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Architecture and History Inventory
194 E COURT ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Other Name:1883 ANTIQUES AND ETC.!
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:68951
Location (Address):194 E COURT ST
City:Richland Center
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1883
Survey Date:1987
Historic Use:opera house/concert hall
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:David R. Jones
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Court Street Commercial Historic District
National Register Listing Date:11/13/1989 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:Architectural Description: Constructed of red brick made locally by V.G. Hyatt, the long, rectangular, two-story, three bay H.T. Bailey building is characterized by a heavy metal Italianate style cornice ornamented by large and small brackets and triangular pediment projecting over the facade and over one bay of the east elevation (G). A large segmental arch in the center bay with a keystone inscribed "1883" ecompassing two long, narrow windows topped by stone window lintels incised in an abstract floral pattern, flat stone window hoods in the outer recessed bays linked by white stone belt courses and corbeled brick ornament and dentil trim along the top of the recessed panels further articulate the brick surfaces of the Bailey Building. A gabled roofed wooden porch with exterior stairway is cantilevered from the east elevation. Designed by Madison architect David Jones for the prominent local merchant H.T. Bailey in 1883, the Bailey Building's storefront continues to exhibit its original bracket trimmed cornice supported by brick piers with metal bracketed capitals. Although generally well preserved, the Bailey Building received modern storefront and interior alteration when it was leased by this Ben Franklin Variety Store in 1936 (B,F). When the building was remodeled on the interior again in 1962 when it was purchased by William and Joan Brown, the storefront received new doors and side panels and replacement metal windows were added to the east elevation (F). Originally built without the aid of steel construction, the Bailey Building's second floor received additional support when a row of steel posts was placed down the center of the main floor around the turn of the century (D). Architectural/Engineering Significance: The H.T. Bailey Store and Opera House is significant under Criterion C as an example of the Italianate Commercial style. One of six good examples of the Italianate influence in the proposed Court Street Historic District, the Bailey Building exhibits the requisite projecting, bracketed cornice, as well as the decorative window treatment and compartimentalization of the facade associated with the Italianate design. Other good examples of the Italianate style in the proposed Court Street Historic District include the Burnham Drug Store at 182 East Court (21-21), the James Building at 172 East Court (21-26) (15-19), the O.J. Burnham Building at 159 East Court Street (15-23), and the Bulard Buildings at 155 East Court (15-24, 25). Designed by Madison architect David Jones in 1883, the well-preserved H.T. Bailey Building and Opera House originally was used as a dry goods store with a public hall on the second floor (BD). Sold during bankrupcy proceedings in 1900, the building has continued to house various mercantile establishments up to the present time, presently occupied by the Brown Clothing Store for Women (F). Historical Background: H.T. Bailey became a prominent businessman in Richland Center by the late 1870's in one of its central business areas, the mercantile store. He also included in the building's upper story an opera house which became one of the community's primary meeting areas along with other halls and churches in the nineteenth century. Such halls commonly provided space for lodge and other voluntary association meetings and less formal gatherings such as dances and lectures and large church meetings (1). After Henry Thompson Bailey's arrival in Richland Center in 1857 or 1858, he served as a store clerk until he and his brother N.W. Bailey purchased a small stock of goods from J.L. Brown in 1869 (2). Bailey listed himself in the state business directory of 1873 but not his business (3). H.T. Bailey & Brother failed to advertise their store until 1876 (4). H.T. Bailey became sole proprieter of the mercantile business in 1878 (5). Bailey not only carried a large stock of general merchandise as a retailer, but also purchased wool and pork as a commerical dealer. He erected a new two-story solid brick mercantile building at 192 East Court in 1883. He initially placed his salesroom on the first floor and storage on the second. The Opera House occupied part of the second floor (6). Unable to alter his mode of business from an exchange to a credit system, Bailey suffered bankruptcy in 1899. Clark and Elliot purchased the H.T. Bailey Store in 1900. Edwards and Kelly bought the merchandise buisiness in 1905 and acquired the store building in 1910. By this date, they specialized their stock and concentrated upon women's apparel (7). After Edward's death in 1927, Kelly became sole owner of the building. In 1931, he leased the store to Marachowski, Inc. and to Ben Franklin in 1936 (8). Bailey's Opera House above his store became a central meeting place. As a dance hall, it had seating along the sides of the room and portable chairs were set up for meetings (9). Lodges such as the Modern Woodmen met in the hall after the turn of the century. The community frequently held such events as Lyceums, political speeches, concerts, minstrel shows, and plays. Churches held large gatherings in the hall. The women's club as well as other organizations held public meetings there. For example, in 1886, Susan B. Anthony addressed the community in this hall (10) Historical Significance: The H.T. Bailey Store and Opera House gains local historical significance under Criterion A in the context of the Goods & Services Topic of the Commerce Theme. In Richland Center as in most Midwest communities, the mercantile store was the central business. They originally fulfilled multiple functions including retail, wholesale, financing, purchasing, forwarding, storage, and banking. They gradually lost these multiple functions by the turn of the century and specialized in several lines of retail goods as did Edwards and Kelly (11). Likewise, opera houses or halls were common second-story public meeting accomodations above commercial buildings. The building gains significance between 1883 when it was erected until 1938. This end date includes the trend toward specialization of the mercantile business and in this case its evolution to the chain store.
Bibliographic References:1. Barbara Wyatt, Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin (Madison: Historic Preservation Division, SHSW, 1986), [Social and Political Movements], III, Part 5, pp. 1-2; Richard Current, The History of Wisconsin: The Civil War Era, 1848-1873 (Madison: SHSW, 1976), pp. 525-26, 535. 2. Margaret Scott, Richland Center: A History (Richland Center Publishing Company, Richland Center, 1986), p. 39, 70. 3. M.T. Platt, Wisconsin Business Directory (Milwaukee: M.T. Platt, 1873), p. 214. 4. Murphy & Co., Wisconsin Gazetteer and Business Directory (Milwaukee: The Sentinel Company, 1876), p. 380. 5. C.W. Butterfield, History of Crawford and Richland Counties (Springfield: Union Publishing Company, 1884), p. 1198; Scott, Ibid., p. 70. 6. Butterfield, Ibid., p. 1155; Scott, Ibid., 39, 70; Richland Observer, November 11, 1983; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, LTD., Diagrammatic and Detailed Maps Published for Use by Fire and Mortgage Companies (New York and Chicago: Sanborn-Perris Map Company, LTD, 1885-86). 7. Scott, Ibid., p. 96, 124; Local History Room, Brewer Library (Richland Center: Manuscript Collections, Mss. 647); Republican Observer, July 21, 1900; Joseph Kelly, Richland Recollections (Richland Center: Brewer Library, 1977), p. 101. 8. Republican Observer, February 26, 1931; Kelly, Ibid., pp. 106-107. 9. Local History Room, Ibid., Mss. 1476. 10. Richland (WI) Republican and Observer, 17 May 1883; Sanborn Insurance Maps, City of Richland Center (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1885-1927); A History of Crawford and Richland Counties (Springfield, IL: Union Publishing Company, 1884) p. 1155; Local History Room, Ibid., Mss. 232; Scott, Ibid., p. 92-93; Twylar Keppler, Women's Suffrage in Richland Center (Ms. written for the Historian in Residence Program, Office of Local History, SHSW, Madison). 11. Robert C. Nesbit, Wisconsin: A History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973), p. 212; Joyce McKay, Architecture As Archaeological Artifact (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1985), p. 209. A. Inscription above window (1883) and on cornice (Bailey). B. Richland (WI) Republican and Observer, 17 May 1883. C. Ibid., 26 July 1900. D. Sanborn Insurance Maps, City of Richland Center (New York: Sanborn Map Co., 1885-1927). E. A History of Crawford and Richland Counties (Springfield, Ill.: Union Publishing Company, 1884) p. 1155. F. F. Joseph P. Kelly, Richland Recollections (Richland Center, 1977) pp. 94, 106-107. G. Richland (WI) Republican and Observer, 12 July 1883.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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