204 E GRAND AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
204 E GRAND AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Reference Number:41331
Location (Address):204 E GRAND AVE
County:Eau Claire
City:Eau Claire
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1930
Additions: 1960 1997
Survey Date:199720152019
Historic Use:large office building
Architectural Style:Late Gothic Revival
Structural System:Masonry
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name:Not listed
National Register Listing Date:
State Register Listing Date:
Additional Information:Constructed in 1930, the Scandinavian American Fraternity Building is a prominent feature of Eau Claire's central business district. Rising six stories, the structure features dressed stone walls on the ground level and first floor and brick walls above. Stone is once again used to accent the crenelated parapet. The main entrance (on E. Grand Avenue) is framed by a two story Tudor arch and four rectangular openings. Above this area the windows are paired and arranged in three groups which are separated by piers. On the west elevation the windows are grouped in twos and threes. (Note: All of the windows are modern.) Of special interest are the stone faces in the sculpture block beneath the roofline.

"The Scandinavian American Fraternity was organized as the Norden Lodge in 1889 as a branch of the Scandinavian Workingmen's Association in Chicago. They seceded from the Chicago order in 1893 and by 1918 had 700 members and a Ladies Auxiliary of 400 members" (B).

The association changed their name to the Scandinavian American Fraternity in 1916 and in 1930 erected the six story office building.

Until 1931, the structure housed the merged State Bank of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire National Bank, a firm which fell victim to the economic difficulties of the Depression era. The American National Bank and Trust Company, organized in October, 1932, by Richard Lewis, Sr., E.M. Peterson, Ole Harstad, and W.A. Kaiser, replaced the Eau Claire concern (C).

1997-Sided and altered windows.


The Scandinavian American Fraternity Building a prominent feature of downtown Eau Claire. The six-story building is clad with dressed stone on the first and second floors and brick above. The building is organized into three bays on the south and north elevations and six bays on the west, each bay separated by brick pilasters. Each bay on the south and north façades feature pairs of two windows. The central four bays on the west façade each feature three windows with one or two window in each end bay. Almost all of the building’s windows were replaced with fixed metal windows in 1997, including two-story sections of vision and spandrel glass curtain wall systems at the first and second floor levels comprising the entirety of three bays on the west façade. A non-historic projecting, enclosed, stucco-clad staircase addition is suspended from the exterior of the north end of the west façade spanning between the top two floors. Panels of basketweave brickwork separate windows between each floor level, with carved stone accent panels instead separating the windows between the upper two floors. The main entrance located in the center bay on the south façade is housed within a recessed two-story Tudor arch flanked on each side by simple stone pilasters, the top of which feature carved relief sculptures of human faces. An entrance in the northernmost bay on the west façade is located in a recessed rectangular opening with similar pilasters. The entire building is crowned with a brick and stone crenelated parapet above an elaborate stone cornice with carved relief sculptures at the top of each pilaster.

The Scandinavian American Fraternity first organized in 1889 as the Norden Lodge branch of the Scandinavian Workingman’s Association in Chicago. The organization seceded from the Chicago organization in 1893 and changed its name to the Scandinavian American Fraternity in 1916. By 1918, the Fraternity grew to 700 members with a 400-member Ladies Auxiliary. The organization constructed the 6-story building in 1930. During its first year, the building housed the State Bank of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire National Bank, until they closed due to the economic difficulties of the Great Depression in 1931. These institutions were succeeded by the American National Bank and Trust Company, organized in 1932 by Richard Lewis Sr., E.M. Peterson, Ole Harstad, and W.A. Kaiser. It is unknown at what time the Fraternity ended its use of the building. In recent years, the building was occupied by Wells Fargo and various office tenants until early 2016.

The interior of the builing has been heavily altered through the years with entire or partial new office configurations on each story. The historic interior finishes have been almost universally replaced. Remaining historic interior elements are limited to a small number of original doors and their associated transom windows and trim, original terrazzo flooring in at least one toilet room, the original bank vault, and built-in mail chute system.
Bibliographic References:(A) Building inscription. (B) Barland, L. 1965. The Rivers Flow On, p. 345. (C) Our Story, 1776-1976, p. 140-141. (D) Leader-Telegram, November 7, 1981. (E) Another map code for this building is EC 1P/5 and its corresponding Survey map name is Plat Map #8.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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