Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

137-139-141 E 2ND ST

Architecture and History Inventory
137-139-141 E 2ND ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Lindauer and Rupert Block
Other Name:Elks Club
Reference Number:51597
Location (Address):137-139-141 E 2ND ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1895
Additions: 1933
Survey Date:1983
Historic Use:retail building
Architectural Style:Romanesque Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Lindauer and Rupert Block
National Register Listing Date:3/29/1984 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:Multiple Resources of Kaukauna
Additional Information:A 'site file' (Kaukauna Historic Properties) 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.

Presently occupied by the B.P.O.E. #962 Elk's Club, this two and a half story building (measuring 90' x 50') exemplifies Romanesque architecture. It retains many of its original features including its storefront, pedimented gable with four conical turrets (two turret "caps" have been removed) and pinnacle crowning the top of the building. Stone belt courses define the three levels while pilasters balance the composition by creating three vertical divisions. A row of transom lights top the second floor double hung windows. On the third level, the semi-circular opening is partially obscured by a ventilation board.

The building was constructed by Luther Lindauer in 1895. Lindauer, an enterprising gentleman who served as Mayor of Kaukauna from 1890-1893, concomitantly owned the Kaukauna Stone Company and the Kaukauna Brick Yard. Materials from these places were used to construct the building.

Soon the building will be restored and converted into a mini-shopping mall. Restoration will follow the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects. Final plans and specification have been approved by the Preservation Division of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, March, 1983. There will be no extensive changes made to the exterior of the building. The brick caps will be replaced and new thermal window panes will be used to conserve energy. Signage will be of a compatible design and scale with the building and will not project into the street. Most of the changes will be made to the interior. At present, the building is divided into two wings (east and west) with separate entrances. There is also an entrance in the center of the building which opens to an enclosed staircase leading to the upper floors. After restoration, this stairway will be removed in order to provide the main entranceway for the mini-mall. Traffic will then be directed through the building via this central passageway. Depending upon demand, two to six stores will be set up on the first floor. A new stairway will be constructed at the south end of the building, and for handicap acessibility, an elevator will be put in. Plans for the future include converting the second floor into office space.

The former Elk's Club Building is the best example of Kaukauna's prevalent commercial Romanesque Revival architecture. Its nearly complete integrity, its fully developed design, and its imposing size all contribute to its significance as an architectural landmark. Furthermore, the proposed restoration of the building will be sympathetic to its original design.

Luther Lindauer "has seen and aided in the progressiveness of Kaukauna, and has been an eyewitness to its growth from a hamlet of but three modest buildings, on the South side, to a bustling, live city of six thousand inhabitants. Among the buildings he himself has added toward its development may be mentioned the Lindauer and Rupert Block, a fine two-story brick structure on Second Street, having a frontage of fifty feet with a depth of ninety-four feet." (C)

The Lindauer and Rupert Block is a building representative of the boom which followed the railroad into Kaukauna's south side and has been a landmark since its creation on Second Street in 1895. It best reflects the varied business activities of Luther Lindauer, a leading Kaukauna citizen in the late 1800's, and was a capstone for the development of the south side commercial district.

Despite the fact that he lost his left hand in a planing mill accident in his youth, Lindauer multiplied his skills and business interests after moving to Kaukauna in 1880, driving a team for the hub and spoke factory, working on the canal, and then buying and selling stone. In 1884 he began dealing in lime, mortar, and sand, helping literally to build south Kaukauna. In 1886 he added the ice business with an ice-house near the lock, supplanted by a larger ice house on Wisconsin Avenue in 1889. He had also begun dealing in wood and coal in 1886.

In 1887 Lindauer and a Mr. Rhode began an extensive brickyard at the north end of twon near teh city limits, averaging 34,000 cream-colored sand brick a day and employing 20 men in the brickyard besides teamsters. In 1890 Lindauer became owner of the Kaukauna Stone Quarry Co. In that year he also began the first of three terms as Mayor of Kaukauna, after having served as fourth ward alderman and country supervisor.

In addition to developing the native materials of the area to create buildings for local industry and commerce, Lindauer was the contractor for projects directed by the growing city. He built four miles of city sewerage and did all masonry work connected with the Lawe Street Bridge and its approaches.

The Lindauer and Rupert Block, besides reflecting the growth of Kaukauna's south side business district and the career of one of its most energetic citizens, had a long second use as a meeting hall for the local Elks. From 1918 to about 1981 the building was the Elk's Club, a beacon for cooperation between local businessmen long after Luther Lindauer's death.
Bibliographic References:(A) Kaukauna Tax Assessment Rolls 1887-1922. (B) Building inscription. (C) Commemorative Biographical Record, pp. 498-500.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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