Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

820-824 MAIN ST

Architecture and History Inventory
820-824 MAIN ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:J.O. Johnsen General Store
Other Name:US Air Force Recruiting Office
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:72766
Location (Address):820-824 MAIN ST
City:Stevens Point
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1896
Survey Date:1982
Historic Use:general store
Architectural Style:Romanesque Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:C.C. Buck
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Mathias Mitchell Public Square--Main Street Historic District
National Register Listing Date:8/13/1986 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:The J.O. Johnson building anchors the western corner of the Public Square, and with the Kremb Hardware building forms a gateway to this area of Stevens Point. Although the building has been painted gray and the storefront has been altered, it remains an important design, primarily due to scale and variety of ornament. Brickwork becomes more complex toward the roofline of this two story building. The first floor walls are smooth, broken only by stone arches which once capped fenestration. Second story windows are rectangular units dispersed at intervals and marked by pilasters. Stone sill and lintel courses serve as unifying elements. A number of windows are capped by tympana filled with terra cotta ornament.

Bands of corbelling and arcuated patterns enliven the cornice between staged pilasters. A heavy corner post marks the corner of the building and, with the sweeping parapet line, draws the eye upward. Originally, the roofline was further enlivened with pediments and minaret-like projections.

The J.O. Johnson general store was constructed in the mid-1890's. It was a major outfitter for the lumber industry as was the Krembs Hardware across the street. By 1896, Johnson had retired from the business, but the building continued to be used as a general store into the 1930's. Since then, it has had several commercial uses.

The Johnson building, considered a pivotal building in the proposed Commercial District, is architecturally significant as a representative example of a period of construction. In addition, given its location on the Public Square and its large scale, the Johnson building is an important visual landmark within the district. The Johnson building is an eclectic design, primarily Romanesque in inspiration. Similar details were employed on a number of buildings erected in Stevens Point in the 1890's. The Johnson building is a more highly developed example of this local interpretation of the Romanesque Revival style and consequently an important building in the district.
Bibliographic References:(A) Sanborn-Perris Maps of Stevens Point 1891, 1898. (B) Portage County Tax Assessment Rolls. (C) Stevens Point City Directories 1893-1940. (D) Gateway to the Pineries, p. 13. Stevens Point Daily Journal. December 24, 1895, p. 1; January 16, 1896, p. 1.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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