Friday, April 13, 2018

Otter Avenue Mystery

Months ago, I was prepared to write an article about the house at 524 Otter Avenue.  I had always suspected it to be the work of William Waters but an old Oshkosh building survey recognized Joseph Weber as the architect, so I abandoned my planed missive.  A few weeks past David Groth, an architectural historical and fellow Waters aficionado asked me about the house.  He said he and others believed it was indeed a “Waters’ job”.  I told him I agreed with him and would consider the matter further.  

I researched city directories and my notes and found that the house was built in 1886 for W. H. Crawford, a plumber, steam and gas fitter.  The directories of 1886 and 1889 list Joseph Weber as being a carpenter but not an architect.  Those same volumes list only A. E. Bell and Wm. Waters as architects.  The house displays many features favored by architect Waters and would have been a fine example of his Queen Anne Style of the time.  I then recalled other instances of erroneous architectural attribution in the Oshkosh building survey.  It’s likely the researchers for the building survey found Mr. Weber’s name as the builder and concluded that he was also the architect.  Perhaps David Groth, the others and I are correct and the house is truly from William Waters’ drawing board.      

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