of very light colored brick while the Stevens Point permutation used a darker sandy brick; both had decorative contrasting darker courses of brick. Neenahs' third ward, located on Doty Island, built the new school on Forest Avenue between First and Second Streets.  By 1923 the building had become inadequate despite a large addition erected about 1900, it was razed and replace by Roosevelt School.  A comparison of these two structure and Oshkoshs' First Ward School built in 1886 show that they are mirror images of each other in lay out. The later schools are smaller and differ in style but the similarity is unmistakable.  
Manashas' forth ward was by 1891 in need of a new school as well.  Architect Waters was hired and drew up plans for a pleasing yet compact building located on Manitowoc St. between First and Second Streets.  The structure cost $10,000  and was the pride of the city.  Built in the Queen Anne Style the building was symmetrical with the front elevation consisting of an arched entry, above which were four windows and a pediment raising to a peak just below a diminutive and elegant belfry set upon a hip roof.  There were six window on each side of center, two on every level from the basement to the second floor. Constructed of a light colored brick with contrasting dark bands the lintels, sills pediment cap and other trim were of limestone.  The building was replaced by Jefferson School built about two blocks to the east.

In the Neenah Times of April 4, 1893 an extensive article with a wood cut of the new Second Ward School was published.  There was perhaps some significance attached to this write up as few illustrations appeared in the newspapers of the day, wood cut being expensive to produce.  The missive states,"The plans and specifications are by Architect Wm. Waters of Oshkosh, whose fame as a successful architect is well known."  By way of description the school was of a light colored brick with limestone trim and measured 64' 6" by 89' 6"  with three class rooms and adjoining clock rooms on both floors.  The school was a fanciful Queen Anne Style, almost castle like in appearance with a playful fenestration, a lofty 76' high tower, arched entry portico, a hip roof with an "eyebrow window" and built for a total cost of $15,350. In service for many years there was at least one addition placed on the school before being replaced and demolished.  
Menasha also kept Mr. Waters occupied with a new Third Ward School built in 1894 to replace a school in Smith Park, dating from 1879.  The new structure was on the corner of Ahnaip and Nassau Streets and displayed a movement away from the Queen Anne Style and toward the more Classical Style as seen in the Wittenberg High School. Still present was a prominent bell tower but most of the other picturesque details were gone.  Laid out in a lengthwise plan the front of the building had basement windows, two arched windows on the first floor and two set of double windows on the second floor, a hip roof with dormers crowned the structure.  A short distance along the right side wall arose the tower which also held the entrance, a limestone arch with doors beyond.  There were windows at the second floor and attic levels of the belfry and it was topped by a bell deck with arches which echoed that of the front entry, the bell was said to have once occupied the Tayco Street firehouse.  The window arrangement on the right side indicated that a hallway and staircase were just inside the front doors.  By 1919 the school had become overcrowded and a barracks like building was erected for class rooms and more land acquired for play ground.  In 1926 it was replaced by Nicolet School..

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