Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

120 FERRY ST

Architecture and History Inventory
120 FERRY ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:LEVI MERRILL HOUSE
Other Name:Jeffrey L. Riebe
Contributing:
Reference Number:16475
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):120 FERRY ST
County:Eau Claire
City:Eau Claire
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1873
Additions:
Survey Date:1997
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:High Victorian Gothic
Structural System:Balloon Frame
Wall Material:Clapboard
Architect:
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Merrill, Levi, House
National Register Listing Date:6/20/1985 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:Multiple Resources of Eau Claire
NOTES
Additional Information:Rising one and a half stories from a stone foundation, the Merrill house is sided with narrow clapboards and is rectangular in plan. The ecclectically detailed residence is identified by pointed, picket fence-like bargeboards which trim the edges of the gable roof. This detail is underscored by an unadorned frieze. Heavy engaged columns, which like the freize contrast with the delicately ornamental bargeboards, mark the corners of the main facade and are repeated at the main entrance where they flank the doorway. Next to the entrance (the small entrance porch supported by wooden posts appears to be a modification) on the first floor is a polygonal bay sheltered by a bracketed roof. Above the bay are two narrow side-by-side, roundheaded windows plainly framed but highlighted by keystones. A similar, though small window, is located above the entry. The south elevation contains another bay window while the north elevation features two rectangular openings with prominent window heads.

2016- "Originally an upright and wing house, this dwelling combines both Classical and Gothic elements in a picturesque composition. The original owner, Levi Merrill, was a noted stone mason who had his quarry at Mt. Washington, just west of this site. He lived in Eau Claire as early as 1867, when he cut the stone pedestal for a sundial which once stood at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Water Street.

This is the major remaining period structure in Shawtown, once a lumber company town located between Half Moon Lake and the Chippewa River. Although nothing remains of the Shaw mansion, stable, boarding houses or lumber mill, the Sanford Fire Insurance Atlas of 1888 depicts in detail the spatial arrrangement of the original town. It extended from just east of Carson Park Drive westward to beyond Minnesota Street. Daniel Shaw's mansion was located on the riverbank just west of Michigan Street."
-"Eau Claire Landmarks: Designated Historic Properties in Eau Claire, Wisconsin", Eau Claire Landmarks Commission, P.O. Box 5148, 2016.

The walk leading to the house is stone (large stone blocks) as are two very low piers (they may have been a portion of a fence) and part of the entrance porch. These may be remnants of the work of the original owner, a stone mason. His quarry was just west of this site at Mt. Washington.

Located in Shawtown, a section of Eau Claire which during the lumber era was dominated by the presence of the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company, the Levi Merrill house is a unique and significant addition to the city's inventory of residential architecture. The dwelling, essentially a simple vernacular structure, combines both Classical and Gothic elements in an unusual and strikingly picturesque composition.

Levi Merrill, the original owner of this residence, was a noted stone mason. Merrill was living in Eau Claire as early as 1867 for he cut the stone pedestal for a sundial that was erected on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Water Street in that year. A 1927 newspaper article recalling the construction of the Sundial noted that "Mr. Merrill was a fine stone cutter" (B).

The city directories, which for the City of Eau Claire begin in 1880, recorded Merrill as a stone mason (1880), a mason for the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company (1894), and the sexton at Lake View Cemetery (1896). In 1898 his widow, Mercy Merrill, was listed at the address (C).

2016- "Originally an upright and wing house, this dwelling combines both Classical and Gothic elements in a picturesque composition. The original owner, Levi Merrill, was a noted stone mason who had his quarry at Mt. Washington, just west of this site. He lived in Eau Claire as early as 1867, when he cut the stone pedestal for a sundial which once stood at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Water Street.

This is the major remaining period structure in Shawtown, once a lumber company town located between Half Moon Lake and Chippewa River. Although nothing remains of the Shaw mansion, stable, boarding houses or lumber mill the Sanford Fire Insurance Atlas of 1888 depicts in detail the spatial arrangement of the original town. It extende from just east of Carson Park Drive westward to beyond Minnesota Street. Daniel Shaw's mansion was located on the riverbank just west of Michigan Street."
-"Eau Claire Landmarks: Designated Historic Properties in Eau Claire, Wisconsin", Eau Claire Landmarks Commission, P.O. Box 5148, 2016.
Bibliographic References:(A) Tax Assessment Rolls - UW-EAU Claire Area Research Center. (B) Eau Claire Leader, February 22, 1927, p. 5 (C) 1880-1900 Eau Claire City Directories. Eau Claire Landmarks booklet published by the Landmarks Commission in 2002.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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