This file portion of www.watertownhistory.org website
Residential Historic District
City of Watertown, Wisconsin: Architectural and Historical Intensive Survey Report, 1986-1987, pgs 318-322.
The proposed North Washington Residential Historic District is potentially significant under National Register Criterion C because it is representative of the development of residential architecture in Watertown from the late 1850s until the 1920s. As the location of significant examples of architecture, the district is representative of historic residential architecture in Watertown. It is also potentially significant under National Register Criterion B because several of its residents were associated with important activities in the areas of commerce and industry.
Located in the northwest section of the city, the proposed North
Washington Residential. Historic District mainly extends approximately four
blocks north of
1) HOUSE, 307 West Cady Street. Built of cream brick in the shape of an "L", this 19th century vernacular house form is ornamented by architectural details associated with the Italianate.
2) EDMUND SWEENEY HOUSE, 210 North Church, 1868. Exhibiting no specific historic ornament, this two-story cube, cream brick house features a low hip roof, flat stone linters and an open balustrated porch. Sandblasting has altered the cream brick exterior.
3) DANIEL KUSEL HOUSE, 216 North Church Street, 1849, 1870. Originally a small brick house built in 1849, (presently the rear wing), the two-story, main front section of the Kusel house was built after Kusel purchased the property in 1870. Covered by a truncated hip roof, this brick house is characterized by Italianate window heads and iron cresting.
4) JAMES LESCHINGER HOUSE,
5) FRED GOHRES HOUSE,
6) WILLIAM HARTIG HOUSE,
7) DREW AND CHARLES STRAW HOUSE, 306 North Washington Street, c. 1892. An unusual example of the Queen Anne style, this frame, two-story house is decorated by unusual half-timber trim in the front gable, shingled gable ends, and shingled bands alternating with horizontal siding on the upper story.
8) MARSHALL J. WOODWARD
9) LEO RUESCH HOUSE,
Although the majority of the construction took place in the proposed
North Washington Residential Historic District from the 1850s until at least
the 1920s, the significant examples of architecture in the district were
constructed in the 19th century. The earliest known houses in the proposed
district exhibit the influence of the Italianate style. One of the earliest
houses in the district, the 1850s brick Dr. Barber house at
Usually co-existent with early Italianate styles built in the mid-19th century, the Greek Revival style in its classic form apparently did not influence architecture in the North Washington Street District. However, the gabled ell frame house built for Fred Gohres at 216-218 North Washington as late as c.1870 exhibits Greek Revival derived frieze windows and cornice returns in the gable ends.
A rather unique style for small cities, the French Second Empire style influenced seven houses in Watertown, one of which was built for Christian Becker at 300 North Water. Although displaying the fashionable mansard roof characteristic of the style, the Becker house is less elaborate than other examples of the style in the city.
The most elaborate houses and probably the most architecturally
significant houses in the district built in the late 19th century were
influenced by the Queen Anne style. Cream brick interpretation of the style
include the hip and gable roofed house built for Marshall Woodward around 1872
at 400 North Washington. One of the earliest known Queen Anne houses in the
city, the Woodward house has been altered somewhat but still exhibits the
ornament and the multiple overhangs and projections that provide the
irregularity typical of the Queen Anne style. Built around 1889, the cream
brick William Hartig house at 305 North Washington
received a new porch with classical Ionic columns and rock-face concrete
foundation sometime in the early 20th century. In a more unusual interpretation
of the style, the multi-gabled frame house built for the interior decorators
Drew and Charles Straw features notable half-timber trim and shingles in the
gable ends. Also an unusual design, the small Queen Anne house at
Construction in the early 20th century in this proposed residential district apparently was minimal. As a result, evidence of the construction of early 20th century historic styles and Period Revival styles exists in only a few houses in the district. Although no true early 20th century Neo-classical styles were built, the revived interest in classical architecture and classical details appeared mainly in the Dutch Colonial Revival styled house at 223 North Washington and in the cross gabled vernacular house with a Dutch gambrel roof at 305 North Church. The historic styles built later in the 20th century during the Period Revival are represented only in the Tudor Revival house at 306 North Church. Characterized by steeply pitched multi-gabled roofs, this vernacular house also displays polychromatic brick surfaces and multi-paned windows.
Evidence of the co-existent "new modern" architecture
constructed throughout America in the early 20th century also is found in only
a few instances in the district. Constructed generally with minimal historic
ornament or reference to a particular historic style, the "early
modern" architecture is represented in the proposed district mainly in the
form of the bungalow. Exposed structural elements associated with the Craftsman
style such as exposed rafter ends and knee-brace brackets under the eaves in
the gable end were used to characterize the frame bungalow built at
The first Yankee settlers came to Watertown in 1837. These Yankees
quickly developed the first farms, mills, and stores in and around Watertown.
During the 1840s and 1850s, Watertown developed into a thriving industrial and
commercial center in southeastern Wisconsin. And by 1855, Watertown was the
second largest community in the state. Important industries in the community
were sawmills, grist mills, wood products mills, an iron foundry, and a woolen
mill. There were also many small industrial shops producing goods such as
wagons, barrels, leather goods, boots and shoes, and cigars. Watertown's
commercial district centered around
During the 1840s and 1850s, Watertown developed residential
neighborhoods on both the east and west sides of the Rock River and extending
north and south of
While Watertown's growth stabilized during the later nineteenth and early twentieth century, the city continued to be the location of several important industries. But more significantly, Watertown continued to be an important regional trade center. Its downtown was large and generally prosperous and small stores became bigger stores during the turn of the century years . . .
What is interesting about residential development in Watertown is that
no one particular residential neighborhood developed into the
prestigious neighborhood, where the prominent citizens in commerce and industry
and the professions lived. There is somewhat of a split between the north and
south sides of the community, with the south side having more large houses of
prominent residents, but in this area, too, they are relatively spread out. The
result is that along several streets in the four quadrants of the community
there developed prestigious 19th and early 20th century neighborhoods. In the
northwest quadrant, a prestigious neighborhood developed along North Washington
and North Church Streets. In the southwest quadrant, a prestigious neighborhood
developed along South Washington and South Church Streets. In the northeast
quadrant a small middle class and upper class neighborhood developed alongside
of a working class neighborhood on
The North Washington Street Historic District consists of a group of
primarily nineteenth century homes of middle class and prominent citizens in
commerce, industry, and the professions. It grew up around