Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

235 S MAIN ST

Architecture and History Inventory
235 S MAIN ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Shawano Post office
Other Name:UNITED STATES POST OFFICE
Contributing:
Reference Number:22260
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):235 S MAIN ST
County:Shawano
City:Shawano
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1938
Additions:
Survey Date:2000
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Art Deco
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:LOUIS A. SIMONNEAL A MEUCKEUGENE HIGGINS
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Shawano 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. THE P IN THE PHOTO CODES IS SHORT FOR PO.

THE BUILDING IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE COMMERCIAL VERNACULAR FORM WITH ART MODERNE DETAILS. THE PLAN IS RECTANGULAR WITH THE PUBLIC ENTRANCE/LOBBY ON THE MAIN STREET FACE. THE ELEVATION IS ORGANIZED SYMMETRICALLY ABOUT THE ENTRY DOORS. THE BUILDING IS CONSTRUCTED OF RED BRICK WITH SANDSTONE TRIM. THE FOUNDATION IS ALSO MADE OF BRICK. THE WINDOWS ON THE FRONT ELEVATION ARE SET IN RECESSED PANELS WITH SANDSTONE TRIM. THERE ARE SANDSTONE RELIEF PANELS OVER THE ENTRY DOOR AND WINDOWS SHOWING A TRAIN, BOAT AND A PLANE. THE WINDOWS ARE A NATURAL FINISH ALUMINUM AND ARE NOT ORIGINAL. THE ENTRY STAIRS ARE GRANITE WITH SANDSTONE SIDES. THIS STRUCTURE IS IN GOOD CONDITION. THE CORNERSTONE NOTES: "HENRY MORGENTHAU, JR., SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JAMES A. FARLEY, POSTMASTER GENERAL, LOUIS A. FARLEY, POSTMASTER GENERAL, LOUIS A. SIMON, SUPERVISING ARCHITECT, NEAL A. MELICK, SUPERVISING ENGINEER, 1937."

THE INTERIOR HAS THE ORIGINAL TILE FLOOR AND WAINSCOT. THE WALLS AND CEILING ARE OF PLASTER. THE ORIGINAL WOOD TRIM AND VESTIBULE REMAIN. THERE IS A MURAL ON ONE WALL OF THE LOBBY SIGNED "EUGENE HIGGINS, 1939."

ARCHITECTURAL/ENGINEERING SIGNIFICANCE:

THE DESIGN OF THE SHAWNO POST OFFICE IS SIMILAR TO THOSE IN KEWAUNEE AND PRAIRIE DU CHIEN. THE WINDOWS IN ALL THREE HAVE BEEN REPLACED, BUT THE REPLACMENT IN SHAWNO IS LEAST FAITHFUL TO THE ORIGINAL, THEREBY AFFECTING ITS INTEGRITY. THE LOBBY SPACE HAS ALSO BEEN SOMEWHAT ALTERED. THIS POST OFFICE APPEARS TO MEET THE CRITERIA OF ELIGIBILITY FOR LISTING IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF ITS INTERIOR ARTWORK.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

THIS BUILDING, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY OCCUPIED IN JUNE OF 1938, IS THE FIRST FEDERALLY-OWNED POST OFFICE IN SHAWANO. PRIOR TO CONSTRUCTION OF THIS BUILDING, POSTAL SERVICES WERE CONDUCTED IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS SELCETED BY A SERIES OF LOCAL POSTMASTERS.

THIS POST OFFICE WAS ONE OF SEVERAL CONSTRUCTED IN WISCONSIN BY THE FEDERAL PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION IN THE 1930'S. (SEE BIB. REF. B). THERE IS A MURAL IN THE LOBBY OF THE BUILDING PAINTED BY EUGENE HIGGINS AND ENTITLED "EARLY SETTLERS." (SEE BIB. REF. C).

THE WPA MURAL IS 4 X 12.5 FEET. STONE ATTIC COURSE AND PARAPET COPING, WINDOW AND DOOR RECESSES W/ BRICK CORBELLING, TRANSOMED DOOR.
Bibliographic References:A. DATE OF CONSTRUCTION - BUILDING CORNERSTONE. B. "AMERICA BUILDS: THE RECORD OF THE PWA," PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., 1939, ARCHIVES. C. MARLING, KARAL ANN, "WALL-TO-WALL AMERICA: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF POST OFFICE MURALS IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION," MINNEAPOLIS, 1982, P. 135. Take a Walk on Main Street: Historic Walking Tours in Wisconsin's Main Street Communities, Wisconsin Main Street Program, 1998. Shawano County Journal: June 2, 1938, p. 1 (illustrated).
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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