Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One Mystery Solved

Many years ago my son, then four years old and I drove from Waukesha to Oshkosh to keep an appointment I'd made with the archivist of the Oshkosh Public Museum to view the file on William Waters. Once there, Tommy occupied himself with some toys and I donned a pair of white cotton gloves and perused the contents of the Waters' file. Among the materials were some black, photo cover pages as if from a disassembled album.  Most of the buildings pictured there were familiar to me but some were not.  I arraigned with the archivist, Mr. Scott Cross for copies of the mystery buildings and since that time I've searched for their identity, with some success.  Recently I conducted an online search and was directed to The Old Third Ward Association, in Appleton.  There were pictured there, many houses designed by architect Waters familiar to me but one address was not.  I closely examined the image and read the paragraph about the house.  I recognized it as one the last buildings I had yet to identify.
It was the home of George Gerry an Appleton lumber dealer.  Mr. Gerry was born in Canada in 1840 and was the owner of Gerry Lumber.  In 1882 he commissioned William Waters to design his dwelling.  It was situated on a corner and  fronted on Cherry St. which later became Memorial Dr.  The front door was on a diminutive front porch with large ornately turned posts with a window over it on the second floor.  To the left, around the corner was another entrance, perhaps to an office and even further along the side of the house was one more door.  To the right of the front door were two windows and two windows above with a set of small twin windows in the gable.   On the right side of the house was a large bay window.  The interior walls were frescoes done by J. Frank Waldo who often worked with Mr. Waters, based on that connection the Third Ward Association correctly concluded that William Waters was the architect.  The house was moved about one hundred feet east from its' original location in order to make way for a row of multiple family houses.  What was once the front of the house became the side of the house, the front porch was removed and the door covered over.  Gone too was the "office door" and what had been a side entrance was made to be the front door, other alteration occurred as well. The barn at the back of the house was converted into a dwelling.  


  1. Hi, I enjoyed your article about the Gerry house in Appleton, Wisconsin. Can you tell me about the sketch of the house?

  2. Yes Nancy, I drew the sketch, based on a photo from the archives of the Oshkosh Public Museum.