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.