Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

730 WISCONSIN AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
730 WISCONSIN AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:RACINE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Other Name:Racine County Courthouse
Contributing:
Reference Number:11922
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):730 WISCONSIN AVE
County:Racine
City:Racine
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1930
Additions:
Survey Date:1975
Historic Use:courthouse
Architectural Style:Art Deco
Structural System:
Wall Material:Limestone
Architect:Holabird and Root
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Racine County Courthouse
National Register Listing Date:7/28/1980 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historic information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

Builder was B-W Construction Co. TAPERED AT 1ST, 4TH, AND 10TH FLOORS. INTERIOR SCULPTURE BY CARL MILLES.The original cost of construction was $1.5 million dollars.

Prominent Chicago architects Holabird and Root designed this eleven-story edifice, Racine’s most imposing landmark. With two low projections from its massive body, the courthouse looks a bit like a cubic sphinx. The symmetrical, stepped-back massing and vertical emphasis reflect the geometry of modernism.

This building, stripped-down and solemn, includes only minimal ornamentation on its smooth Bedford limestone walls, with stylized leaves and shields at the roofline and stylized civic symbols capping the pilasters. But notice sculptor Carl Milles’ spectacular bas-relief panels in the entry plazas and recessed entryways, which adopt the heroic Social Realism style, popular in the 1930s; these depict people laboring, struggling through life stages, and grappling with nature’s elements. These panels were the internationally known Swedish immigrant’s first commission in the United States.

The courthouse interior is equally impressive. Images of animals and wheat trim the entry doors; inside, geometric light fixtures illuminate the marble-lined lobby. The elevator doors--favorite decorative elements in the Art Deco vocabulary--are bronze, cast with figures of Agriculture and Industry. First-floor court rooms feature international hardwoods: Austrian and English oak, African and Mexican mahogany, American butternut, and walnut.

Resurveyed November 2009; appearance unchanged.
Bibliographic References:Racine Landmarks Map Guide, 2003. HISTORIC 6TH STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT WALKING TOUR GUIDE, 1990 Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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