Historic Structures

O.G. Bradshaw Grain Elevator, Kimball South Dakota

Oscar George Bradshaw came to Kimball around 1908 and built the wooden 20,000-bushel capacity elevator that year on the far western end of the established elevator row. The structure went up to thirty-six feet on the main section and to forty-eight feet at the top of the cupola. It used both heavy, post-and-beam construction with large timbers as structural elements and also used processed and standardized dimension lumber for sheathing and the cribbed bins. The elevator had nine bins and a wooden leg with motorized belt, a drive bay with scales below, and a connected office that housed the six-horsepower gasoline engine below. By 1917, the Bradshaw Elevator had cleaning machinery and converted from the gasoline engine to a five-horsepower electric motor in the headhouse, likely around the time that the town's light company began operations in 1914. Sometime between 1917 and 1928, an adjoining rectangular building was constructed on the eastern side to store additional grain, although it was later removed. In 1956, the elevator had its shingles and siding replaced in-kind by R.P. Korzan (who had an active local construction company in the mid-twentieth century), Tom Lutz, and George Gross. The Bradshaw Elevator is rare in that it was never modified from its original wood construction to metal siding, and that its office is also wood frame and attached to the elevator through the drive bay. Bradshaw was born in 1872 in the Rochester area in Olmstead County, Minnesota and, in 1898, had worked in a wheat mill in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. In 1902, he came to South Dakota and gained experience operating elevators in Marion Junction, Ethan, Corsica, and Armour (all in assorted southeastern counties). He returned to Rochester in 1907 to marry schoolteacher Mary Lucia Moran and brought her to Kimball in 1909. Bradshaw was an active participant in civic affairs in Kimball's development; he served on the city council and school board, served as a trustee of St. Margaret's Catholic Church, belonged to several social organizations, and for a time served the agricultural community by recording official rainfall. In one news article, he was also described as a mechanical engineer by profession, but buys grain to pass away the time. Bradshaw operated the elevator as an independent proprietor until his death in 1956, and a county history described him as the oldest active grain dealer in the northwest, having been in the business fifty-eight years. Joe Plachy also worked at the elevator for many years.

More...

Lynde Point Lighthouse, Old Saybrook Connecticut

Lynde Point Lighthouse, built in 1838, is a typical example of the masonry tower lighthouses built in the first half of the nineteenth century to specifications of the U.S. Treasury Department. Containing a well-preserved wood spiral stair of early date, which is unique in the group of twelve Connecticut lighthouses, Lynde Point exhibits superior stone work in the tapering brownstone walls. Of the three early masonry light towers in Connecticut, Lynde Point is the latest and its construction is the best documented: two advertisements for construction proposals survive containing the government's specifications, and the construction contract as well. Lynde Point also was part of the federal government's early efforts to improve aids to navigation to Long Island Sounds when the mouths of important harbors and rivers were among the first sites chosen for lighthouse appropriations. Lynde Point marks the mouth of the Connecticut River. Although deed records indicate that a lighthouse was established at Lynde Point in 1802 on land purchased from William Lynde, the present lighttower is not the original structure. On April 6, 1802, Congress authorized the construction of a sufficient light-house to be erected on Lynde's Point, at the mouth of the Connecticut River; Abishat Woodward, Master Carpenter of New London, was awarded the contract at the end of November 1802, to build a wood shingled octagonal tower, 35 feet high, with an iron octagonal lantern and a stone foundation. Thirty-five years later, this lighthouse was found to be inadequate. In April, 1837, the federal government published in the Connecticut newspapers advertisements for proposals from contractors to build a granite or freestone lighttower, 45 feet high. The old lighthouse was to be moved a short distance away and was to continue in operation while the replacement tower was under construction at the old site. Alternate proposals for a tower 65 feet high also were requested, the builder to receive the old lighthouse, its lantern, lamps and reflectors as partial payment.

More...

JJ Deal and Son Carriage Factory - Kiddie Brush and Toy Company, Jonesville Michigan

Jacob J. Deal arrived in Jonesville in 1857 where he opened a blacksmith shop along with making a few lumber and heavy wagons. In 1865 he sold the blacksmith shop and started to construct buggies and wagons as well as making repairs. The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the Deal factory occupying four two-story buildings and a lumber shed at the southeast corner of West and South Streets. During 1887 the company made twelve hundred carts, three hundred wagons and carriages, and three to four hundred sleighs. Carts were sold in Indiana and adjacent areas. In 1891 Jacob's only surviving son, George V. Deal, became a partner in the company and was named manager. The firm was renamed J.J. Deal and Son. George had started as a bookkeeper with his father in 1884, and by 1890 was starting to lead the company to produce delivery trucks. In 1892 the company erected an office and display building at the southwest corner of Chicago Road (US-12) and West Street in downtown Jonesville. The new building joined the larger complex to the southeast across West Street. In July of that year residents were invited to the grand opening to tour the building and hear an orchestra. The 1892 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the now altered large office building and showroom at the southwest corner of Chicago Road (US-12) and West Street. Lumber drying areas are located to the south of the office building. Tiffany Brothers Carriages was located to the south on the west side of West Street. The J. J. Deal and Son Carriage Factory complex is located on the east side of West Street. It was comprised of four adjoining two-story buildings that housed a wood shop, engine room, iron room, blacksmith and painting shops. A two-story warehouse and painting building is connected by a raised walkway, and two lumber sheds are located on the site.

More...

Pickle Barrel House, Grand Marais Michigan

The Pickle Barrel House was built at the north end of Grand Sable Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the summer of 1926. Chicago food products manufacturer and distributor Reid, Murdoch and Company commissioned Harold S. Cunliff of the Pioneer Cooperage Company of Chicago and St. Louis to design and build the house as a summer cottage for Chicago Tribune cartoonist William Donahey and his wife Mary Dickerson Donahey. William Donahey's cartoon strip the Teenie Weenies ran in the Tribune from 1914 until Donahey's death in 1970 and was widely syndicated, and its popularity inspired Reid, Murdoch to launch a line of Teenie Weenie brand food products, including pickles, for which Donahey was retained to design labels, packages, and advertisements. The Pickle Barrel House was so popular as a tourist attraction despite its isolated location four miles from Grand Marais that, after ten years of enduring summertime hoards of visitors, the Donaheys gave it to a grocery store owner who sold Reid, Murdoch products. In about 1937 it was relocated to Grand Marais, where it was operated as a tourist information booth until recent times. The Pickle Barrel House is an example of Pop architecture from the 1920s designed to look like the product it advertised or sold - in this case, Reid, Murdoch's Monarch Teenie Weenie brand pickles, that, packed in miniature oak casks, were one of the company's staples. As early as 1658, the Grand Marais area was noted for its natural beauty. The French fur traders Pierre Esprit Radisson and Sieur de Groseilliers were the first recorded Europeans to describe the area. In the summer of 1658 Radisson wrote that the Grand Marais area was most delightful and wondrous, for its nature that made it so pleasant to the eye [and] the spirit. The nearby Pictured Rocks and Grand Sable Dunes, located west of Grand Marais along the Lake Superior coast, would be described in detail by virtually every explorer and traveler who coasted along the southern shore of the lake from the French in the 1600s to the Americans in the 1800s. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a scientist on the 1820 Cass expedition to Lake Superior, extensively noted the geology of the Grand Sable Dunes and Pictured Rocks, and his collection of Native American lore about the locality inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to pen The Song of Hiawatha in 1855. Grand Marais was an ideal stop for maritime travelers along the southern shores of Lake Superior due to the geological formations along the lake. Maritime travelers embarking from the east (by far most travelers came from Sault Ste. Marie) often stopped at Grand Marais to judge weather conditions before passing the Pictured Rocks' area, where there were few stretches of sandy beach.

More...

Radio Central Complex, Rocky Point New York

Radio Central, the first commercial overseas radio transmitting station in the world, is of profound significance to the history of electrical engineering and the development of international wireless communication. Established by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1921, the Radio Central Complex at Rocky Point was the seat of many pioneering experiments in long-wave radio transmission, and the world's largest transmitting station. The advent of microwave and satellite transmission led RCA to cease operation of the huge complex in 1978. Soon after the General Electric Company established its fully independent communications subsidiary, the Radio Corporation of America in 1920, RCA began construction of a centralized radio transmitting and receiving system designed to command international wireless communication. Dubbed Radio Central, the RCA transmitter complex was the chief element in the RCA system. From a traffic control center located at 64 Broad Street, New York City, operators relayed radiotelegraphic messages to the huge multiplex transmitting center at Rocky Point, Long Island, some seventy miles away. Incoming overseas messages were beamed to the Riverhead, Long Island receiving station, then transferred automatically via land lines to RCA's traffic control office in Manhattan. Radio Central at Rocky Point was the most visually dramatic, as well as the most technologically sophisticated element of this system.

More...

Appleby Atlas Grain Elevator, Watertown South Dakota

For over seventy years the Appleby Atlas Elevator served local farmers as a principal buying and transportation station for their cash grain crops. As a country elevator, its was the initial link in the network of moving raw grain from the producer to large processing and marketing centers. Built in circa 1883 by the Atlas Grain Company, the property was one of the few 19th-Century all-wood elevators in the region to survive in fair, unaltered condition at its original location. The first grain buying centers in the midwest during the 19th Century were simple flat houses (flat floored warehouses), which at the time permitted the storage and distribution of only sacked grain. Railroad companies found it much easier to handle bulk grain and generally insisted on receiving shipments from facilities where grain could be elevated into bins and from there poured through spouts into railroad cars. Therefore, during the last half of the century, the influence of railroads in the west combined with the farmers' growing need for adequate markets caused the construction of a plethora of grain elevators alongside an expanding railroad infrastructure. Two functional types of elevators emerged, the terminal elevator and the country elevator. The terminal elevator is a large transport hub that receives commodities in railcar lots and transfers the grain to processing plants or other terminals in even larger units (such as in barges or ships). On the other hand, the country elevator receives grain in wagon or truck lots and ships it to terminals often via the railroads.

More...

Richter Brewery - Delta Brewery, Escanaba Michigan

The Richter Brewery was constructed in 1900-1901 by a then newly established firm comprised of local businessmen who saw an opportunity to provide a local product to serve a market in the growing city that was then being served largely by out-of-town brews. Enlarged in the 1910s, the building served as the company's brewery from its 1901 completion until 1918, when Michigan's own Prohibition took effect. After serving primarily as a manufacturing and bottling plant for non-alcoholic beverages during the Michigan and national Prohibition years, the building resumed its original brewery function under a new firm name, the Delta Brewing Company, in 1933 and operated until 1940. The new brewery celebrated its formal opening in September 1933 with the largest party in Escanaba's history. A parade featured area bands and many novel commercial floats, and the brewery provided free beer, forty-five barrels worth, and sandwiches to an estimated 15,000 persons who jammed the downtown. Escanaba was established in the early and mid 1860s. Nelson Ludington, Daniel Wells, Jr., Perry H. Smith, and George L. Dunlap purchased the site in 1862 and the following year had the first part of the town site platted. The platting of a town at this site on the Little Bay De Noc coincided with plans to construct a railroad to carry iron ore from the developing iron mines in the Negaunee area to port facilities to be constructed here, from which the ore could be shipped to Chicago and other Great Lakes cities. The Peninsula Railroad was built from the Escanaba site to Negaunee in 1863-64 and carried its first ore shipments in 1865. Escanaba was incorporated as a village in 1866 and had a population of 1200 by 1870. City government was established in 1883, and by 1890 the population had grown to about 8000. By then the city was served by both the Chicago & North-Western Railroad and Escanaba, Iron Mountain & Western Railway, which hauled iron ore from both the Marquette and Menominee iron ranges and shipped it downlake from four ore docks (a fifth was then under construction). Sawmills along with the railroad yards and docks were the mainstays of the local economy.

More...

Belk-Hudsons Department Store - Fowlers Store, Huntsville Alabama

When the locally owned Fowler's Department Store opened in 1930, it was one of the largest upscale department stores in Huntsville. Located at 116 Washington Street in the heart of Huntsville's premier shopping district, Fowler's opened directly after the city's commercial 1890 to 1929 building boom period. North Washington Street contained five department stores: Kress, Woolworths, J.C. Penney, Dunnavant, and Fowler's, as well as many smaller shops, restaurants, and two hotels. The area flagship store, Dunnavant's, was located on the same block as Fowler's, but the chain department stores (McClellans, Kress, Woolworths, and J.C. Penneys) were concentrated two blocks south. Fowler's Department Store went bankrupt in 1938 but later resumed business nearby until the late 1970s or early 1980s. In 1940 the northwest building became a Belk-Hudson Department Store, one of a large national chain of stores. In 1944, Belk-Hudson also leased the 1936 east building. This union, joined to serve the space needs of Belk-Hudson, made it one of the largest department stores in Huntsville at the end of World War II. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, Huntsville's department stores gradually moved out of the downtown shopping district. This red brick Commercial-style building has the simplified forms typical of many such structures of the early 20th century. The 1930 northwest corner store building located at 116 Washington Street is almost square in plan and consists of two stories and a full basement. There are four bays on each facade, marked by four-foot wide shallow brick pilasters which are capped with a simple limestone rectangular capital. The approximately five-foot high entablature above the pilasters is a simple corbeled brick architrave and cornice with a limestone bed mold under the architrave. The architrave is punctuated by small rectangular metal roof-space vents.

More...

El Garces Hotel - Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Depot, Needles California

In 1883 the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad at Needles established a West Coast link for the critical railroad freight line, and founded the City of Needles. One of the first buildings erected was the original Southern Pacific Railroad depot, considered to be a major stop on their Mojave to San Francisco line. Conducive with the design parameters of other first generation railroad depots, the depot was a single story wood frame construction. Often there was little distinction between the design of a depot and other auxiliary buildings used throughout the railroad lines, so the design primarily reflected the utilitarian and functional spaces dictated by the usage. In 1884, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad line bought the rights to the Southern Pacific Railroad line through Needles, as part of their Arizona line, and the Southern Pacific Railroad discontinued its service along that portion of the line. Once established, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad added second story hotel rooms and a Harvey House to the original building in 1898. The need for a significant number of hotel accommodations stemmed from the steady stream of weary travelers, as well as the permanent staff of the Harvey House and hotel. Unfortunately, the wooden buildings such as these were particularly susceptible to fire and often destroyed by errant sparks or cinders from the steam-powered locomotives. The original depot in Needles followed the fate of many others, as it was destroyed by fire on September 6, 1906 and claimed two lives. As the wood construction depots were eventually rebuilt or replaced, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad turned toward architectural tradition for their design inspiration. The image of the railroad depot began to change from that of a utilitarian structure to an important public building. As passenger rail travel increased, many travelers embarked on recreational trips and were therefore able to see towns and locations that were previously inaccessible to them. Accordingly, these towns wanted to make a good first impression and so, wanted a prominent railroad depot. There was a time in the not so distant past, before buses, planes, and trucks replaced railroads as the principle transporter of travelers, freight, and mail, when the railroad depot was considered an important building in the community as was the city hall, general store or post office.

More...
Page 2