John R. Davis immigrated from Wales to North America and landed in Quebec in 1840. Six years later Mr. Davis was in Milwaukee and meet Jane Jones also a Welch immigrant. The two were married in 1848, later that year John visited Neenah and purchased some real estate and moved there the next year. Mr. Davis was a great entrepreneur and engaged in wagon building, a trade he had plied before arriving in Milwaukee. In 1852 he acquired the old Government Mill and went into the flour milling business until the mill burned in 1874. He then organized the Winnebago Paper Company and built a new mill near where Main St. bends to become West Wisconsin Ave. The paper company was very successful which helped support his family of six and the families of many workers. Shortly before his death in 1885 Mr. Davis commissioned William Waters to design his home on East Wisconsin Ave.
The passing of John Davis Sr. didn't stop the company from growing, his son John Jr. took over and expanded the company to Eau Claire. In 1893 the younger Mr. Davis asked William Waters to plan an office building for the mill. Architect Waters produced plans for a Romanesque Style building with arched window openings on the first floor, a chamfered corner entry and living quarter on the second floor. The structure was built of red pressed brick with roughhewn limestone arches, sills and lintel. The corner entrance featured a door flanked by two diminutive columns on tall plinths supporting a lintel and pediment of intricate stone work. Above the door was recessed bay window with limestone bartizans on either side, which rose to top of the parapet. Just below the gable was a set of arched triplet windows, a favorite component of Mr. Waters.
In 1904 the mill was purchased by the Bergstrom Paper Company and not long after the office was expanded to double its original size. Waters was called upon to draw the plans as he had drawn the originals and had designed Mr. Bergstrom's house. The addition was sympathetic and seamless; one would have been hard pressed to discern the alteration. The building served the company for many years but when the business was sold and the mill closed the structure was razed and replaced by a monument made up of bits and pieces of the building.