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Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

109 E 8TH ST

Architecture and History Inventory
109 E 8TH ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Nicolet Public School
Other Name:Nicolet Public School
Reference Number:16765
Location (Address):109 E 8TH ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1891
Additions: 1906C. 1960
Survey Date:20052014
Historic Use:elementary, middle, jr.high, or high
Architectural Style:Romanesque Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Phillip Deane
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Nicolet Public School
National Register Listing Date:3/29/1984
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:Multiple Resources of Kaukauna
Additional Information:A 'site file' (Kaukauna Historic Properties) 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 Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History.

"The original 1891 portion of the Nicolet Public School is a two and a half story brick building with a raised foundation, an irregular roofline (once adorned with metal cresting), triple hung windows, and decorative brick corbelling. Designed by Phillip Deane in the Romanesque Revival Style, the school was offically opened on January 1, 1892. A large tower with pyramidal roof, located at the northeastern corner, dominates the composition. Damaged by a storm on August 6, 1906, the openings within the tower have been boarded up. The central core of this building is topped with a hip roof with projecting gables on each facade. A 28' x 32' two story addition to the southeast was built of a matching brick and compative design in 1906. During the 1960's, another addition - a large one story brick and concrete rectangular wing - was erected to the west of the original building. The later addition resulted in interior remodeling and alterations to the door and window openings of the 1891 and 1906 sections.

Designing the Nicolet Public School in 1891, Phillip Deane was an important local architect whose work also included the Heindel Block and Oscar Thilmany's residence in Kaukauna as well as "some of the finest buildings in Madison, Escanaba, Rhinelander, and other places" (A). The school is the only known building of Deane's still standing today in Kaukauna. Despite changes made to the building including the one-story west addition and alterations made to the fenestration, the school retains its primary symbol, the pyramidal tower, which can be seen at many points throughout the City. The building also still conveys the sense of weight and mass so characteristic of Romanesque Revival architecture.

Nicolet School, in a conscious historical reference, was named for Jean Nicolet, believed to be the first European explorer to visit the Kaukauna area in 1634. Nicolet School was the successor of the 1823 Stockbridge mission school, probably the first free school in Wisconsin, and the early southside elementary school which became the first Outagamie County normal school. While earlier southside schools were log cabins or relatively small brick structures, Nicolet School was designed to be imposing as a part of the 1889 mandate to update city boundaries and improve its public facilities.

When by 1958 the school's design was inadequate, Nicolet was not razed but remodeled internally and an addition built to increase its usability. Nicolet School remains as an enduring southside landmark and a link to the late 1800s boom of the City of Kaukauna." Walking Tour Through Old Kaukauna: Two Self-Guided Historic Tours Kaukauna, Wisconsin, City of Kaukauna, 1983.

Surveyed last in 1983 with a map code of 16/10 on a city engineer map.
Bibliographic References:(A) Lion of the Fox Valley, 1891, p. 75, 89. (B) Wisconsin: A Story of Progress, pp. 15-16. (C) The Stockbridge Story, p. 20. (D) Kaukauna 175th Jubilee Album, p. 31. (E) Kaukauna Times, January 1, 1892, August 6, 1909. "Supplemental/Addendum Information to FCC Package, Kaukauna Tower, East 9th Street and Boyd Avenue, Kaukauna, WI 54130." WHS Project #14-0410/OU June 2014. Prepared by Lena Hoffmeyer. Walking Tour Through Old Kaukauna: Two Self-Guided Historic Tours Kaukauna, Wisconsin, City of Kaukauna, 1983.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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