Monday, March 30, 2015

Joshua Dalton's Residence

I had often wondered about the early residential works of William Waters.  Published lists from biographies and newspaper articles tended to mention only the homes of the well-to-do, folks such as S. M. Hay and W. H. Doe and being prominent persons images of their dwelling were easy to find. But certainly Mr. Waters did more than homes for lumbermen and bankers.   A few weeks ago a Facebook friend and fellow Waters devotee posted several pictures of a house at 723 Frederick Street in Oshkosh.  In one image there can be seen a notice of condemnation attach to the front door.  The friend expressed fear that the house would soon be bulldozed.  He also said that he thought it may have been the work of architect Waters. I had noticed the house years ago but had never considered that Mr. Waters had designed it.
I went the pages of "Willie's Book" to look for clues and I was astonished by what I found; there were detail sketches of window frames, gable arches and a front elevation, the house was clearly the work of William Waters.  In the 1870's two of the most popular picturesque styles were Italianate and Carpenter Gothic, this house was of the latter.  Characteristically Gothic style houses would have board and batten siding and Gothic arch windows.  Mr. Waters had made his own interpretation of the style, with no Gothic aches and board and batten siding in the gables only.  The gables had segmented arches with trefoil and quatrefoil openings with elaborate fascia boards and finials on the roof peaks, the windows were surrounded by ornate frames.

The house was built for Joshua Dalton a house painter who worked with his father for many years but later opened a grocery store in Methodist Church block on the corner of Main and Merritt Streets. An article published in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of  December 14, 1877 give a list of the new house construction in the past season and there among them is Joshua Dalton's residence on Leaf Street.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More Oshkosh Building, Part Three

There were so many building designed by William Waters all up and down Oshkosh's Main Street and streets such as Otter, Waugoo and Washington Avenue.  Some had a short time of service and others remain to this day.  There was a building built about 1881 which held three addresses; numbers 79, 81 and 83 Main Street.  M. Lambert Co. occupied #79, Weber Bros #81 and Struass and Jandorf was at # 83.  There were also living quarter on the second floor.  Elements of the building bore a resemblance to the Commercial National Back in Appleton.  The Weber Block was constructed of cream colored brick and accents of dark brick with limestone lintels and springers.  In 1904 the New German American Bank built a fine new edifice and more than half of the Weber Bros. Block was removed and the rest remodeled. That same year the Plummer Company, a four story dry good store next door was destroyed by fire along with the newly rebuilt Weber store and parts of the new bank.   
Other streets off of Main Street also had fine commercial buildings.  The intersection of State and Otter Streets was once truly impressive; there was City Hall the Northwestern Building and in 1905 the Greenlaw-Thomas, a firm that did abstracts of titles built a building of grace and buauty.
The building was of a cream colored brick, two stories high with a chamfered corner which held the front door.  Above the second floor was expanse of window pane brickwork and towering pediments at the chamfered corner and above an entrance to the second floor on Otter Street. Also along the Otter Street side was a retail space.  As time went on the pediments were removed and the structure was given a coat of gray paint.  It fell to the wrecking ball in the 1980's
On Washington Avenue there was a line of stores which were built after the great fire of 1875.  There were four store fronts and two doors to the upper floor.  The building may have been designed as two structures for different client as there are slight detail differences with the second store windows. The
building was built of cream colored brick with pilasters at the center and either end of the upper level and arched lintels of brick with limestone keystones.  
Along the top of the building was an intricate brickwork cornice which ran the length of the building. The accompanying sketch was one gathered the architect's son Willie, from his father's office and place in an old magazine.  Mr. Waters also used such elaborate brickwork on other building erected after the 1875 fire.    
There are more posts to come on the many commercial building of William Waters.  I've yet to touch upon all of them in Oshkosh much less those in Neenah, Appleton, Waupaca and Green Bay.