Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

315 N BRIDGE ST

Architecture and History Inventory
315 N BRIDGE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Federal Building
Other Name:U.S. POST OFFICE - CHIPPEWA FALLS
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:3141
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):315 N BRIDGE ST
County:Chippewa
City:Chippewa Falls
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1908
Additions: 1910 1909
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:JAMES KNOX TAYLOR
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Bridge Street Commercial Historic District
National Register Listing Date:6/24/1994 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/21/1994 12:00:00 AM
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.

Modillion trimmed projecting cornice with balustrade above; brick surface ornamented by quoins and articulated voussoir and keystones above the windows and round arched over lights over the central lower windows; elaborate broken pediment frontispiece with decorative window surround above and double leafed door; side entrance; rear additions. [Date Cnst:-1909].

Costing $90,000, the brick and stone Chippewa Falls Post Office was designed in 1910 (A) in the Neo-Classical styles exhibiting a projecting cornice trimmed by modillions, a balustrated parapet, stone quoins at the end of the building and framing the central entrance bay, the United States Post Office and Federal Building has entrance ornamented by classical frontispiece composed of broken pediments, classical freize and cornice, capped applied pilasters, and a sculpture decorated pediment.

Probably designed by an architect from the surpervising Architects Office of the Treasury Department in the Neo-Classical style, the prevailing fashion produced by the governmental architects from 1895 until 1930, the United States Post Office and Federal Building in Chippewa is an architecturally significant, well-preserved (exterior only) and one of the few extent examples of their work.

DESCRIPTION OF GENERAL AREA:

THE CHIPPEWA FALLS POST OFFICE IS LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF NORTH BRIDGE STREET AND COLUMBIA STREET IN THE HEART OF THE CITY'S CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT. BRIDGE STREET IS THE PRIMARY THOROUGHFARE IN THE ORIGINAL COMMERCIAL AREA OF CHIPPEWA FALLS, AND TO THE EAST OF THE POST OFFICE ARE MANY OF THE CITY'S TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY BRICK COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS.

GENERAL CONDITION OF PROPERTY:

THE CHIPPEWA FALLS POST OFFICE STANDS ON A SPACIOUS, FLAT CORNER LOT AND HAS SMALL PATCHES OF GRASS AND LOW EVERGREEN SHRUBS GROWING IN FRONT OF AND TO THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BUILDING. THERE IS A TINY PAVED PARKING LOT NEXT TO THE SOUTHEAST CORNER, AND AN ALLEY THAT PARALLELS THE EAST WALL. A PAVED PARKING LOT ACCESSSED FROM COLUMBIA STREET SURROUNDS THE MAILING PLATFORM.

SINCE IT WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1910, THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR OF THE POST OFFICE HAVE UNDERGONE SEVERAL CHANGES, ALTHOUGH THE BUILDING RETAINS A HIGH DEGREE OF ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY AND IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. IN 1961, A 7,517 SQUARE FOOT, ONE-STORY CONCRETE AND BRICK VENEER ADDITION WAS BUILT ON THE NORTHEAST CORNER. THIS PROVIDED ADDITIONAL WORKROOM SPACE AND A NEW MAILING PLATFORM. AT THE SAME TIME THE INTERIOR WAS COMPLETELY REMODELED, ALTHOUGH THE ORIGINAL TERRAZZO FLOOR IN THE LOBBY IS INTACT. THE SECOND FLOOR RETAINS ITS ORIGINAL MARBLE FOR THE STAIRCASE AND WAINSCOT, AN ORNATE WROUGHT-IRON BALUSTRADE, AND PANELED WOOD WAINSCOT IN THE HALLWAY.

DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING MATERIAL:

THE FOUNDATION, WALLS, PIERS AND FLOORS OF THIS TWO-STORY BUILDING ARE CONSTRUCTED OF REINFORCED CONCRETE. THE FOUNDATION IS COVERED WITH LIGHT GRAY GRANITE AND THE EXTERIOR WALLS ARE FACED WITH RED BRICK LAID IN FLEMISH BOND. LIMESTONE IS EMPLOYED LIBERALLY AS QUOINS, KEYSTONES, WINDOW DECORATIONS AROUND THE ENTRNCES, AT THE CORNICE, AND FOR THE BALUSTRADED PARAPET. GRANITE CHECK BLOCKS CAPPED BY ORIGINAL WROUGHT IRON LAMPPOSTS FLANK THE MAIN ENTRANCE, WHICH HAS A CLASSICAL FRONTISPIECE COMPOSED OF PILASTERS, A CLASSICAL FRIEZE AND CORNICE, AND A DECORATIVE BROKEN PEDIMENT. THE FLAT ROOF IS COVERED WITH COMPOSITION. THIS POSTAL STATION WAS BUILT BY HERBERT T. HAZELTON, A CONTRACTOR FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. ALTHOUGH THE BUILDING WAS ORIGINALLY OCCUPIED IN JUNE OF 1910, CONSTRUCTION OF IT DID NOT END UNTIL SEPTEMBER OF 1910.

THE FIRST FLOOR PLAN CONSISTS OF A RECTANGULAR PUBLIC LOBBY. THE WORKROOM IS ESSENTIALLY AN OPEN RECTANGULAR SPACE BEHIND THE LOBBY WITH THE POSTMASTER'S AND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER'S OFFICE ALONG THE NORTHWEST WALL, AND THE FORMER "MONEY ORDER & REGISTRY" OFFICE, TWO VAULTS, AND THE WOMEN'S BATHROOM ALONG THE SOUTHEAST WALL. THE SECOND FLOOR CONSISTS OF THREE OFFICES, A VAULT, THREE STORAGE ROOMS, AND A BATHROOM.

THE BASEMENT FLOOR PLAN CONSISTS OF THE FORMER COAL ROOM, CELLAR ROOM, ENGINEER'S ROOM, STORE ROOM, SWING ROOM, AND CARRIER'S BATHROOM.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE:

THE CHIPPEWA FALLS POST OFFICE AND FEDERAL BUILDING IS ARCHITECTRALLY SIGNIFICANT AS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF PERIOD DESIGN, COMBINING ELEMENTS OF SECOND RENAISSANCE REIVAL AND GEORGIAN REVIVAL STYLES POPULAR IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY. LIKE OTHER CONTEMPORARY FACILITIES, THE CHIPPEWA FALLS BUILDING BLENDS THESE STYLES AS CHARACTERIZED BY THE CENTRAL PAVILION WITH SEGMENTAL FRONTISPIECE, THE BALUSTRADED PARAPET, AND DECORATIVE USE OF STONE. THESE FEATURES ARE CLEARLY DISPLAYED BECAUSE THE BUILIDNG HAS A HIGH DEGREE OF ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

CONSTRUCTED IN 1909-1910, THE CHIPPEWA FALLS POST OFFICE IS HISTORICALLY SIGNFIICANT BECAUSE IT CONTRIBUTES TO A GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE COMMUNITY'S HISTORY AS IT RELATES TO THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE DURING THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY.
Bibliographic References:(A) Chippewa County Wisconsin Past and Present, vol. I (Chicago, 1913), p. 260. Take a Walk on Main Street: Historic Walking Tours in Wisconsin's Main Street Communities, Wisconsin Main Street Program, 1998.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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