||The Milwaukee Electric Railway &
Light Co. Port Washington Power Plant
(Click any image to enlarge)
This massive power plant building dominates the view to the south of
the downtown and has been one of the landmarks of Port Washington since
it was built. Now a part of the Wisconsin Electric Co., the plant was
begun in 1930 and the first portion, having a steel frame and clad in
brown brick, was opened in 1935. This portion is a fine example of the
kind of the "stripped classical" type of Neoclassical design
seen also on the Port Washington Post Office. Subsequent additions were
built in 1943 and 1948-1950. These additions were designed to match the
original portion and they combined to create what is now by far Port
Washington's largest historic building. This building is still very much
in use and is largely intact today, although the four tall smoke stacks
that were originally associated with it have since been replaced by two
even larger ones. Besides its architectural distinction, the power plant
is also of even greater significance because of its importance to the
history of engineering. For many years after it was first opened, the
Port Washington plant was "the most thermally efficient plant in
the world" thanks to the pioneering work done by its designers on
the use of pulverized coal as fuel. In recognition of this status, the
plant was designated a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark
in 1980 by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
This building was re-constructed - Click here to see Re-construction
||Wisconsin Chair Factory Fire Historical Marker
The Wisconsin Chair Company (non-extant) operated in Port Washington
on and near this site from 1888 to 1954. The company was for many years
a dominant employer and industry in Port Washington, The first few years
of the companys existence were financially difficult. However, in
1891 the firm acquired the patent to the MacLean swing rocking chair.
This rocker set the company on a course toward rapid success. By 1892,
the company gained a national reputation for the quality of its rockers.
Practically overnight, the Wisconsin Chair Company had become the
largest employer in Port Washington and one of the fastest growing
companies in Wisconsin. At one time the company employed one sixth of
the workers of Ozaukee County. The Wisconsin Chair Company had become
the largest manufacture of floor rockers in the world and seemed
invincible until the evening of Sunday, February 19, 1899.
||The Wilson Hotel Building 200 N. Franklin St.
Built on the site of the old Union House Hotel, which was built in
1850 as a commercial building and expanded and converted into a hotel
between 1867 and 1875, is the Wilson House Hotel. This hotel served as a
headquarters for firemen battling the famous 1899 Wisconsin Chair
Factory fire that at one point threatened the entire city. Like so many
of the buildings in the downtown, the first story of the Franklin Street
facade of the Wilson Hotel has been greatly altered over time, but
fortunately, a sympathetic recent renovation of the building has undone
some of the damage.
||Barnum Blake Building 201 N. Franklin St.
Barnum Blake, prominent early Port Washington businessman, was
involved in many enterprises such as lumbering, retail/wholesale trade,
land speculation, and operated one of the three commercial piers. He had
this building built in 1854. Although the design of the facade of this
building fits within the overall framework of the Italianate style, the
arched window elements and corresponding arched portion of the cornice
are also analogous to the arched elements found in the contemporary
"Rundbogenstil" designs that were then fashionable with the
German-American community in nearby Milwaukee and even in Madison. This
ethnic variation of Romanesque Revival style had been brought over to
America by German-trained architects and found favor with many German
immigrants who came to this part of Wisconsin in the 1850s.
||Schanen Building 125 E. Main St.
The highly intact Art Moderne Style Schanen Building was constructed
on the eve of World War II after a fire destroyed the previous building
on the site. Overt Art Moderne design elements are few, being
principally confined to the three-part windows and to the entrance bay,
which features shallow, inset, fluted, two-story pilaster strips that
flank the deeply inset flat-arched main entrance, which has canted side
walls, and the tall second story window above it. The Schanen Building
was built for attorney William F. Schanen to house his office and the
offices and printing plant of the Ozaukee Press, which was owned
and edited by his son, William F. Schanen, Jr. Schanen's architect was
the Green Bay firm of Foeller, Schober & Berners, which had
previously designed a fine Norman Revival Style house for him in 1928 at
746 W. Grand Ave.
||Leland Stanfords Law Office
Adjacent to the parking lot of the Thill Hotel Building is the former
site of Leland Stanfords Law Office. Leland Stanford is Port
Washingtons most famous national figure. He moved to Port Washington
from New York State to practice law in 1848. In 1852, the gold rush
lured him to California where he operated a lucrative grocery business
and later in 1861 was elected Governor. His business successes included
becoming President of the Central Pacific Railroad. On May 10, 1869 at
Promentory, Utah, the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific completing
the transcontinental railroad. Stanford, as president of the Central
Pacific, drove the golden spike. He also endowed Stanford University,
which was named for his son who died at a young age. Unfortunately, the
federal style building was razed in 1975.
||Thill's Hotel Building. 101 E. Main St.
The Neoclassical Revival Style influenced Thill Hotel was built in
1902 on the site of an earlier hotel owned and run by Thill. Upon
completion, the new building was both the largest and the newest hotel
in Port Washington and it retained this distinction until after World
War II. Three stories tall, with a rock-faced stone-clad basement story
and the main stories clad in cream brick, the hotel's main facade
features numerous classically derived details and has an overall feeling
of symmetricality even though the actual design is not, in fact, truly
symmetrical. Room Rates around 1900 were $1.50 a day and the hotel
offered omnibus service to the railroad depot.
||U. S. Post Office. 104 E. Main St.
The tan brick-clad Port Washington post office was built in 1937 to a
design produced by the Supervising Architects office of the U. S.
Treasury Department under the direction of William Simon, the
Supervising Architect. The style was a favorite of this office in the
1930s and is sometimes referred to as "stripped classical,"
because buildings that display it are generally symmetrical in design
and essentially classical in their inspiration, but have been stripped
of all but the most elemental aspects of classical architecture. They
also typically make use of traditional materials such as brick, stone,
and ornamental metal work, all of which are present in this fine, highly
intact building. The Post Office location has changed many times since
the founding of the city. One prior location is the building north of
and adjacent to the Port Washington State Bank which is clearly marked
||Ozaukee County Courthouse 121 W. Main St.
The outstanding Richardsonian Romanesque Revival Style limestone-clad
Courthouse was completed in 1902 to a design by Milwaukee architect
Frederick Graf at a cost of $65,000. Attached to the 1902 Courthouse
today is a Modern Movement addition built in 1969 and the former Ozaukee
County Jail building, which was built in 1954 to a design by Green Bay
architects Foeller, Schober, and Berners. Frederick A. Graf was born to
German-born parents in South Germantown, Wisconsin in 1859. Trained as a
carpenter, Graf moved to Milwaukee in the early 1880s and continued to
work at this trade. In 1888, Graf entered the office of pioneer
Milwaukee architect James Douglas as a draughtsman and apprentice
architect. In 1892, Graf opened his own architectural office and
advertised himself as a specialist in "fine residences." In
1898, Graf won what would be one of the most important commissions of
his career; the Ozaukee County Courthouse in Port Washington. The
Courthouse is built on the site of the previous Courthouse, an excellent
brick-clad Italianate Style three-story building that had been built in
1854. The 1954 Jail Building was itself built on the site of a previous
County Jail, which was a large brick Queen Anne Style house that
contained both the jail itself and the residence of the jailer. The
Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in
Old Courthouse Centennial Jubilee
||The Stairways of Port Washington
Port Washington has been known as the "City of Seven Hills"
due to the topography upon which the city is built. The location of the
seven hills are as follows: North Bluff, South Bluff, , north end of
Wisconsin Street, Webster street at the high school, Orchard Lane, at
St. Marys Catholic Church, and here at the west end of Main Street. A
number of these hills have interesting local nicknames. The original
layout of the city is a grid that ignored the topography. Some grading
was done to impose the grid pattern. However, a number of streets were
simply connected with stairways. Today these stairways provide beautiful
natural niches within the city. The stairway here is simply the
continuation of Main Street. At the top continue for ½ block and take
the stairway down to your left, which is a continuation of Montgomery
Street. This hill is locally known as "sweetcake" hill.
||Byron Teed/Eghart House 316 Grand Ave.
Locally known as the "Eghart House" this front gabled
Victorian was built ca.1870-1872 by local carpenter and builder Lewis
Teed for Byron Teed. The house was purchased by Judge Leopold Eghart
from Teed in 1881 and remained in the Eghart family until 1969. Then a
group of local citizens saved the house from an impending parking lot
and restored it as a public museum. Furnished with Victorian antiques
donated by local families it is open to tour on Sundays from May through
||Hoffman House Hotel 200 W. Grand Ave. and
Ed. Lutzen Hotel and Saloon 201 W. Grand Ave.
Two historic hotels are located across the street from each other on
opposite corners of W. Grand Ave. and Milwaukee St.. On the north side
of Grand Ave. is the Hoffman House Hotel, built in 1895, and on the
south side is the Ed. Lutzen Hotel and Saloon, built in 1899. The
Hoffman House, billed as a "first class" hotel in every
respect, is a three story Queen
Anne style building with nicely detailed
brickwork. The corner tower has paneling, ornamental swags, brackets and
moldings all made of sheet metal. The side facing Grand Avenue had at
one time an "automobile terminal". The intact state of this
building is remarkable. The Hoffman House was listed in the National
Register of Historic Places in 1984. Built in 1899, the Lutzen Hotel was actually built on the site of an earlier hotel that had been known as
the American House. The corner tower of this Queen Anne style building
of local cream brick was originally capped with a dome. Both the Ed. Lutzen Hotel and the Hoffman House Hotel are excellent representatives
of the early demand for downtown hotels.
||R. Stelling Grist & Flour Mill
To the south, at end and west side of Milwaukee Street, is the R.
Stelling Grist & Flour Mill. The three-story Astylistic Utilitarian
building is practically the only survivor of Port Washington's once
numerous nineteenth century industrial buildings. Sources differ, but it
is believed that this now vacant but still very intact building was
either first built by Stelling in 1853 or was built in 1848 by George
and Julius Tomlinson and afterwards rebuilt and enlarged by Stelling.
Further research will be necessary to determine the original owners and
construction date, but there seems to be agreement that this building
assumed much of its present form under Stelling's ownership. The
foundation and much of the first story of this building is made of
rubble stone. The upper stories are clad in cream brick. The scarcity of
intact nineteenth century industrial buildings in Port Washington, and
the importance of the mill to the industrial history of the city, makes
this building unique.
building has been demolished - Click here for article - Loss of mill leave
hole in city, hearts
||Hoffman Adam Building/Ozaukee Theater 116 W. Grand Ave.
The Hoffman Adam Building was built in 1926 and housed the Ozaukee
Theater. Built in the Mediterranean style popular in the 1920s, this
building is the last remaining structure representing the early
vaudeville / movie theater houses.
||Port Washington Municipal Building 100 W. Grand Ave.
A number of different buildings played at least partial roles in
housing the various functions of city and town government in the period
before the present Modern Movement style Port Washington Municipal
Building constructed in 1958 to a design by the Port Washington
architectural and engineering firm of Blong & Kempf. The predecessor
of this building (pictured below left) occupied the same site and was a frame
construction Italianate style concert hall with a seating capacity of
800 built by the Port Washington Gesang Verin (singing society), a
German-American social organization that put an emphasis on music and
group singing. Subsequently, this building served as the Port Washington
Opera House and still later as the Port Washington City Hall, which,
among other things, housed the city offices and the local library. The
building was demolished when the present Municipal Building was built.
City Hall Re-Dedication
||Edward Dodge House "Pebble House" 126 E. Grand Ave.
An exceptionally fine and very rare example of cobblestone
construction designed in the Greek Revival style is the Edward Dodge
House built in 1848. Edward Dodge was an early Port Washington resident
and blacksmith who with his spouse gathered the stones along the
shoreline. The house originally was located on the south bank of Sauk
Creek and was moved near the Wisconsin Electric Power Plant where it
served for many years as a gatehouse. It subsequently was moved to its
present location and is now the Port Washington Visitors center. The
building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
||Smith Bros. Restaurant Building 100 N. Franklin St.
The fine Colonial Revival style Smith Bros. Restaurant Building was
built by the brothers in 1954 to house their very well known seafood
restaurant. The previous restaurant was located on a portion of the site
of the present building, but was destroyed by fire in 1953,
necessitating the construction of the present building. Two-stories in
height and clad in red brick, the Smith Bros. building is rectilinear in
plan and is one of the largest buildings in the downtown and perhaps the
best known to visitors. Designed by Milwaukee architect William J. Ames,
the building is a fine, highly intact, late example of the Colonial
||Smith Bros. Fish Net House
To the south, across the west slip, is a simple Astylistic
Utilitarian form building built by the Smith Brothers between 1922 and
1938 as a net storage and workshop facility for their commercial fishing
operations. The Smith Brothers and their descendants have probably been
the best known of Port Washington's commercial fishing families over the
years, thanks in part to the very well known restaurants they have
operated in conjunction with their other operations. This highly intact
building has become the most visible resource associated with the
commercial fishing history of Port Washington. The recent demolition of
the two adjacent buildings, including the Smith Bros. smoke house
building, now means that it is the last remaining intact historic
building associated with Port Washingtons commercial fishing