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Architecture and History Inventory
207 W COOK ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Ram Hotel
Other Name:Ram Hotel
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:45303
Location (Address):207 W COOK ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1927
Survey Date:1992
Historic Use:hotel/motel
Architectural Style:Commercial Vernacular
Structural System:Brick
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:C.J. Keller and Son
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Portage Retail Historic District
National Register Listing Date:4/27/1995
State Register Listing Date:10/24/1994
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-Public History. About 1865, W.W. Corning probably added a three story, frame building to the existing hotel erected in 1855 as the Ellsworth House. The Corning House became of the more elegant hotels in Portage. Noted citizens of Portage such as W.D. Fox operated the hotel from 1876 to 1880 when he sold it to A.E. Smith. Between 1884 and 1896, Edgar C. Fosgate ran the Corning House, and Russell C. Fosgate followed him as proprietor. After burning in 1901, it was rebuilt and used for retail businesses. After the Corning H ouse was razed in 1926, The Raulf Realty Company, a construction company in Milwaukee, built the Raulf Hotel or Ram Hotel following the design by C.J. Keller and Son, Architects in 1928 (207 W. Cook, 31/21). The Raulf contains locations for eight retail businesses and additional office space on its first floor and a banquet room, meeting rooms, tavern, dining room, and bowling alley int he basement. The remaining four stories contain 100 hotel rooms and seven apartments and offices (Butterfield 1880: 589, 898, 928; Portage Daily Register 12/23/1889, 7/1/1950; Portage Public Library [Mrs. Arthur Swanson, 1952]; Portage Daily Register 7/2/52: 27; Democrat 7/30/97; Sanborn-Perris Map Co. 1885; 1889; 1894; 1901; 1910; 1918; 1929; Columbia Co. Treasurer 1863- [1926-30]; Hawes 1865; R.L. Polk & Co. & Co. 1884-85; 1895-96; 1897-980.

Businesses located on the first floor of the hotel. Established by 1915, the Ingle Funeral Home located at 238 W. Cook, now gone, by 1929. The business placed its green houses which are no longer extant at 807 W. Conant in the same period. By 1938, the funeral parlor located in the Raulf Hotel (207 W. Cook, 31/22) (Columbia County Historical Society 1982; Register-Democrat 10/5/40). Ray Thalacker opened his barber shop in the Raulf Hotel (207 W. Cook 31/22) in 1927 and remained there until 1959 when he moved to 218 W. Cook (57/5) (Columbia County Historical Society 1982). In 1901, the Elks established their club room in the Corning House, the site of the Raulf Hotel (207 W. Cook, 31/22). By 1917, the Elks had located in t he hall on the second floor of 135 W. Cook (56/25) (Register-Democrat 8/28/1930; Colmbia Co. Treasurer 1863- [1923]; Jones 1914 [1]: 223; Portage Daily Register 7/2/1952; Smith-Baumann Directory Co. 1929: 27). Composed primarily of city merchants, the Portage Kiwanis formed in 1921 as a service organization which frequently championed Portage's business interests. It promoted the city to the growing number of tourists, established several campsites utilized primarily by tourists, improved the Silver Lake Beach area, and strategically placed signs directing tourists to locations of interest. As a service organization, the Kiwanis provided scholarships and supported youth organizations and projects. The organization established its office at the Raulf Hotel (207 W. Cook, 31/22). Seventy-five businessmen of Portage formed the Chamber of Commerce in 1929. Established at the onset of the Depression, the Cahmber's main goals included the attraction of new industries to the city, the expansion of the city's retail services, and the support of civic improvements. Except for a brief interval, the organization also located its office in the Raulf Hotel (Murtagh 1986; Register-Democrat 11/16/1922; 8/31/1923; 6/13/1929; 6/25/1929; 1/22/1940; Portage Public Schools 1948-51 [1951] Portage, City of 1930-41 [1932-33: 37]; Columbia County Historical Society 1982).
Bibliographic References:Sanborn-Perris Map Co. 1929: Raulf Hotel with eight store areas on the first floor. 1918: Corning House (different building) with pool and billiards hall 1910: same including Story's Business College, Elks' Hall, and movie picture 1901: Corning House: west part burned 3/31/01 1889, 1885: Corning House Columbia Co. Treasurer 1863- 1926-1930: Raulf Hotel Co. 1920-25: Watermain and Gill Valuation indicates the hotel was erected in 1927. Directories: 1955: (207) Raulf Hotel owned by John McCarthy with 14 businesses and the Chamber of Commerce (Johnson Printing Co.) 1948, 1937: (207) Hotel Raulf (Commonwealth Telephone Co.) 1929: Hotel Raulf building (Smith and Baumann) 1927-28: no Hotel Raulf noted (R.L. Polk & Co) Corning House is not listed in R.L. Polk & Co. to 1910 or Voshardt 1910, etc. until 1897-98 (R.L. Polk & Co.): Corning House, Russell C. Falconer, Propr. 1895-96, 1893-94: Corning House, Edgar C. Fosgate (R.L. Polk & Co) 1890: Corning House, C. Fosgate & Sons (Wright) 1886: Fosgate, E.G. Prop. Corning House (Rockwood and Goodell 1885-86:i same (Mahen and Eckstein) 1884-85: same (R.L. Polk & Co.) 1873, 1870: not listed 1865: Ellsworth House, H. Sexton, cor. of Wisconsin and Cook (Hawes)
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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