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New Glarus buildings, Madison home placed on State Register of Historic Places

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 9:00 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The 2nd Street Commercial Historic District of New Glarus and the Philip and Margaret Gray House of Madison have both been placed on the State Register of Historic Places.

The State Register of Historic Places is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties that are considered significant to Wisconsin’s heritage.

The 2nd Street Commercial Historic District (New Glarus, Green County)
The 2nd Street Commercial Historic District (New Glarus, Green County)(Wisconsin Historical Society)

The 2nd Street Commercial Historic District represents a history of commerce and industry from 1880 to 1968 in a a concentrated area of downtown New Glarus.

“The district [is] locally significant as an intact collection of commercial buildings reflecting vernacular expressions of popular styles of the period, and particularly noteworthy as the only section of New Glarus’ downtown where most of the buildings have not been given a Swiss-style façade, a development that began in downtown New Glarus in the 1960s and is now a requirement in the building code for new construction or substantial remodeling,” the Wisconsin Historical Society says.

This district has retained much of its historic character, making it visually distinctive within the downtown area. The buildings remain in use as a part of the core of New Glarus’ downtown area.

The Philip and Margaret Gray House (Madison, Dane County)
The Philip and Margaret Gray House (Madison, Dane County)(Wisconsin Historical Society)

The Philip and Margaret Gray House, built in 1940 and designed by William V. Kaeser, was influenced by two of this country’s prominent modernist architects—Frank Lloyd Wright and Eliel Saarinen. Kaeser was a Madison architect who is now considered to be one of the best of Madison’s mid-century architects.

Saarinen’s influence can be seen in the first story of the house, whose solid brick-clad walls are punctured by large single-light picture windows in a manner that is typical of Saarinen’s residential designs. The second story above, however, is slightly inset and features the bands of windows, the wide overhanging eaves, the shallow-pitched hip main roof, and the massive masonry chimney mass that were typical of the designs Frank Lloyd Wright was producing during this same period,” the Wisconsin Historical Society says.

The house is said to be the largest of the Modern Movement style homes built in Madison prior to World War II in addition to being one of Kaeser’s early masterworks.

The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin.

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