601 W 2ND ST
Architecture and History Inventory
Historic Name: Old Ashland Post Office / Government building
Other Name: Ashland City Hall
Reference Number: 581
Location (Address): 601 W 2ND ST
Year Built: 1892
Historic Use: post office
Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Property Type: Building
Wall Material: Brownstone
Architect:WILLOUGHBY J EDBROOKE (A)
Other Buildings On Site:
Additional Information: A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History.
BEST EXAMPLE OF ITS STYLE IN NW WISCONSINELABORATE ENTRY ARCH WITH FOLIATE CARVING SQUARE FOUR-STORY TOWERAT CNR USED FOR WEATHER FORECASTS IN 1890SINTERIOR WOODWORK BY SCOTT-TAYLOR CO INTACT RESTORED RECENTLY FOR USE AS CITY HALL SEE NRHP FORMS FOR COMPL [Date Cnst:-1893 (A)]
DESCRIPTION: Already listed on the NRHP (1974), the Old Ashland Post Office, stands as the districts tallest building and thus serves well as the northwest cornerpost. Designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by federal architect Willoughby J. Eldebrook (Edbrook?) and constructed in 1892-3 under the supervision of local architect H.P. Padley, this monumental three-story brownstone building features a prominent four-story square tower with pyramidal roof in the southeast corner. First floor windows third floor dormers, and tower openings, while the second floor windows have rectanglar lintels. The roof is covered with slate and the entry is made more elaborate by the large foliated arch supported by clusters of short columns, all in the Richardsonian Romanesque manner. The entire building is constructed of locally quarried rough-cut brownstone of fine quality, but which shows deterioration due to recent sandblasting that occurred while the building, once a vocational school, was renovated for use as City Hall. A flat-roofed one-story addition on the north side is in the character of the building's style and old in date. The interior, highlighted by a fine oak staircase in the tower and panelled wainscoting, had been handsomely renovated.
SIGNIFICANCE: This pivotal government building already listed on the National Register, is significant as the best example of Richardsonian Romanesque style, architecture in Northern Wisconsin. The massive brownstone building, with its tall square tower firmly anchors the district's corner boundary. Designed by federal architect Willoughby J. Eldebrooke, the old post office symbolized the civic pride and regional importance attached to Ashland, which in 1892 when this building was erected, served as the county seat and was recognized as the most important industrial and commercial city onthe northern Great Lakes. Only the most expensive materials were used. This building, now used as City Hall, is the best preserved 1890's brownstone structure in the district to exemplify the high quality of and beauty of native Lake Superior brownstone. The offices for these famous brownstone companie were always located on West Second Street, the commercial headrt of Ashland. The 1893 Ashland Daily Press Annual Edition noted the great expense the fine design, the site that provided views over the harbor, and the architect of this building.
It was here where Sam S. fifield served as postmaster for twnety years which was then the longest term held by anyone. The Conover and Porter designed County Courthouse was one located on this block in back of the Post Office.
Bibliographic References: [A] NRHP FORMS [B] ASHLAND SALUTES 100 YEARS OF PROGRESS
Eckert, Kathryn. Sandstone Buildings of the Lake Superior Region. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000.
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