Friday, April 26, 2013

T. D. Stone's Residence

William Waters truly embraced the Queen Anne Style.  Some of his most beautiful and charming dwellings were of that mode.  One of particular note was the home of Ripon newspaper publisher, Thomas Devilo Stone.  Mr Stone was born in Connecticut in 1848 and came to Wisconsin in 1869, working as editor for several newspapers before purchasing the Ripon Free Press.  Late in 1875 Thomas married Carrie Allen and started a family.  By the late 1880's Stone needed a home befitting his status and commodious to himself, wife and three daughters. 
Built in 1890 and dubbed "The Elms" the house occupied the corner of two fashionable streets on the east side of Ripon.  A large front porch served as a welcoming approach to the front door and there was a  profusion of windows and bays on the first floor.  On the second floor, front and center, was a balcony and arched opening flanked to the right by a bay window and on the left by a set of double windows. Four windows topped by a fan light filled the front gable and many of the upper sashes were rimmed by lights of colored glass.  At sometime, perhaps during the great depression the house was converted from a one family to a two family dwelling, the fate of many large and costly homes.  The front porch was enlarged and an entry door placed below the balcony.  The balcony became an enclosed porch and access to the second floor apartment was gained by way of the original entrance.  The sashes of colored glass were removed as well as the shingle covered railing along the top of the second floor's bay window.  The alteration adversely affected the balance and rhythm of the original design. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More From Willie's Book

I've spent some time pouring over "Wellie's Book" and have found some very interesting things.  One thing which caught my eye was a front elevation and floor plan of a cottage like building.  It looked familiar to me; the central dormer and window above the door, the symmetry of the fenestration and general layout.  What was most baffling was the floor plan; I understood the "K" letter designation to mean kitchen but why was it at the front of the house.  Then there was the matter of the large room on the back of the building with lines dividing the room, was it some sort of squash court?   
Another look at both the elevation and the floor plan and it came to me; this was the Kewaunee county jail. The large room at the back was the cell block, not a court for some frantic indoor sport.  Absent was the hip roof replaced by a simple gable roof and there was no balcony above the front entrance but these were clearly preliminary drawings for the jail. 
It gives an insight to the design process, what was appealing and what was not.  The feeling of a home like building was maintained from the the first sketches through to the actual building.  I will post more from "Willie's Book" in the future.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Edgar Sawyer was a shrewd man of business, a bank president, owner of the Oshkosh Gas Light Company and the Sawyer Cattle Company of Texas; he was wealthy man.  Mr. Sawyer had a mansion designed by William Waters and built on Oshkosh's Algoma Street in 1908, replacing a dwelling from the 1870's.  In addition the Sawyers had long maintained a summer house along the south shore of Lake Butte des Morts just west of Oshkosh.  The first house, Oakley Cottage was quite rustic and was replace by something less so. Known as Waldwic, the story goes that when the gas light company refused to run a line to the place, Mr. Sawyer bought the company and his summer home soon had gas lights.  The new structure was eventually expanded upon with several additions but by 1914 Edger Sawyer wanted a summer place that was up to date, comfortable, capacious and commodious.  
He again turned to William Waters for what the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of April 23rd, 1915 called a "A substantial addition".  The article describes recent improvements in landscaping and new entry gate as well as the new house. " The addition includes a spacious veranda along the front, a reception room to the right of the entrance and a big living room, and, on the second floor, four commodious bedrooms. A sleeping porch for Mr. Sawyer has been built off his bedroom on the second floor."  The veranda was twenty three by twenty five feet and was said to be of a colonial style.  The lake end had a fireplace flanked by swings windows and the front was open but could be screened or windowed in cool weather.  The aforementioned reception room was fifteen feet square and the living room seventeen by forty feet with a fireplace like that on the veranda and finished off with quarter sawed oak.  Mr. Sawyer's sleeping porch was just above the entry and was supported by brick columns. There were two bedrooms above the veranda and two above the living room, all had white enamel trim and mahogany doors.  In 1947 the Sawyer family sold the place to William M. Brown of Missouri and since that time it may have had many owners, some of whom have made changes such as; bricking up veranda openings and placing mismatched windows in there place.  But all in all the house looks much as it did nearly one hundred years ago.