Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

430 E 2ND ST

Architecture and History Inventory
430 E 2ND ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Merrill Post Office
Other Name:UNITED STATES POST OFFICE
Contributing:
Reference Number:21760
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):430 E 2ND ST
County:Lincoln
City:Merrill
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1915
Additions:
Survey Date:1991
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:JAMES WETMORE (ACTING SUPERVISING ARCHITECT)
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Merrill 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 Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

ANOTHER MAP CODE FOR THIS STRUCTURE IS PO-C. THE PHOTO CODES, 20/1-19, ARE PREFIXED BY THE LETTERS "PO."

SLIGHTLY PROJECTING PEDIMENTED FRONT PAVILION. MOULDED AND DENTILLED CORNICE TOPPED BY PLAIN BRICK PARAPET. IONIC WALL PILASTERS. CARVED STONE SPANDREL PANELS. BLIND ROUND ARCH STONE RECESSES FLANK TRANSOMED DOOR. STORY REAR WING W/ ROUND ARCH AND ROUND WINDOWS.

THIS BUILDING IS AN EXAMPLE OF CLASSICAL/GEORGIAN REVIVAL STYLE. THE PLAN IS RECTANGULAR WITH THE PUBLIC ENTRY AND LOBBY ON THE SECOND STREET FACE. THE ELEVATION IS ORGANIZED SYMMETRICALLY ABOUT THE ENTRY WHICH IS PULLED OUT FROM THE FACE OF THE BUILDING FOR ITS HEIGHT. THIS ELEMENT IS FURTHER HIGHLIGHTED BY BRICK PIERS WITH LIMESTONE BASE AND CAPITALS SUPPORTING A LIMESTONE PEDIMENT. STATUARY NICHES OF LIMESTONE FLANK THE ENTRANCE AT A SIZE EQUAL TO THE TWO FIRST FLOOR FRONT WINDOWS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE CENTRAL PAVILION. THERE HAS BEEN AN ADDITION OF A LOADING DOCK FACILITY TO THE REAR OF THE BUILDING. THIS ADDITION IS BUILT OF SIMILAR MATERIALS AND DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE BUILDING'S INTEGRITY. THE BUILDING TRIM INCLUDING WINDOW SILLS, CARVED INSET PANELS, AND PROJECTING CORNICE WITH DENTILS ARE OF LIMESTONE FOUNDATION. THE BUILDING TRIM INCLUDING WINDOW SILLS, CARVED INSET PANELS, AND PROJECTING CORNICE WITH DENTILS OF LIMESTONE. THE MAIN ENTRY DOOR IS FRAMED WITH CARVED LIMESTONE AND THERE ARE LIMESTONE NICHES TO EITHER SIDE OF THE DOOR. THE FIRST LEVEL WINDOWS ARE DOUBLE HUNG WITH A 12 OVER 12 PANE CONFIGURATION AND APPEAR TO BE ORIGINAL. THE SECOND LEVEL WINDOWS, ALSO ORIGINAL, ARE CASEMENT TYPE WINDOWS. THE WINDOWS TOWARD THE REAR OF THE BUILDING ON THE SIDE ELEVATIONS HAVE ARCHED HEADS AND SMALLER ROUND WINDOWS ABOVE THEM. THERE ARE FLORAL RELIEF PANELS ON EACH OF THE FIRST FLOOR WINDOWS IN THE ORIGINAL PORTION OF THE BUILDING. THE STEPS LEADING TO THE ENTRANCE ARE GRANITE. THE CORNERSTONE NOTES: "WILLIAM C. MCADOO, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JAMES A. WETMORE, ACTING SUPERVISING ARCHITECT, 1915."

THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING HAS THE ORIGINAL TILE FLOOR AND MARBLE WAINSCOT. THE WALLS ARE PLASTER WITH RECESSED SURFACES AND SOME DECORATING TRIM OF PLASTER. THERE IS A COFFERED PLASTER CEILING WITH AN OCTAGONAL SKYLIGHT. THE DOOR TRIM IS MARBLE. THE BUILDING, WHICH IS IN GOOD CONDITION, IS LOCATED IN THE DOWNTOWN BUSINESS/COMMERCIAL DISTRICT.

ARCHITECTURAL/ENGINEERING SIGNIFICANCE:

THE ORIGINAL COMPONENTS OF THE BUILDING ARE LARGELY INTACT AND THE ADDITION TO THE REAR ECHOES THE MATERIALS OF THE ORIGINAL PORTION. NOTEWORTHY ELEMENTS INCLUDE THE RELIEF PANELS ON THE FACADES AND LEADED SKYLIGHT IN THE LOBBY. THE TWO STORY MASS OF THE BUILDING ALSO MAKES IT NOTEWORTHY AS A LOCALLY PROMINENT STRUCTURE.

NO OTHER PUBLIC BUILDINGS IN MERRILL ARE OF THIS STYLE, AND FEW PRIVATE BUILDINGS IN MERRILL ARE OF THIS STYLE.

HISTORIC BACKGROUND:

THE MERRILL POST OFFICE WAS BUILT IN 1915 BY THE U.S. POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, A FORE RUNNER OF THE PRESENT U.S. POSTAL SERVICE. IT WAS THE FIRST FEDERALLY OWNED POST OFFICE IN MERRILL, HAVING ORIGINALLY BEEN OCCUPIED IN JUNE OF 1917. PRIOR TO THAT TIME, POSTMASTERS HOUSED THE POST OFFICE AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS, EITHER IN RENTED SPACE OR SPACE OWNED BY THE POSTMASTER. THE FIRST POST OFFICE IN MERRILL WAS LOCATED IN THE JENNY HOTEL OWNED BY CYRUS STOWBRIDGE, THE FIRST POSTMASTER. PRIOR TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS BUILDING, THE POST OFFICE RENTED SPACE IN THE MASONIC TEMPLE. (SEE BIB. REF. B).

ON JUNE 6, 1881 THE NAME OF THE POST OFFICE CHANGED FROM JENNY TO MERRILL. THE LOCATION OF THE POST OFFICE ALSO CHANGED SEVERAL TIMES BETWEEN 1859 AND 1916, WHEN THE PRESENT POST OFFICE WAS BUILT AT 430 E. SECOND STREET. PRIOR TO 1897 THE OFFICE WAS NEAR THE 900 BLOCK OF E. MAIN STREET, SPECIFICALLY ON THE BERARD BLOCK (NOT EXTANT) LOCATION IN 1924 (MAIN, NORTHEAST CORNER MILL) NEAR THE RAILROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY. FROM 1893 TO 1896 THE POST OFFICE WAS LOCATED 906 E. MAIN STREET (NOT EXTANT). WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RURAL DELIVERY THAT YEAR, POSTMASTER C.N. JOHNSON INITIATED THE IDEA OF NUMBERING RURAL MAIL BOXES FOR FASTER SERVICE. HE SUBMITTED HIS IDEA TO THE NATIONAL OFFICE, WHO ACCEPTED AND IMPLEMENTED THE INNOVATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN 1900 THE POST OFFICE WAS AT 825 EAST MAIN STREET (NOT EXTANT), AND IT MOVED TO THE MASONIC TEMPLE BUILDING AT 916 EAST MAIN STREET (LI 32/07) BY 1905, AND REMAINED THERE UNTIL 1917 WHEN THE NEW POST OFFICE BUILDING WAS COMPLETED.

THE NEW BRICK MERRILL POST OFFICE BUILDING CONTAINED STEAM HEAT AND ELECTRIC LIGHTS AND COST $75,000. BY 1924 THE POST OFFICE HAD A CHIEF AND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER, SEVEN CASHIERS, FOUR CLERKS, AND EIGHT ROUTES THAT EXPANDED TWENTY-FIVE MILES INTO THE COMMUNITY AND COUNTRYSIDE. THE SAME BUILDING CONTINUES TO SERVE AS A COMMUNICATION HUB FOR MERRILL RESIDENTS TODAY.
Bibliographic References:A. Date of construction - Building cornerstone. B. Jones, George and Norman McVean. "History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties, Wisconsin," Minneapolis, 1924, p. 41. C. Merrill Centennial 1883-1983. D. Merrill City Directories, 1893 to 1945, located at T.B. Scott Free Library, Merrill, WI. E. Date of Construction - Building cornerstone. Cornice.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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