Friday, August 11, 2017

Have You Met the Twins?

There are on Otter Avenue two more houses I believe to be the work of William Waters.  Located next to Peter Nicolai’s Italianate Style house these two houses are mirror images of each other and of the Queen Anne Style.  They were built in 1885 and were occupied at different times.  Presently the houses are numbered 402 and 406 but in 1886 would have carrier the numbers 93 and 97, respectively.  The dwellings are nearly duplicates of the rectory built in Appleton for the Episcopal church there.  They show many of the stylistic elements that would mark them as the work of William Waters. There are on one side elevation double gables as seen on the J. W. Kelley residence of Washington Street.  Like brackets supporting gables and eves are found on other Waters houses as well, they surly must have come from architect Waters’ drawing board.
                                            See number 5, lower right corner.



An article in the Daily Northwestern of January 2, 1886 gives a list and dollar amount for the buildings completed in 1885, two are listed on Otter Street for C. D. Heath at $2,500 each, the report doesn't name any architects.  Mr. Heath was born in Racine in and came to Oshkosh with his family in 1858.  He was proprietor of a cigar shop and later the Senate sample room on Washington Street and Athearn Hotel.  Additionally, Heath was second ward alderman and was for one week in April of 1891 the mayor of Oshkosh.  Later he and his family moved to Marinette, Wisconsin, where he ran a hotel.
The first resident of number 406 was Frank D. Topliff a partner in the dry goods house of Hough and Topliff which had two locations, one on Oregon Street and the other on Main Street. The city directory of 1886 lists Mr. Topliff’s residence as 279 Jackson Street but the 1889 register locates him on Otter Avenue.  Mr. Topliff came from New York in 1872 to Green Bay and married Miss Hoffmann while working for Seels and Best Dry Goods.  In 1879 he traveled to Oshkosh and eventually partnered with Elbert Hough in the dry goods business.  That arrangement went until 1894 when Topliff opened his own store.  He remained it business until 1915 when he and his wife retired to Green Bay.  Parenthetically Mr. Charles Heath was the Topliff Company treasurer.     

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Special Report

On July 31, 2016 I gave a presentation to the Winchester Academe, a like long learning organization based in Waupaca.  I had been eagerly anticipating the event for months and Robbi and I had assembled a fine power point lecture which covered William Waters and his work in Waupaca.
 The proceedings were well attended and the crowd enjoyed show, asking many question during the Q and A.  I saw some folks I'd not seen in years and made new acquaintances, it was a splendid evening.  My thanks to my wife Robbi, Ann Buerger Linden, Nolan, Joe and Maggie Jones and the other members of the board of Winchester Academe for making the presentation possible.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Peter Nicolai and His House

There was a fine house on Otter Avenue which I’d long admired but hadn’t considered to be the work of William Waters until just recently.  The house was built for Peter Nicolai, a prominent and colorful citizen.  ( Number 4.)
Mr. Nicolai was born in 1820 at Rhineland-Platz, Germany and immigrated to Oshkosh in 1849 making the city his home until his death fifty-one years later.  He married Appolonia Jagoditsch and they had eight children.  His obituary lists Peter as a carpenter but said he did not engage in that occupation for many years, a check of old city directories shows that Peter was a saloon keeper, restaurateur and man of leisure.  Mr. Nicolai had quite a temper and was arrested for an assault on Theodore Frenz, it seems Mr. Frenz told Peter that he’d seen his daughter at Rolla Herrmann’s saloon drinking beer with unsavory company.  Later Peter went to Mr. Herrmann and inquired if he had witnessed his daughter with undesirables, Rolla told Peter he had not and Peter left Mr. Herrmann’s establishment only to return the next afternoon in the company of Theodore Frenz.  The two strolled up to Mr. Herrmann and Peter asked if he’s seen his daughter in bad company to which Rolla said no, Mr. Nicolai then sized a duster and beat Mr. Frenz about the head with the handle to the point of drawing blood.  But I digress.
The reason I feel the Nicolai house is a Waters job is the front entrance and porches, they are
nearly identical to the entrance and porches of the Rodrick McKenzie house.  The layout of the
front elevation of both structures is the same only the scale and some details differ. 

The dates would be about the same, the McKenzie place was built about 1873 and Peter Nicolai’s 
first residual listing on Otter Avenue comes in 1876, I therefore conclude Mr. Waters to be the
architect of Peter Nicolai’s house.  I can offer no written proof of my accretion just my intuition.      

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Kings of Waugoo Avenue

There is one other house on Waugoo Avenue which I always believed to be the work of William Waters but for which I’ve no proof, just my intuition.  The house at 204 Waugoo Avenue was once one of many homes in that block but as the neighborhood changed it became the only house in that block on that side of the street.  When I was in grade school the bus, I rode home on would pass this house and I always admired the house.

 My research indicates that it was built in the early 1890’s for Peter King who was half of the partnership of the King Brothers.  F. B. King had been a resident of Oshkosh since 1863 and operated several sample rooms which seemed to be very lucrative, for F. B. King could commission William Waters to design a large house on the south west corner of Waugoo and Broad Streets.  

If Fred could hire Mr. Waters, perhaps his brother could also.  Peter’s house wasn’t as grand as his brother’s but it was a fine building, the design for which was used by others.  There was a house on Parkway Avenue which was the mirror image of the King house and the Sorensen house in Neenah was nearly identical. 

P. S.  It has come to my attention that a publication for the 1990's credits Mr. Waters as the architect of the Peter King house.     

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dream Along With Me.

                                                             
                                                             Prologue

                         The following is an illustrated day dream.  …Enjoy.

Imagine if you will that you live in a fair-sized city in Wisconsin, the year is 1885. The June morning is warm with a light breeze which feels cool.  You are strolling through a park and the leaves rustle as the breeze moves the tree tops, there is the faint sound of a morning dove.  You emerge the trees to a corner of the park where a fountain splashes water down two tiers to a large basin bellow, before you is a neighborhood of large brightly colored homes with well-kept grounds.  Across the street a boy pushes a lawn mower and can swell the fresh cut grass on the breeze, from behind you hear the approach a vehicle on the brick pavement and you turn to see a horse drawn Phaeton speed past, a distant church bell chimes the hour.
You turn left and walk down the street to the crest of a slope at the end of which is a lake shining as a sapphire on a green velvet cushion.  Thousands of bright flashes of light strike your eyes as the breeze turned surface reflects the sun light.  Cumulus clouds indolently drift by as your gaze falls upon a mother pushing her infant son in a carriage and her daughter tags along.  The mother hums a tune as the little girl chatters about the long walk home and other childish concerns.  The young mother notices you and calls out a greeting, you reply “Good morning”.  She pushes the carriage up to the gray house, picks up her baby and she and the children go into the house.  You cross the street, walk toward the white Queen Anne cottage last in the row, you’re home after your morning walk.

                                                                      The End

P. S.  All the houses in the pictures were designed by William Waters, some were in Oshkosh, others in Neenah and Appleton.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Two on Waugoo

I can trace my interest in architect Waters to some old acquaintances: Lee and Eileen Weigert.  I had known them since I was in first grade, the parents of a classmate and friend. The Weigerts were devotees of Oshkosh history and William Waters.  In 1977 I entered the Oshkosh Public Museum Art Fair, one of my drawings was a pen and ink called “Glimpses of Oshkosh, Wisconsin” and featured drawings of many prominent Oshkosh buildings.  The Wiegerts and I were talking when Lee said, “You know Richard, all these buildings were designed by William Waters.  Do you know much about him?”  I had to plead ignorance and the Wiegerts filled me in on Mr. Waters.  Eileen told me of a house on Waugoo Avenue as being a Waters job but remodeled beyond recognition.  She described in detail its location and I at once knew of which house she spoke, it was number 316 Waugoo or old number 91.  







                                                    Numbers 2, 3 are address 91, 101

Until recently I never pursued much research on architect Waters’ early works.  The collection of sketches compiled by William Waters Jr. as a boy had been a great help in discerning works from the 1870’s and photographic evidence showed architectural details also seen in the sketches of “Willie’s Book”.  I was now able to identify some Mr. Waters’ early residential works and I concluded that the houses at 91 and 101 Waugoo Avenue were both the work of architect Waters, but to linking the house to the person who had it built was another matter.  The Oshkosh city directories from the 1870’s list names, occupations and home address, there was no listing of street addresses and occupant name.

In 1891, D. C. Buckstaff resided at number 91 Waugoo, he was the treasurer of the Buckstaff and Edwards Company.  D. C. Buckstaff isn’t listed in the 1879 directory and all other Buckstaffs are listed as living on the south-side and working for Buckstaff Brother and Chase Company.  The occupant of number 101 Waugoo in 1891 was Herman Derksen, a cigar maker who had previously lived at number 152 Main Street.  It was unlikely that either man had these homes built for them. 

 Both building have long since been demolished but it's nice to imagine the days when the street was lined with houses, not parking lots.

Friday, June 2, 2017

James G. Clark Residence

Recently in Oshkosh, the Washington Avenue Historic district was established to help preserve the many fine neoclassic buildings in the 200 block of that street.  This is a good thing and I endorse any effort the preserve architectural treasures.  I’m also aware that the neighborhood now protected was once an up sale residential district.  In the nineteenth century, many doctors, lawyers and businessmen made their homes on Washington and adjacent street.  One such denizen was James G. Clark a partner in the Biggers and Clark dry goods store.  In an article from the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern from December 14, 1877 which recapped the years building, there is mention made of Mr. Clark’s new dwelling on Washington, as planned by William Waters.  
Where was it and what did it look like, were the questions in my mind.  The Oshkosh city directory of 1880 lists Mr. Clark’s address as 71 Washington Street and the 1903 Sanborn map shows that number to be on the north side of the street and third from the corner of Mt. Vernon.  As to its’ appearance, I consulted “Oshkosh Illustrated” from 1887 and the photograph looking north taken from the top of the court house.  I notice a house in the upper left hand side the picture, about where number 71 would stand.  The image wasn’t very clear but clear enough to trigger a recognition, I had seen something like it the collection of sketches put together by William Waters Jr.  I leafed through the pages and found the drawing, a good match to the fuzzy image from 1887 and the date would have been spot on, I determined that the house in the photo and the house in the sketch were one and the same.  
P. S. The house designated as 1 is the Clark residence, I’ve numbered several houses in the photograph as they will be the subject of future posts.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

115 Algoma Blvd.

I’ve written pieces about every building I know to have been designed by William Waters. My last two missives were speculative in that I had no confirmation of Mr. Waters’ affiliation with the design of the structures, just my intuition, this and future post will just as intuitive and many posts will focus on architect Waters’ earlier work.
A few years ago, I asked Dan Radig, an artist, historian, archivist and Facebook friend if he had any photos of some of the houses demolished to make way the phone company’s new building on Algoma Boulevard.  In return he sent some great pictures I’d not seen before.  One was of number 115 Algoma, the address before the renumbering of 1957, which was across the street from what is now Oshkosh City Hall.  Many design elements were familiar, like those of Joshua Daltons residence on Central Street. (See post from March 30, 2015.)  The layout of both houses was the same and the front porches were small with an enclosed vestibule.  A look back at the sketches collected by young William Waters Jr. in the mid 1870’s reviled the gable and window trim details to be the work of the elder Waters, I was sure of it.  The Oshkosh city directory of 1890 was the first to list street addresses and occupants name,  115 Algoma is listed as the residence of T. J. Gannon, a commercial traveler, it also the first-time Mr. Gannon’s name appears in the city directories.  A Herculean task I’m not up for, would be to go through the appropriate directories name by name to ascertain for whom the house was built.  For now, the name of the dwelling’s first resident will remain a mystery.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pratt's Block of Ripon

Many years ago, I traveled to Ripon Wisconsin to research some buildings there designed by William Waters.  My destination was the public library and the archive on local history.  I found an image of the town square and one of the buildings pictured there was to my thinking the work of Mr. Waters.  It bore many of the hallmarks of a “Waters job”; a chamfered corner entrance with a set of triplet windows just below the pediment, an intricate brick work cornice and stairways to the second floor between store fronts.  I finished up at the library and drove to the town square and found the building I’d seen in the picture with the inscription just below the pediment, “Pratt’s Block”.
                                 
 Perhaps I should have returned to the library that day and researched the Pratt block but time would not allow that.  Over the next many years, I tried to ascertain if indeed Mr. Waters was the architect of the block but my efforts never yielded an answer.  I did discover that the building contributed to the Watson Street historic district of Ripon but none of the research on the building named the designer.  In that research, there’s a was a lengthy description and a brief history of the building which revealed it was built in 1885 as a replacement for a structure destroyed by fire.  There were newspaper accounts of the fire and how a company of firefighters from Oshkosh was dispatch to help extinguish the blaze but no mention in the subsequent months of a replacement building.  Given the Pratt’s Blocks great resemblance to other buildings by Mr. Waters from that time I continue to believe it to be his work and I shall persist in my search.                 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Waupaca Suspect

Waupaca and its’ environs presented William Waters with many design opportunities.  There was one building I’d always suspected of being a “Waters Job” and that would be a rundown bar on Union Street just east of Main Street.  I first glimpsed a picture of it in “Illustrated Waupaca” and thought at once that it may have been the work of Mr. Waters.  A more recent photograph was part of the Waupaca building survey, which I found online at the Wisconsin Historical Society.  The
accompanying description called it the Post Office Block, built in 1880 but there was no mention of the architect.  The block was not part of the Main Street Historic District so it wasn’t researched.
There seemed to be a dearth of information on the building but still I believed it to be designed by architect Waters and here’s why;  It is of the template so often used by the architect, that being two stores on either side of a stair way to the second floor.  The other reason is the intricate brick work and details. The drawing in “Illustrated Waupaca”, which was based on the photograph shows parapets rising from the brick work cornice, a feature common for Mr. Waters commercial building from that time. Much of that detail was removed over the years, perhaps for maintenance reasons.  There were some uncommon design elements as well, first the peaked window arches of the second floor were unusual and the chamfered corner of the front door of what must have been the post office, in other buildings the cut corner would have extended to the second floor.  By 1893 the post office had moved to the Roberts block and what had been the post office became Nelson’s Bar, serving Pabst beer.             

Saturday, April 15, 2017

More Work in Waupaca

The decade of the 1880’s saw much activity in Wisconsin’s north country.  Immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia and eastern Europe found a fresh start in the forests of Wisconsin.  The city of Waupaca was growing rapidly, and as the county seat required all manner of buildings, it too became a center of industry and commerce. Fine brick buildings lined either side of Main Street and a new ornate court house dominated the square at the center of town. 
 One of the most conspicuous commercial buildings on Main St. was the Roberts Block, the first section of which was constructed in 1884 using plans drawn by William Waters.  The building was of dark red brick with courses of black brick as accent, bands of lime stone and tile also adorn the fa├žade.  Pictorial evidence conflicts with written time lines, the 1888 publication “Illustrated Waupaca” indicated that an addition to the south end of the building had already been erected.  This expansion was of three stories and employed the same decorative motifs as the original block and incorporated a diminutive tower at the building’s terminus.  The Wisconsin State Historical Society’s records suggest that the annex of 1893 included that portion which housed the Post Office plus another two store fronts to the south.  The actual construction date is left to conjecture, whatever took place the completed Roberts Block was an impressive piece of architecture.
Another job in Waupaca undertaken by Mr. Waters was in 1909.  Attorney Irving P. Lord hired Waters to design a business block with two retail spaces on the first floor and offices on the second floor.  Architect Waters planed in the Neo-classic Style, built of red brick with limestone trim and metal cornice, complete with dentils.  Large windows on the second floor were favored as they admitted much light and ventilation.  Over the years some changes were made; the large second story windows were exchanged for smaller casements and the decorative cornice was removed.  At some point the retail space on the ground floor was joined with that of the building next door and a large opening on the Granite Street side was bricked in.          

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New London Business

Early on in his career, William Waters had aggressively pursued work away from Oshkosh.  By the 1880’s the north woods had become more populated and commercialized with Waupaca county being an area of rapid growth.  New London, on the banks of the Wolf River was a fast growing city, ripe with opportunity.  In the Oshkosh Times of July 3, 1880 there was a brief article about the new hardware store of J. C. Hoxie in New London.  The point of the article however was to point out the several Oshkosh individuals and companies that had played a part in the building’s construction.  First to be mentioned was G. F. Stroud who had gone to New London to install two large plate glass windows.  The missive goes on to say that J. R. Porter of Oshkosh was the contractor and that William Waters was the architect of the 30’ x 100’, two story structure. 
It was indeed an edifice worthy of mention as it added greatly to prestige of North Water Street.  It boasted of two of the largest plate glass window in the state, which measure 8’2” x 11’6”.  The building was of cream colored brick with three sets of double windows on the second floor the arches of which had keystones and springers with craved rosettes.  Intricate brick work capped the top of the building’s front elevation with the rosette motif repeated in the limestone blocks along the parapet and at the tops of pilasters.  The building remained a hardware store but changed ownership several times before being replaced by a new, modern building

Monday, March 27, 2017

Commercial Buildings in Green Bay

William Waters also found work in Green Bay.  In 1873, on July, 17 the Oshkosh Weekly Northwesters reported that architect Waters was working on plans for an office and business block commissioned by E. J. Shaylor.  The article reported that the offices of the Green Bay and Lake Pepin Rail Road were to occupy a three-story section of the building that was to measure 80 x 44 and commercial spaces were to be housed in a two story 80 x 36 section of the $32,000 building.  The building as described in the newspaper was not built, what was constructed on the corner of Pine and Adams Streets was a handsome edifice of red brick, with limestone trim and a larger ornate cornice.  It was two and half stories high and measured 80 x 44.  The building sat on a high foundation with the basement housing shops, large window let in ample light.  Access two the first floor was gained by flight of stairs at the front and side of the building.  The Shaylor block remains to this day although greatly altered.
Yet another proposal was announced in the Oshkosh Times of May 20, 1893, in a notice to contractors for sealed bids for the construction of a factory for Fred F. Bischoff near Green Bay.
Fred F. Bischoff Manufacturing made sheet metal products and was based in Chicago. 
Reports from the Green Bay Press Gazette gave a clear account of what happened; April 28, Messrs. Bischoff and architect Waters visited site proposed by the Allouez Improvement Co., Mr. Bischoff approved the location.  May 8, 1893, Mr. Bischoff announced the name of the company would be, Allouez Cycle and Novelty Company. June 26, 1893, Mr. Bischoff dispelled rumors that the new factory was to be located elsewhere.   July 12, 1893, Mr. James Elmore, secretary of the Allouez Improvement Company explained to an assembled group how the sale of land worked and the introduced Mr. Bischoff who spoke of his plans for the factory.  August 9, 1893, Mr. Elmore told the press that the contractor hadn’t been paid and had ceased work on the factory.  The upshot of all of this was that the factory was never built, if it had it was to be three stories high, measuring 350’ x 60’ with the front entrance at the center on River Road and would have employed seven hundred people.         
More work in Green Bay and Stevens Point came to Mr. Waters early in the twentieth century with the planning of depots in both those cities for the Green Bay and Western Rail Road.  This fact was briefly noted in the Oshkosh Observer of April 11, 1902 in a piece about the firm of Wm. Waters and Son.  The Green Bay depot was grand, befitting the rail road’s home town.  It was a two-story brick structure set on a high limestone foundation, capped by a tile, hip roof with large dormers, the platform was also shielded by tile clad roofs.  As for the Stevens Point depot, it was more pedestrian, a simple one story brick building which served the needs adequately. 


Friday, March 10, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings, Part 3

Of all Mr. Waters' Appleton, commercial buildings there were five I had trouble pin pointing.  They were; the Moore and Galpin block, Dr. Sutherlands Block, the Smith Block, the Bertschy Block and Mr. Tisher's Store. I had no clue about the Tischer store, what it looked like or where it may have been, the others I was able speculate as to which building they were.
I'll start with the Moore and Galpin block, built in 1871.  Per the 1887 Appleton city directory, Harold and Algernon Galpin maintain an office above White’s Hardware store, the same directory give the location of White’s store as “n s College av., 8 w Durkee.”  Indeed, an 1883 fire insurance map show a hardware store at that location.  The brick building exhibits many of the features that are hall marks of a Waters’ designed business block, most notably two stores flanking a central stairway to the second floor.  There is also an intricate brick work cornice and parapet along the top of the structure. 

There are references to the Sutherland Block in the early city directories and one in “Ryan’s History of Outagamie County” in the biography of Gilbert Ullman.  Other than being on College Avenue there were no clues to guide me in my search for the building.  I knew the building was constructed in 1871 and that was all.  There was one building on the north side of the avenue however that was an exact duplicate of a building on Main St. in Oshkosh, the Weston Block.  The brick work in both the Appleton and Oshkosh buildings were nearly identical to the brick work of Mr. Waters’ Phoenix Fire, also built in 1871. I thus concluded that the building on the north side of College Ave., one building west of the corner of Morrison St. to be the Sutherland Block.     
I was stymied by the Smith Block, a building erected by A. L. Smith in 1873.  Where was it located and what did it look like?  While perusing the Appleton city directory of 1877, I notice an advertisement for the Appleton Crescent which state their office to be on the third floor of the Smith Block.  A listing of attorneys and physicians show that many of these professionals had offices in the Smith Block.  I went back to the photo collection of the Appleton Public Library and looked for a large, three story building that look as if it was built in 1873.  I noticed just such a structure in a postcard of the north side of College between Morrison and Oneida.  Upon closer inspection, I could see the familiar Waters traits, it was two side by side, three story versions of the arrangement so often used by the architect, that being a stairway to the upper floors between two stores.  Mystery solved.
There was no mystery to the Bertschy Block, the 1877 city directory lists P. H. Bertschy and E. N. Johnson as having a dry goods store at 143 College Avenue and the fire insurance map of 1883 confirms that there was indeed a dry goods store at that address.  The building exhibited many features that marked as the work of William Waters, the rosettes carved in the keystone and springers of the center pediment were the most obvious.  Opportunities in Appleton provided Mr. Waters with much work early in his career and he continued getting commissions in that fair city.                                

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings, Part 2

Listed among the Appleton buildings designed by William Waters in 1873 was Mr. H. A. Foster's Drug Store.  A truly impressive building as an anonymous reporter for The Oshkosh Times told of his trip to Appleton in the September 3, 1873 edition of the paper.  The author was asked to accompany Messrs. White and Alexander, proprietor of an Appleton livery stable, to that city.  The report tells of the fast growing town and what a credit to the city were the many fine business block erected along College Avenue. 
Of particular interest was the Foster Drug Store, which the author describes as being “One of the handsomest that we’ve seen in the west, outside of Chicago”.  He goes on to note that the plans were drawn by William Waters who was superintendent of construction.  The stores furniture was provided by Brand and Cole of Oshkosh with counters and display case made of Walnut and Oak. The writer goes on to laud everyone who made for a successful business block and encourages visitors to Appleton to call at Foster’s store. 
Over the years there were alteration made to the building before it was demolished.  There were other commercial buildings in Appleton that came from Mr. Waters drawing board and these have been the object of previous posts: they include the First National, Manufacturer’s and Commercial Banks as well as the Sherman House and Framer’s Hotel. 
 Architect Waters also drew plans for several other commercial building which be the subject of subsequent posts.       

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Appleton Commercial Buildings Part 1

The origins of Appleton's nineteenth century commercial building are not always easy to trace.  There are two building surveys, one from 1978 and another from 1989, also the Wisconsin State Historical Society has an online photo inventory of many Appleton building with some notation about architects, such as William Waters.   
Of the ten commercial building listed in the 1871 Winnebago County Press and 1873 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper articles, I’ve positively identified five of them.  There were other buildings by Mr. Waters not listed in these articles, the Sherman House, Farmer's Hotel and the George Walter's Brewery.   The First National Bank and Manufactures Bank were both described in a post entitled Bill's Banks, Part Two from May of 2014.   I will start with the ones that are validated as coming from the drawing board of architect Waters.  On the south side of E. College Ave. not far from the campus there are several old shops.  The oldest of these are the Smith stores, two identical building built in 1871.  They were not architecturally extraordinary but rather plain. In each structure there is a store front with a stairway at the side leading to the second floor.  There were three windows across the upper floor and modest brick work on the cornice.  At some point the second stories windows of one of the building were altered, detracting from the original harmony. 
To the east of the Smith buildings was the Warner and Whorton block.  Constructed in 1873 the block employed a familiar template; two store fronts on either side of a stairway to the upper floor.  The building displayed Gothic details in the windows and featured on ornate metal cornice,
the building survived with few alterations.   Mr. Waters was also the architect of Mr. Whorton's house, built in 1871.                

Monday, January 30, 2017

Appleton Revisited

The point has been made previously that William Waters was quick to find work in places other than Oshkosh.  As early as 1871 Mr. Waters had commissions for buildings in Appleton.  The city was the county seat, located on the Fox River which provided power for mills and transportation to move goods, it soon became a center for population, manufacturing, commerce as well as education.  The young architect found work designing churches, homes and business blocks.  A list of his early works in Appleton was published in the Winnebago County Press of July 7, 1871 and included the following structures.  New Bank (First National), Moore and Galpin Store, C. D. Smith Stores, Dr. Sutherland store, J. H. Whorton residence and St. Joseph Church.  A list from The Oshkosh Weekly Northwestern of July 17 1873 reports architect Waters as planning structure for: A. L. Smith, a store, Warner and Whorton store, Bertschy block, four stores, The Manufactures Bank, Mr. Tischer store, H. A. Foster Drug Store and the residence of E. G. Goff.  On March 21,1879 the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern noted that William Water s was drawing plans for the residence of L. H. Kuderling.
Researching Appleton building online has been greatly aided by the Appleton Public Library’s “Fox Valley Memory” page, which has a wealth of photograph and texts.  Perhaps the only short coming is the lack of old city directories, there are but five in the collection which starts with 1887 – 88, six more directories can be found on the library’s Appleton Memory Project page.  The Appleton directories from that time don't list houses or buildings by number but rather by location.  A listing would be as follows (sic) Frisch Henry, tailor, res. e. s. Jackson, 2 e. of Harrison.  One may discern that Mr. Frisch lived on the east side of Jackson Street two houses from the corner with Harrison.  Appleton was a fast growing community and it may not have been long before Mr. Frisch’s home was the third or fourth from the corner.  The next few post will deal with Mr. Waters’, Appleton commercial buildings.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Have a Cigar!

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century any Wisconsin city of size and wealth would have had one or more cigar manufactures. Many farmers in the southern quarter of the state grew tobacco to supply the thriving cigar industry. In 1898 Oshkosh had seventeen such manufacturers and in 1900 Neenah could boast of four cigar makers, one of which was Charles Schultz and Son. Business must have been good for Mr. Schultz as he rose to prominence. In addition to cigars he had an interest in politics and was elected mayor of Neenah and also to the State Assembly.
By 1911 Charles felt the need for a new building of his own and commissioned William Waters to plan a suitable structure. The architect design a building of the latest style, using a light colored brick, accented with limestone lintels, trim and cap stones. Mr. Waters also employed a template used successfully years before; two store fronts on either side of a stairway to a second floor. A fire insurance company map of 1913 indicates that a pool hall occupied one ground floor space, the gas company office the other and the cigar factory was on the second floor. The building outlasted the cigar business as the popularity of cigarettes eclipsed cigars and the second floor was given over to other uses. By the late twentieth century the building had outlived its usefulness altogether and was demolished.