Saturday, July 27, 2013

After the Great Fire, Part Three

By July of 1875 work had commenced on the reconstruction of burned out district.  The Oshkosh newspapers as a matter of civic pride were filled with articles on the rapid rebuilding.  One such document was published in the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern of July 15, 1875 and was a  listing of all the new building by architect.  Mr. Waters was credited with some twenty structures but there were more as some were added after the paper went to press.
The subject of this post will the building on both sides of Main Street, between Otter and Waugoo Street.  H. B. Jackson commissioned Mr. Waters for a structure, one half to be used as a bank and the other half to be hardware store.  The building used the template so successfully employed by Waters on many commercial structures. It measured 40' x 60' the cost was $6,000 and as of this writing the building still stands.   
The McCorison store is one of the building that didn't make the list in the newspaper. However it is clear that the edifice is the work of architect Waters by the central pediment and brickwork at the cornice and about the windows. McCorison was a purveyor of carpet, upholstery, furniture and the large store, 46' x 80' would have provided ample room for carpet stock. The building was razed to make way for new construction sometime in the 1920's
Next to McCorison furniture store was the McKenzie Block.  The July 15th article states that R. McKenzie was to erect a small building, only twenty four feet wide and house two stores.  It appears that Mr Waters combined work for two clients into one structure, much as he did with Griffin, Ernst and Hubbard in the block just to the south.  Its is odd that there is no R. McKenzie listed in the 1876 city directory.  Newspapers of that time often made mistakes with initials.  This building too fell to the wrenching ball, to accommodate new construction.      
The building put up by Herbert Bammessell, a manufacturer and dealer of cigars was next in line and it was a beauty, with intricate brick work and imposing central pediment.  The building cost $7,000, was two stories high, measuring 46' x 80' and housed three stores as well as Mr. Bammessell on the second floor.  
Bigger & Clark Bros. built an elegant new store just across the street from Mr. Bammessell.  R. L. Bigger was a long time business man in town, once having partnered with William Hill who later built his own store two blocks north of Main and High Streets.  Both establishment vied to be the most prestigious dry goods store in town.  The new store certainly was elaborately impressive with two double door entrances, larger widows and high central pediment.  It is unclear to me if the building was razed or if it was expanded and remodeled.  I feel a portion of this structure may still exists as part of what would become S. Heymann's, cum The Boston Store.      

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