Historic Structures

Palm Beach Building, Newport Kentucky

Date added: July 16, 2021 Categories: Kentucky Industrial Commercial

This industrial building was constructed for the Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Company in 1883 to house a watch manufacturing business established by local businessman, John C. Dueber. He founded the business in 1873 and for the first few years was located in downtown Cincinnati at the corner of Race and 4th Streets. In 1877, the business was moved to a location in Newport at the southeast corner of of Jefferson and Washington Streets. This location is one block south of the current location. Within a few short years the business expanded at such a rate that an additional facility was required to meet the demand for watches. A new plant, one block north was constructed in 1883. In subsequent years, the business continued to grow and efforts were undertaken to purchase additional land adjacent to this building in order to expand again. These efforts failed because of local opposition. Mr. Dueber felt that his business was not wanted in Newport and in 1888 merged his operation with the Hempden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio. All Newport operations were transferred to Canton.

The Standard Carriage Goods Company purchased the building in 1891. This company was incorporated in 1885 and manufactured carriage hardware and leather trimings. In 1897, the company was purchased by a group of investors that included a Mr. Henry Higgins. Mr. Higgins was a superintendent with the carriage company. The new company was called the Higgins Manufacturing Company and continued to make various carriage trimmings. Mr. Higgins was a vice president within the new company. By 1906, the company had begun to phase out of the carriage trim business and venture into the manufacture of metal fly screens. This eventually led to the manufacture of metal screens for doors and windows and weather stripping materials. The company prospered and remained in operation until 1945.

The building was purchased in 1946 by the Goodall Company, a Maine based clothing operation that was seeking to establish a regional operation within the Cincinnati area. This company produced men's and womens clothing. The Goodall Company changed its name in 1965 to the Palm Beach Company and continued to make clothing. By the early 1970's, the manufacturing operation was being shifted to other plants within the company. The building was subsequently used for warehouse operations and for a small mill outlet operation on part of the first floor.

This is a large industrial building, 3 stories in height with 5 story tower exhibiting Queen Anne details at the 2 bay by 2 bay tower. It is constructed of stretcher bond brick on the north and west main facades and common bond brick at the remaining facades. Walls rest atop a raised rock-face ashlar stone foundation. The tower originally had a decorative parapet terminating its height, however, this was removed at an unknown date.

The Queen Anne details found at the tower are articulated by the use of incised columns separating paired windows, segmental lintels composed of alternating brick and stone with central keystones- The 4th floor exhibits recessed brick panels above the belt course. Engaged columns are smooth at the 2nd and 3rd floors and have varied designs for the recessed panels at the 4th and 5th floors. The first floor has alternating brick and stone wall treatment that has been previously painted. A decorative engaged stone buttress with encising accentuates the corner. A projecting metal cornice supported by dentils is found below the 5th floor.

The remainder of the north and west main facades exhibit multiple recessed window bays, plain sandstone lintels evolving into belt courses and stone string courses separating the upper floors. A plain metal cornice caps the facades. At the first floor of the west facade, several raised entrances are found to be capped with bracketed pediments. At the north side facade, several first floor window bays have been altered for loading dock doors at an unknown date. The east and west facades are similar in detail except they lack the recessed bays and string courses.

A major addition incorporating approximately one-third of the west facade and extending the south facade had been added prior to 1910 during the course of a major expansion of the building. Several minor additions have been added, most at the south facade, over the years to consolidated loading dock facilities.

The windows are mainly 8/8 wooden sash throughout the building. The exception to this is the tower that has 1/1 wooden sash and the east facade of a rear addition that exhibits large multi-light steel casement windows.

The original building was constructed around a an asymmetr ical yard that has a large watertower. A decorative chimney stack is also found. The majority of roofs are gable and composed of gray slate with plain cornice detail. Several minor roofs are either metal standing seam or have composition built up materials.

The overall dimensions are approximately 200' by 250'.

The interior of the building is functional in plan and lacks decorative interior details, Windows are plain and lack wooden surrounds. Floors are wood and ceilings are highlighted by exposed joists from the floor above. Walls are brick that has been painted. Part of the first floor is used for mill outlet operations and has no significant details. The exposed ceiling joists have been painted black and carpet and tile covers the floors. Several small dressing rooms and office area have been created.

Each floor of the industrial part of the building is divided into several large rooms located at the south end of the building and four long and narrow spaces that flank the interior yard. Significant interior detail is limited to a wood staircase with incised newel posts, decorative wood window surround bullseyes at the windows of the tower and hip framing detail at the ceiling of part of the 3rd floor.