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Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
214 S WASHINGTON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Other Name:Hertel House
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:7187
Location (Address):214 S WASHINGTON ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1878
Additions: 1915
Survey Date:1986
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Georgian Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: South Washington Street Historic District
National Register Listing Date:11/26/2003 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:7/18/2003 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:This was the home of merchant Edward Racek between c. 1880 and c. 1900. After being occupied by Racek's widow Mollie, it was the home of Lewis Mollie, it was the home of Lewis Parks, an executive of the G.B. Lewis Company, between around 1920 and at least 1930.

Edward Racek came to Watertown from Bohemia in 1853. He attended schools in Watertown and a business school in Milwaukee. He was a teller at the Wisconsin National bank and operated a produce business with his brother. He then bought a general store that grew into the substantial Racek and Jones stoe, located in Cole's Block on Main Street.

This house is significant for local history under National Register criterion B because it is associated with Edward Racek, a prominent merchant, and Lewis Parks, an important person in Watertown's industry.

Watertown had a thriving commercial district with many general stores, dry goods stores, and specialty stores. The Racek and Jones store was a long-time and successful general and dry goods store in Watertown, located in the prominent Cole's Block. Because of his contribution to the development of commerce in Watertown, Edward Racek is a significant person and this house, where he lived for over twenty years, is significant for its association with him. The house also has interest as the home of Lewis Parks, a twentieth century executive of the G.B. Lewis Company, one of Watertown's most successful industries.

Originally a brick house built in 1878 by Edward Racek, this house was remodeled to its present Colonial Georgian Revival appearance for Lewis Parks in 1915. Featuring arched and shed roofed dormers and elaborate offset entrance characterized by an arched portico with broken pediment and Doric columns, the Parks house has an unusually broad overhang ornamented with modillions and eave returns in the gable ends. A screened front porch extending across the south gable wing with decorated friezes and Doric columns and a north side enclosed porch are additional features of this early 20th century Georgian Revival house.

The Lewis Parks is significant under criterion C as an example of the Colonial Revival style, specifically the Georgian Revival style. One of three good examples of the Colonial Revival built in the early 20th century in the city, the Lewis Parks house exhibits the characteristics of the Georgian Revival rather than its earlier 1878 appearance including the accentuated entrance, the modillion ornamented overhangs, Neo-classical portico with Doric columns and pedimented dormers. Other significant examples of the style are the houses at 408 S. Washington (54/27) and 907 Clyman St. (43/33).
Bibliographic References:(A) Evelyn Ruddick Rose, Our Heritage of Homes (Watertown Historical Society, 1980), pp. 13. (B) Watertown City Directories, 1866-1930, Watertown Public Library. (C) C.W. Butterfield, History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1879, p. 622.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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