Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

607 ELM ST

Architecture and History Inventory
607 ELM ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:West Bend Post Office
Other Name:U.S. Post Office
Contributing:
Reference Number:14688
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):607 ELM ST
County:Washington
City:West Bend
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1935
Additions:
Survey Date:1991
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Georgian Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Louis A. SimonNeal MelickPeter Rotier
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: West Bend Post Office
National Register Listing Date:10/24/2000 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:
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 historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. ANOTHER MAP CODE IS CITY MAP 39/25. DESCRIPTION: THE BUILDING IS AN EXAMPLE OF GEORGIAN REVIVAL STYLE. THE PLAN IS IRREGULAR WITH THE PUBLIC ENTRANCE/LOBBY ON THE ELM STREET FACE. THE ELEVATION IS ORGANIZED SYMMETRICALLY ABOUT THE ENTRANCE. THE CENTER IS PROJECTED, RAISED AND COVERED WITH A STANDING SEAM METAL HIP ROOF AND WOOD CUPOLA. THE SIDE AND LOWER SECTIONS HAVE FLAT ROOFS. THE BUILDING IS CONSTRUCTED OF RED BRICK WITH LIMESTONE TRIM. THE CORNERS OF THE BUILDING ARE ACCENTED WITH LIMESTONE QUOINS AND THERE IS A DENTICLATED CORNICE, ALSO OF LIMESTONE AT THE HIP ROOF SECTION. THE ENTRY DOORS ARE TRIMMED WITH WOOD. THE TRANSOM PANEL ABOVE IT IS SEMICURCULAR, MATCHING THE HEADS OF THE WINDOWS TO EITHER SIDE OF IT. THE WINDOWS THROUGHOUT ARE ORIGINAL, DOUBLE HUNG, IN TWO DIFFERENT PANE CONFIGURATIONS (21/21 AND 12/12). THEY HAVE BEEN COVERED WITH NEW ALUMINUM STORM WINDOWS. THESE WINDOW OPENINGS HAVE LIMESTONE KEYS IN THEIR CENTER. THE BUILDING CORNERSTONE NOTES: "HENRY MORGEN, JR. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JAMES A. FARLEY, POSTMASTER GENERAL, LOUIS A. SIMON, SUPERVISING ARCHITECT, NEAL A. MELICK, SUPERVISING ENGINEER, 1935." THE ENTRY STAIRS AND HANDICAP RAMP ARE CONCRETE WITH PAINTED METAL RAILINGS. THE INTERIOR HAS THE ORIGINAL TILE FLOOR AND WIANSCOT. THE WALLS AND CEILING ARE OF PLASTER AND ARE ORIGINAL. A NEW ALUMINUM FRAMED VESTIBULE HAS BEEN ADDED. THE BALANCE OF THE WOOD TRIM APPEARS TO BE ORIGINAL. THE BUILDING, WHICH IS IN GOOD CONDITION, IS LOCATED IN THE CITY'S DOWNTOWN BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL AREA. ARCHITECTURAL/ENGINEERING SIGNIFICANCE: THE WEST BEND POST OFFICE HAS THE MOST ELEGANT FACADE OF THE THREE SURVEYED IN THIS GENERAL SUB-STYLE. THE FORMAL NATURE OF THIS ENTRY AND THE LARGE ARCHED WINDOWS FLANKING WITH WOODEN CUPOLA ABOVE THE METAL HIPPED ROOF PROVIDE A STRIKING CENTRAL BLOCK COMPOSITION. THE REMAINDER OF THE BUILDING, INCLUDING THE ADDITION TO THE REAR, ALL MIRROR THE ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES OF THE MAIN BLOCK. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: THIS BUILDING, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY OCCUPIED IN OCTOBER OF 1936, IS THE FIRST FEDERALLY-OWNED POST OFFICE IN WEST BEND. PRIOR TO ITS CONSTRUCTION, POSTAL FUNCTIONS WERE CARRIED OUT AT A SUCCESSION OF LOCATIONS IN THE CITY DEPENDING UPON WHO WAS APPOINTED POSTMASTER. THE FIRST POST OFFICE OPENED IN 1848 UNDER IRA SPENCE. (SEE BIB. REF. B). THIS POST OFFICE APPEARS TO BE ONE OF THOSE CONSTRUCTED DURING THE PEAK PERIOD OF W.P.A. ACTIVITY. IN 1933, 368 NEW POST OFFICES WERE RECOMMENDED ACROSS THE COUNTRY OF WHICH 38 WERE LOCATED IN WISCONSIN. (SEE BIB. REF. C). THE W.P.A. ART PROJECT IS LOCATED ON EAST WALL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE LOBBY IN THE U.S. POST OFFICE. IT IS A MURAL ENTITLED "THE RUAL MAIL CARRIER," PAINTED IN 1937 BY PETER ROTIER.
Bibliographic References:A. DATE OF CONSTRUCTION - BUILDING CORNERSTONE. B. "HISTORY OF WASHINGTON AND OZAUKEE COUNTIES, WISCONSIN," CHICAGO: 1881, P. 396. C. "AMERICA BUILDS: THE RECORD OF THE PWA," PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., 1939, APPENDIX.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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