Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

770 MAIN ST

Architecture and History Inventory
770 MAIN ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Metropolitan Block
Other Name:LANDMARK CENTER
Contributing:
Reference Number:50997
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):770 MAIN ST
County:Walworth
City:Lake Geneva
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1874
Additions: 1986
Survey Date:1985
Historic Use:retail building
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Cream Brick
Architect:WLB Jenney
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Metropolitan Block
National Register Listing Date:4/19/1990 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:2/20/1990 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:Prominent Chicago architect William Jenney designed the Metropolitan Block with understated elegance. Jenney is best known for his innovative structural systems for tall buildings; indeed, some call him the "father of the American skyscraper." However, the Metropolitan Block predates that work and employs the then-common masonry load-bearing wall. He designed the building in a sophisticated variation on the Italianate theme, using cream brick. By wrapping the building in belt courses, Jenney divided it horizontally into four distinctive segments. Above the altered storefront level, windows are set into segmental-arched openings and linked together by brick string courses composed of dog-toothed soldiers. A wide, elaborate cornice at the third floor incorporates multiple layers of ornamental brickwork. The extremely tall windows on the second story flood the meeting hall inside with sunlight. Their height reflects Jenney's interest in maximizing natural lighting, which eventually led to his development of skeletal framing methods.
Bibliographic References:GENEVA LAKE HERALD 10/31/1874. JANESVILLE GAZETTE 1/24/1995. Interview with Alice Hackett, May 1985. Lundahl, Eva Seymour, "Main Street, Lake Geneva" 1976, p.29. A Walking Tour of Olde Lake Geneva Towne by the Lake Geneva Plaque and Walking Tour Commission, Spring 1993. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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