William & George Fred Keck
1935 Built first solar house in Watertown, Wilde residence, 305 Elizabeth
Octagon House porches being worked on, April of 2011.
"The Board of Directors was often plagued with the question of what constituted good repairs. Were the porches a part of that pressing need? As early as June 1940, Architect George Fred Keck offered to draw plans for the porch restoration project. A year later a five hundred dollar donation accompanied blueprints for the restoration of the verandas. These funds were made available from the Honorable Joe. E. Davies, Ambassador to Belgium and Russia." - John Richards: The Hill and The Mill, page 99.
05 30 A house designed by two members of the Keck family of Watertown — George Fred Keck and William Keck, architects with offices at 612 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, is one of 20 award winning houses selected for inclusion in “Record Houses of 1967,” a publication which is featuring houses of three-dimensional planning “which enhances the sense of space and provides indoor-outdoor living in both vertical and horizontal areas.” The house designed by the Kecks is known as the Karlin House and is located at 5812 Blackstone Avenue, on a 50-foot lot in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago. The house is a single-family unit. The two architect brothers are sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Fred G. Keck of Watertown. The family business has been the Keck Furniture Co. here, which is now into its second century of operation. WDT
05 17 Architect George Fred Keck, a native of Watertown, was inducted into the Housing Hall of Fame in recognition of his lasting contribution to the cause of providing all Americans with decent and affordable homes. Keck, who passed away last November in Chicago at the age of 85 and worked in partnership with his brother, William, was the first American architect to demonstrate the potential of passive solar energy. At a time when the nation enjoyed seemingly inexhaustible supplies of cheap fuel, he was an advocate of thermally efficient and functional modern design in housing. Keck built his first solar house in Watertown in 1935, the Wilde residence located at 305 Elizabeth Street. Using the “greenhouse” effect, he was able to achieve fuel savings of 15 to 20 percent. Small windows were built on the north side of the home; wide floor-to-eaves windows on the south. Trees were planted to reduce southern exposure during the summer. WDT
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Architects William and George Fred Keck were known as visionaries. They boldly pushed modern design as far back as the 1930s, when most homeowners didn’t dream beyond cookie-cutter Colonials. The Keck brothers, two of five boys, were born and raised in Watertown. Full text of online article
CROSS REFERENCE: Keck and Keck (Paperback) by Robert Boyce
History of Watertown, Wisconsin