Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

98 Fifth Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
98 Fifth Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Whiting, Frank, Boathouse
Reference Number:11000204
Location (Address):98 Fifth Street
Whiting Boathouse
98 Fifth Street, Neenah, Winnebago County
Architect: Robert Messmer
Dates of Construction: 1932, 1939, and 1946

Built and expanded during the Depression at an estimated cost of $100,000, the boathouse constructed by industrialist and millionaire playboy Frank Whiting is perhaps one of the finest remaining examples of the wealth and extravagance afforded by the paper industry during the early twentieth century. Designed by Milwaukee architect Richard Messmer, the boathouse was lavished with decorative features, including stone rowboat planters, maritime lanterns, and silhouette replicas of Whiting’s boats on the screen doors and fire screens found in the structure party rooms.

Outfitted with a bar, grill, soda fountain and rooftop dancing pavilion, the Whiting Boathouse was a key venue in establishing Neenah as a site for the Inland Lakes Yachting Association regattas. The boathouse and its party rooms similarly were used to entertain touring tennis greats when they appeared at Western Hard-Court Tournament matches held at the Doty Tennis Club. Transferred to the city after Whiting's death in 1952, it has since then been used to house community functions and the city police boat.

In addition to its historical significance, the Whiting Boathouse is an outstanding example of the application of the Spanish inspired Period Revival styles. Characterized by the use of rough stuccoing, stone quoins and heavy beam lintels, the structure also includes a mansard roof, which imbues the design with references to the French Riviera and relates appropriately to the waterfront location of the boathouse. Further enhancing the design are the massive arched entryway, the slate shingles, and a stepped chimney with molded brick stacks.

Period of Significance:1932-1952
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Domestic: Secondary Structure
Architectural Style:Mission/Spanish Revival
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Messmer, Robert A.
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:04/20/2011
State Register Listing Date:08/20/2010
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:1
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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