Wisconsin Historical Society

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Architecture and History Inventory
500 S BARSTOW ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
Other Name:Federal Building, U.S. Courthouse
Reference Number:29087
Location (Address):500 S BARSTOW ST
County:Eau Claire
City:Eau Claire
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1909
Additions: 1926
Survey Date:1997
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:James Knox Taylor
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: United States Post Office and Courthouse
National Register Listing Date:7/25/1991
State Register Listing Date:11/25/1991
National Register Multiple Property Name:
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.

Architecturally significant as an example of Neo-Classical/Beaux Arts architecture, the Federal Building (formerly the U.S. Post Office Building) is not included in the multiple resource nomination because it is federally owned. The stone and brick structure, a vital component of Eau Claire's central business district, compliments the similarly designed city hall (203 S. Farwell Street, 1P/27) which is being nominated.

Rising three full stories (the lower story constructed of smooth cut stone and the two above, of cream colored brick), the Federal Building is dominated by an engaged portico which is raised above the ground story in the Renaissance manner. The four colossal Corinthian columns rest on square stone bases and support a shallow pavillion which is highlighted at the roofline by a large statuary eagle. Three large windows, contained within round arch frames accented by keystones, are framed by the columns. Wreath-like features fill the area between the arch and the opening and a band of fretwork decorates the top of this central window area. To either side of the pavilion are two-part openings. The larger of the parts - that indicating the second floor - is framed in stone and accented by console-supported sills and a paneled apron. On the ground level the central entrance as well as the flanking windows are rectangular openings marked with keystones. The two-part windows are repeated on the north and south facades and on the west is a complementary addition completed in 1926. Prominent block modillions outline the building's cornice and a low mansard roof covers the structure.

A post office was established in Eau Claire in the early 1850s. The important facility occupied a number of locations within the city's business section until 1909 when the post office building was constructed. Described as a "palatial home", the structure was erected at a cost of $180,000 (A). In 1962 a new post office building was constructed on N. Barstow Street and the 1909 structure vacated. Currently the building contains federal offices and courtrooms.

2016- "The Federal Building/U.S. Courthouse (formerly the U.S. Post Office Building) was constructed in 1909 at a cost of $180,000. The three-story building is a classic example of Neo-Classical/Beaux Arts architecture that is similar in design to Eau Claire City Hall. An addition to the west side of the building was constructed in 1926.

The building was used as a post office until 1962 when a "new" post office was constructed on North Barstow Street. U.S. federal courtrooms and offices have occupied the building since that time."
-"Eau Claire Landmarks: Designated Historic Properties in Eau Claire, Wisconsin", Eau Claire Landmarks Commission, P.O. Box 5148, 2016.
Bibliographic References:(A) History of Eau Claire County, 1914, p. 446. Eau Claire Leader Telegram 10/4/2003. Take a Walk on Main Street: Historic Walking Tours in Wisconsin's Main Street Communities, Wisconsin Main Street Program, 1998.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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