Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

211 S DICKASON BLVD

Architecture and History Inventory
211 S DICKASON BLVD | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Columbus Post Office
Other Name:U.S. Post Office
Contributing:
Reference Number:3463
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):211 S DICKASON BLVD
County:Columbia
City:Columbus
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1938
Additions:
Survey Date:1996
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Art Moderne
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:LOUIS A. SIMON
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Columbus 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 State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

The letters "PO" preceed each code (12/13-24) given in the Photo Codes.

DESCRIPTION:

The building is an example of the Art Moderne style. The plan is rectangular with the public entrance/lobby on the Dickason Boulevard face. There has been an addition of a loading dock on the rear of the building. The elevation is organized symmetrically about the entry doors. The building is built of tan brick with limestone trim on a granite base. The roof has a flat shape. There is a wide limestone fascia that extends around the perimeter of the building and is engraved with its' name. There is an iron grille with an eagle in front of the transom panel over the entry door. The windows are original. The entry stairs are granite with limestone sides. The original pole lamps remain on either side of the stair. The cornerstone notes: "Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, James A. Farley, Postmaster General, Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect, Neal A. Melick, Supervising Engineer, 1938."

The interior has the original terrazzo floor and marble wainscot. The walls and ceiling are of plaster. The wood trim and vestibule are also original. There is a mural on one wall of the lobby. The post office, which is in good condition, is located on a seondary street on the fringe of the business/commercial district. The Postal Station is adjacent to a residential area.

ARCHITECTURAL/ENGINEERING SIGNIFICANCE:

This Post Office is identical to the one in Mayville, however, exhibits slightly more integrity than that one because the Columbus windows are still original.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

This building is the first federally-owned Post Office in Columbus. Prior to the construction of this building, postal services were conducted in various locations selected by a series of local postmaters. Postal service in Columbus dates from 1845 and the first postmaster was H. A. Whitney. (See Bib. Ref. B).

This Post Office was one of several constructed in Wisconsin by the federal Public Works Administration in the 1930s. (See Bib. Ref. C). Fine Art Moderne style-influenced Neo-Classical post office building designed by the architectural staff of the U.S. Treasury department, of which Louis Simon was the head. The building was built in 1938 and occupied in 1939 and it is highly intact and contains an important mural by Arnold Branch celebrating the founding of Columbus, which was dedicated in 1940.

The building was one of 1,861 post offices built during the Roosevelt administration.

Inside, the mural painted by Arnold Blanch of New York during the Great Depression, depicts persons of the typical community of Columbus during 1936: Farming, the first log cabin settlement, and basic grains of the Midwest.
Bibliographic References:A. DATE OF CONSTRUCTION: BUILDING CORNERSTONE. B. JONES, J.E., "A HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY, WISCONSIN," VOL. I, CHICAGO, 1914. C. "AMERICA BUILDS: THE RECORD OF THE PWA," PUBLIC WORKS ADMINSTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., 1939, APPENDIX. D. COLUMBUS HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE TOURS, COLUMBUS HISTORIC LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION, 1994. Columbus Historic Landmarks and Preservation Commission site files. Columbus Journal-Republican: July 12, 1940, p. 2 (illustrated). Columbus History and Architecture Tours, 2009.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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