Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
18-28 S BARSTOW ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Kneer House/Hotel
Other Name:Eau Claire Children's Theater/Christian Science Reading Room
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:40900
Location (Address):18-28 S BARSTOW ST
County:Eau Claire
City:Eau Claire
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1865
Additions:C. 1881
Survey Date:2006
Historic Use:retail building
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:Masonry
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:2014
National/State Register Listing Name: Confluence Commercial Historic District
National Register Listing Date:10/3/2007 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/19/2007 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:The Kneer House had its beginning in 1865 when Mathias Kneer erected a brick building next to his frame structure which had been constructed in c. 1857 and was known as the Chippewa House. Kneer operated a grocery store in this brick building which today forms the most southern portion of the building (Note: the last part of this statement is somewhat of an assumption although the 1883 Sanborn-Perris map shows the grocery occupying the corner location).

In 1881 Kneer replaced the frame structure with a brick structure (actually a brick veneered structure, according to the 1883 Sanborn map) and transformed the entire building (old and new portions) into a hotel which he named the Kneer House (B).

Located on S. Barstow Street just one block south of the Eau Claire River, the former Kneer House is a long two story brick structure characterized by brickwork patterns at the cornice line and segmental arch bays with prominent stone window hoods. On the ground floor the original storefront areas have been totally modified.

Mathias Kneer was born in Wurtenberg, Germany, in 1831. He first located in Eau Claire in 1856 and soon after became involved in the hotel business, establishing the Kneer House in 1865. The Kneer House was described as "one of the popular hostelries of Eau Claire" (B). It contained twenty rooms and a dining room. Mr. Kneer, who died in 1895, was also a trustee of the Village Board, served on the county board, and as alderman of the second ward (C). Following Kneer's death, Fred Raddatz, who married Kneer's daughter, became the hotel's proprietor (D).
Bibliographic References:(A) 1883 Sanborn-Perris Map. (B) History of Eau Claire County, 1914, p. 543-544. (C) History of Eau Claire County, 1914, p. 761. (D) History of Eau Claire County, 1914, p. 839. (E) Another map code for this building is EC 1P/18, with a corresponding Survey map name of Plat Map #8.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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