Friday, February 21, 2014

Marshfield Rebuilt

In the late 1880's Marshfield Wisconsin was a fast growing lumber manufacturing center.  Not situated on a river, its' growth was helped by the construction of a railroad.  In 1878 William Upham and his brother built a large mill and factories on the northwest side of town, by 1885 the city was home to 2000 residence.  The spring of 1887 had been very dry and on June 27th a spark from a freight train passing Uphams' mill ignited saw dust near a stack of lumber.  The strong wind pushed the flames south, toward town and when it was all over more than two hundred structures were destroyed  but there was no loss of life.   Reconstruction began almost at once for there appeared a notice in the Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern of July 14, that Mr. Upham was in town to visit the office of architect Waters and review plans for a new commercial building.  Mr. Uphams' building was but one of the building designed by Waters in the rebuilding of Marshfield.  Two notable Waters structures, the First National Bank and the Tremont Hotel were linked for there entire existence.  Both were built the same year next to one another on Central Ave.  It's unclear if William Upham had  a financial interest in the hotel but he was president of the bank and the buildings were complimentary in style   

In the Marshfield Times of December 30, 1887 there was an extensive description of the new hotel, it was built on the site for the previous Tremont Hotel and measured 51' x 108', three stories high.  The first floor comprised the office, parlor, dining room, kitchen, pantry, laundry, two large sample rooms, a bath room and three family rooms.  The office, parlor and dining room were finished with oak.  On the second floor was a ladies parlor and 18 bedrooms as well as 12 rooms for the servants and on the third floor were 13 sleeping apartments.  The rooms, halls and stairs were all carpeted.  The furniture through out was manufactured of oak and ask by Banderod and Chase of Oshkosh.  Oshkosh cream brick from Cook and Brown was used in its' construction, which was done by E. E. Stevens and C. R. Meyer, also of Oshkosh. Both building were of the Queen Anne Style.
In about 1889 Mr. Charles E. Blodgett came to Marshfield and took over the Tremont Hotel, renaming it the Blodgett Hotel.  Mr. Blodgett was a savvy and enthusiastic business man, able to to communicate his vision to others.  He continuously improved the hotel and about 1910 expanded it by adding a third story to the bank building and connecting it to the hotel.  It is unclear if William Waters was the architect of this remodeling but it may well have been, for great pains were taken to make a seamless addition.  At sometime, even before the annex was built the hotel and bank got a coat of red paint.  The windows of the hotel were outfitted with red and white striped awnings, which made for a striking appearance.    The hotel no longer stands on Central Avenue, having been replaced by modern commercial buildings.

P. S. This post will conclude the series on the hotels designed by Mr. Waters. 

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