Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

400, 404, 408 E GRAND AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
400, 404, 408 E GRAND AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Strong Building
Other Name:Strong Building
Reference Number:80951
Location (Address):400, 404, 408 E GRAND AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1929
Survey Date:1981
Historic Use:retail building
Architectural Style:Art Deco
Structural System:
Wall Material:Terra Cotta
Architect:Samuel Oman and Samuel Lillienthal
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Strong Building
National Register Listing Date:1/7/1983
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:Multiple Resources of Beloit
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. The most distinctive Art Deco building in the city, the four story Strong Building, built in 1929 by Chicago architects Oman and Lillienthal, is characterized by a glazed terra cotta facde, reeded piers and recessed spandrels, and dramatic (and colorful) Art Deco ornament, including the remarkable floral motif at the frieze. Faced with light green terra cotta panels on the upper stories, and darker brown panels on the ground story, the Strong Building wraps around the intersection of State and Grand with a curved corner. Fifteen piers, most ornamented with reeding, race uninterrupted to the frieze where they are crowned with lagre, stylized white and yellow daisies imposed on a dark green background. Recessed from th epiers, the spandrels are ornamented with incised and applied Art Deco ornament in a variety of geometric and floriated patterns. The first story facade is punctuated with large plate glass display windows, surmounted by transoms, and two entries including one on the north facade which features a large Art Deco surround. Except for some alterations to the store fronts on the easternmost bays of the north facade, the exterior of the Strong Building remains in original condition. Inside, however, extensive remodelling over the years has divided the space into small offices and retail space and has taken a toll on the original Art Deco features. Surveys of Rock County (beginning with a county-wide reconnaissance survey in 1975, and updated through intensive surveys of Beloit (1980-81) and Janesvile (1981-82), have clearly revealed that the Strong Building is the most significant Art Deco structure in Beloit and one of two excellent examples of teh style in Rock County. (The Monterrey Hotel in Janesville is the only comparable Rock County structure). The stylized and colorful ornament, the terra cotta sheathing and the reeded piers create a "modernistic" landmark in the center of the city. Chicago architects Samuel Oman and Samuel Lillienthal began their practice in 1922 and have been credited with the designs of the St. Clair and Eastgate hotels in Chicago as well as the Marine Drive apartments in that city. Built in 1930 by F.M. Strong, the buliding has served as retail and office space since its construction.
Bibliographic References:(A) Beloit Tax Records, RCHS Archives. (B) Incised wall at southeast corner of structure. (C) Beloit City Directories, 1928 and 1930. (D) Withey, Henry F. Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (deceased). Los Angeles, 1956. Appleton Post Crescent 5/20/2000. Janesville Gazette 6/10/2000. Beloit Daily News 6/16/2000.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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