Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After the Great Fire, Part Two

Back on September 5, 2010, I posted an article on the great fire of Oshkosh and closed it with promise that other entries on that subject would soon follow.  Well that never happened and I intend to change that now.  There are some reader whom I'm sure will go back that 2010 posting as a matter of review and that would be a fine thing.  I will also provide a review and it goes like, this;  On April 28, 1875 a frighten employ of the Morgan Door company rushed into the office and announced that a stack of lumber was burning.  The day was dry and the wind was fierce.  The blaze pushed it's way east and the thrice burned and rebuilt business district lay in the path.  The city had been construed largely of wood and fire fighting was not the modern science of today.  ...Well you get the picture, pretty much a total lose, but it was early in the year and plans got started almost at once.   
Mr. Waters firm got commissions on 23 new building along burned out Main Street: Two hotels, a post office, two bank, an opera hall and eighteen business block; all to be built of brick.  Plans were being prepared at an unheard of pace and it would have been difficult to achieve a different look for every building. 

I've decide to look at Mr. Waters post conflagration works by starting at the south end of Main Street and working north.  One should understand that the lower end of Main Street was the unfashionable end sometimes called the rockery.  Here was a chance to change the complexion of the benighted end of the street.  Good, attractive, solid brick building would help the matter. Three men held much of the real estate along the east side of Main Street between Ceape Street and Otter: C. Griffin. C. Ernest and E. Hubbard. Mr. Waters knew it would be to expensive to design individual building for each client so he repeated the same design for the nearly the whole block, to a pleasing effect.  
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The buildings used the template very popular with architect Waters.  One building consisted of two stores, between each store was a stair way leading to the second floor.  The front elevation was much the same for any building using this formula; the room above each store had two or perhaps a triple window, center above the stairway was a diminutive window.  It was a design that Mr. Waters used over and over during the reconstruction of Oshkosh.
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Across the street Mr. Waters found work with P. V. Wright and the Jones Bros.  The clients had adjacent lots and nearly identical building.  The structures were based on same template as the buildings on the other side of the street, however the Wright building had seven windows on the second floor and Jones had but five.
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The next post will look at the buildings from Otter Street to Waugoo Street.

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