Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

300 E Custer Ave / 221 E Nevada Ave

National or State Register of Historic Places
300 E Custer Ave / 221 E Nevada Ave | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Waite Grass Carpet Company
Reference Number:100002141
Location (Address):300 E Custer Ave / 221 E Nevada Ave
Waite Grass Carpet Company
300 East Custer Avenue / 221 East Nevada Avenue, Oshkosh, Winnebago County
Date of Construction: 1910

The two two-story 20th century industrial buildings that make up the Waite Grass Carpet Factory are located north of downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Founded in 1905 by F.E. and O.T Waite, the company manufactured rugs and carpets from the native wire grass that grew in the marshes of the Fox River Basin, west and south of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The company flourished for over half a century before closing down its operations and selling the factory buildings.

For centuries, the wild marsh plant called wire grass (carex stricta) had no practical use. Even today it has little use outside of its positive environmental implications; however, for some fifty years it made up the raw material for an industry that gave work to thousands of people and delivered finished products around the world. It all began in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and it started with the making of twine. Wire grass grew abundantly near the City of Oshkosh and Midwest farmers had an endless need for binder twine.

The Waite Grass Carpet Company manufactured rugs and carpets of varying sizes and with various designs from woven wire grass. Wire grass was typically considered a useless plant that grew in marshy areas of Wisconsin and Minnesota until in the late-nineteenth century when enterprising individuals looked for ways to use this abundant resource. Despite alterations, the Waite Grass Carpet Company Factory is locally significant as a campus of two industrial buildings associated with the highly-localized grass matting industry in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

This property is private. Please respect the rights and privacy of the owners.

Period of Significance:1910-1966
Area of Significance:Industry
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Industry/Processing/Extraction: Manufacturing Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:02/21/2018
State Register Listing Date:12/01/2017
Number of Contributing Buildings:3
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
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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