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Architecture and History Inventory
202 N WATER ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Fred Misegades Wagon Works; Otto Biefeld Company
Other Name:Kottwitz Motor Service
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:7196
Location (Address):202 N WATER ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1858
Additions: 1866
Survey Date:1986
Historic Use:industrial building
Architectural Style:Italianate
Structural System:
Wall Material:Cream Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Main Street Commercial Historic District
National Register Listing Date:6/2/1989 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:This building house the Frederick Misegades wagon-making shop and was the second location of the Otto Biefeld Company. The Misegades cariage and wagon works began in 1857. Little is known about his business except that he oeprated untila round 1890. The next tenant of this building was the Otto Biefeld Company. The company began as a machine shop at 117 S. Second St. in 1893. In 1899 the shop needed larger quarters and moved into this building. The company grew while here. They bought new machinery and added a plumbing and heating department, In 1914 Arthur Kuenzi of the Dornfeld-Kunert Company, another metal products manufacturer in Watertown, joined the firm and in that year Biefeld built another shop building on O'Connell St. While at this location the company grew from eight employees in 1914 to 50 employees in 1918. They branched out into snow plough and dairy equipment manufacturing. After two additions to this site they outgrew it and moved into the vacant Dornfeld-Kunert Company building at 1001 S. Second St. The company operated at this location until after the 1950s. This building has historical significance under criterion A because it was the site of the long-time wagon manufacturer Frederick Misegades, and was the location of the Biefeld Company during its formative years. The wagon-making industry in Watertown never went beyond the small shop stage. But of all the small shops, Misegades' wagon works was probably the most significant. The fact that he had such an impressive building indicates that he had a business of some importance. Unfortunately, little more is known about Misegades or his business. The building is also significant as the second home of the Otto Biefeld Company, an importnt twentieth century metal fabricating company that went through its formative years in the building. When it moved here, Biefeld was a small, but thriving machine shop. It left a major Watertown industry, taking over, in 1938, a large factory. Its success at this address led to its continued success at its new location. This building has a high level of integrity, probably the highest for any industrial building in the community. Not only does it represent the significance of both Misegades and Biefeld, it represents an industrial building from the mid-nineteenth century, an increasingly rare resource. Built around 1858 for Frederick Misegades, this former Wagon Works is a three-story cream brick gable roofed building with a two-story addition in 1866 on the north end of the building. Exhibiting a board, scroll bracketed and denticulated rating cornice and cornice return on the main structure and an overhanging horizontal cornice on the two-story as well, the Italianate styled Misegades building also exhibits the raised layered brick round arched window hoods of the Italianate style. Forming an arcade across the facade and the south elevation, the windows are interspersed with arched doorways on all stories of the building, some of which are now filled in with cream brick. Two rectangular vehicular service doors have been added to the first story on the north end of the facade. A variety of rectangular wooden window sashes beneath blind arches fill the window openings. Windows with horizontal divisions are located on the lower story while windows with vertical mullions are situated on the second story. Shorter half-windows with vertical mullions and blind arches characterize the third story. Side lights and an arched transom accent the entrance into the three-story main block. Segmental arched windows with one-over-one lights and a one-story addition characterize the rear of the building. The brick surface of the Misegades Building has been cleaned recentlt. The Frederick Misegades Wagon Works building is significant under criterion C as an excellent example of a mid-19th century industrial building built in the Italianate style. Built in the elaborate historic Italianate style popular at the time of its construction, the Misegades building exhibits elaborate bracketed and denticulated cornices and round arched raised brick window hoods forming an arcade across the facade and south elevation. Unusually elaborate for an industrial building is one of the few industrial buldings remaining from the mid-19th century and is the best presreved of all the extant 19th century industrial buildings in the city of Watertown. The only other good example of industrial architecture from the 19th century in Watertown is the Globe Mill at 321 South Water (55-34). Bulit in the late 1850s and enlarged in 1866, the Misegades Wagon Works also is among the best remaining examples of Italianate styled architecture in the proposed Main Street Historic District. Good examples of the Italianate styled commercial building include the buildings 103-105 E. Main (72-6), 116-118 W. Main (72-22), 107-109 E. Main (65-15), 413 E. Main (65-2) and 113 S. 3rd (74-7).
Bibliographic References:(A) Tax Records, City of Watertown, 1860-1910, Area Research Center, Library, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. (B) Watertown Democrat June 7, 1866. (C) Henry P. Aman, Watertown Centennial 1836-1936, Watertown: Times Press, 1936, n.p. (D) "Biefeld Brothers, Otto and Richard, Started Steel Fabricating Company," Watertown Daily Times Centennial Issue, June 26, 1954.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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