Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

119 E JEFFERSON ST

Architecture and History Inventory
119 E JEFFERSON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:U.S. Post Office
Other Name:U.S. Post Office
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:70919
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):119 E JEFFERSON ST
County:Vernon
City:Viroqua
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1939
Additions: 1965 1989
Survey Date:1995
Historic Use:post office
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:Unknown
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Neal A. MelickLouis A. Simon
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Viroqua Downtown Historic District
National Register Listing Date:7/17/2003 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
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 State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

This one-story rectilinear plan brick-clad late Neo-Classical Revival style building was built by the U.S. Post Office to house their Viroqua operations and it is still in use by the post office today (1995). The building was designed by Louis A. Simon, supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury, and is a highly intact example of the "stripped Classicism" that characterized the work of his office in the 1930s and 1940s.

Among the notable features of this building is a 1942 mural in the lobby painted by Forrest Flower (1912-?), a native of Portage, WI, who studied at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee from 1930-1934. This highly dramatic painting depicts a nightime raid of Sac and Fox Native Americans stealing cavalrymen's horses and it is still in excellent shape today.

1995- "The highly intact, one-story Neo-Classical Revival style Viroqua Post Office building was built in 1939 to a des1gn provided by Louis Simon, supervising architect for the Post Office. The building is a representative example of the "stripped classicism" that was employed by the government in the late 1930s and early 1940s and it appears to be completely intact. The building is rectilinear in plan and freestanding in design and it has a full poured concrete basement story and exterior walls clad with brick over hollow tile. The main facade faces north onto E Jefferson Street and it is dominated by the three large, tall, flat-arched openings that are grouped in the center of the facade. The center of the three openings contains the paired three-light main entrance doors, which are surmounted by a three-part ten-light transom. The openings on either side both contain triple window groups consisting of five-light sidelights that flank a fifteen light main window, and these windows are also both surmounted by a three-part ten-light transom. Two tall six-over-nine-light double hung windows flank the center group and the only decorations are a stone beltcourse that encircles the building at the sill level of the two side windows and another that is placed at the lintel level of the central window group.

An unusual feature of this post office is an excellent mural (actually oil on canvas) located at the east end of the lobby inside. This highly dramatic painting shows a night scene of Sac and Fox Native Americans stealing cavalrymen's horses during the Blackhawk War and it was painted by Forrest Flower, who was born in Portage, WI in 1912 and studied art at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee trom 1930-1934. This painting was installed in March, 1942, and it is still in excellent condition today, as is the entire building, which is still in use as the local post office."
- "USH 14 Transportation Study ", WisDOT ID #1646-07-00, Prepared by Timothy F Heggland (1995).
Bibliographic References:Zalewski, June. Main Street Meandering: Historic Walking Tour in Viroqua, WI. Viroqua Revitalization Committee, 1993.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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