Thursday, July 19, 2018

brownstone ...

We've been in this old building for a few months now, and as a lover of old buildings, I finally got around to looking up the history after seeing an old picture hanging in the cafe downstairs.

I always thought that the diagonal imprint in the stone in the picture to the left was an old roofline, and it may have been added later as a covering for the set of stairs going up to the former door that is better seen to the right.  I've not seen any pictures with an awning or roof over the stairs, but the imprint goes to the top of the doorway, and in the picture below, the steps clearly go only to the bottom of the doorway.

It is made of the brownstone that is local to this area and was built in 1890.  The architecture style is called "Richardsonian Romanesque."  At one time in Ashland's past, the road down Main Street was not where it is now, and many buildings had entrances accessible from both the main and lower levels.  You can still see the remains of window frames in this photo that are now buried beneath the alley and sidewalk.

This image to the right is when it was known as G. W. Peck's store, and is the print that is hanging in the cafe now.  You can see the outside stairs to the upper apartments, and a small balcony in front that has since been closed in with the windows being framed out.  It does not appear that the businesses to the left of it have been built yet.

If you zoom in on the photo, you can also see writing over two windows at the base of the building, which would now be the basement, and at that time was one of the lower businesses.  The writing is for "Globe Steam Laundry."

In this reprint of a historical map of Ashland from 1890, there is a reference to a laundry, but it is unclear where on the map it is indicated.  Given that Ashland was only incorporated in 1887, and this building was built in 1890, it is likely the laundry referenced on the map is for Globe Steam Laundry.

The only census records for Ashland from 1890 are  for "Persons who served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. of the United States during the war of rebellion (who are survivors), and widows of such persons."  That census is incomplete, only showing the first four of fourteen pages of Ashland.  The name Peck does not appear on those records, but there is a George O Peckham.  The Wisconsin federal census files for 1890 were destroyed in a January 1921 fire.  [Just for fun, I signed up do pages 5-14, and to be a 2nd transcriber/proofreader for the 1900 census in Ashland County to see if I can find any other information on Mr. G.W. Peck in the process.  I may regret it later.] There are records from 1880 that show a Peck family who moved from New York, and it is possible that Mr. G. W. Peck is related to them.

In the photo to the left here, the adjacent buildings are now up, and the front windows have been changed, as well as having the outside stairs removed.  It appears that the building and deck that are now on the rear of the building were added on much later.

These next three photos found on the Wisconsin Historical Society's page are from July 1974 and 1975 when it was Clay Upholstery, and the first (undated) color photo found of it also.

For a 128-year-old lady, it has held up pretty well, altho I confess to preferring the original windows and balcony when it was first built much better than the windows on it now.
As it is seen now with the remodeled front windows

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