Friday, December 13, 2013

Kimberly Hotel

By the mid 1880's Kimberley Clark had become the largest paper maker in the mid west and in 1889 the company wished to expand its' newsprint production.  To that end the company purchased some farmland and the water power rights at a place known as the Ciders, three miles to the east of  Appleton, the site of an earlier treaty signing.  The Mill was designed by Ashley B. Tower of Holyoke Massachusetts, a man dubbed by John A. Kimberly as the "prince of paper mill architects".  Along with the mill, Kimberly Clark built sixty houses and a hotel; and for the latter they turned to Wisconsin architectural royalty and hired William Waters to design the building.  Mr. Waters had establish himself with the company with the design of their Neenah office building in 1880 as well as dwelling for three of the four founders.  There was only one press mention of Waters' connection to the hotel and that was in an article published in 1891 which included a litany of his accomplishments.   The hotel was a boarding house of sorts for mill workers and travels.  It was located on Main Street just southwest of the mill and was adjacent to a large dinning hall.  The structure looked like a large Queen Anne Style house with a porch along the front and north side and a plethora of windows, the attic floor had many dormers and windows as well.   
For twenty four years the hotels' service was uninterrupted unit the night of March 6, 1913 when a fire burned off most of the third floor.  By the light of day the damage was accessed, the building was not deemed a total loss and plans were under taken to rebuild.  In the booklet "Kimberly-A Village With A Future", published after the fire there appeared this "...a general overhauling took place, resulting in rebuilding and equipping same according to the prevailing idea of safety, convenience, comfort and sanitation, the likes of which few villages in the country can boast of."  The hotel continued to serve for many years to follow.
It is likely that Mr. Waters was the architect for the rebuilding.  From the the outside very little changed after the conflagration, a new dormer replace the three that once occupied the north side of the attic.  What is unclear is what changes occurred on the south elevation of the building as I found no images of that side.
My research was greatly aided by the website and friendly staff of the Kimberly / Little Chute Public Library. Still and all there was not much information as to the buildings' longevity, no date when it was razed.  There is now a parking lot where the hotel stood.


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  2. An 1892 photo of the hotel can be found at: