Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The W. D. Williams Residence

W. D. Williams started his career in the commission houses of Milwaukee and in 1868 he located in Berlin, Green Lake county and opened a wholesale business.  His choice of Berlin was a good one for it was a gateway to northern Wisconsin and beyond.  His success made him wealthy and by 1881 he wished to show the community his good fortune by building one of the biggest and most unusual homes in the city.  In the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern of May 19th, 1881 an interview with architect William Waters reveled a plethora of jobs, most of which were out of town.  Mentioned in the list is the 32' x 64' frame dwelling of Mr. Williams of Berlin to be built at a cost $3,500.  A September 1881 issue of the Berlin Evening Journal quoted Mr. Williams as follows; "My house will be a large one, larger then the Harkness house next door.  It will be Gothic, something entirely new in Berlin."  The article went on to say only the finest materials were used, walls were back plastered for warmth and cross braced so as prevent cracking.  The carpenters pledged their finest workmanship.
The term "Gothic" was misleading, for the house was designed in the Queen Anne Style; with steep roofs, dormers, bays and various surface textures.  The imposing roof at the corner of the house made a great visual impression, aided by a balcony and dormer.  A generous number of window gave the house a light, airy appearance and a diminutive front porch added grace to the front elevation without overpowering it.  Only minor changes have occurred throughout the years; no ill conceived addition or remodels, leaving the house much as it appeared when built.

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