Historic Structures

Waco High School, Waco Texas

The Waco High School complex is a landmark in Waco's Central Business District, and includes the 1912 Beaux-arts school building, the 1924 Gothic Revival auditorium, and the 1955 mid-century modern music building. It served as the city's primary high school from 1912 through 1971, with an all-white student body until integration of the Waco school district in the late 1960s. The completion of the Waco High School was a high point in the public school district's plan to modernize the school system in the first half of the 20th century. Its monumental presence recalls an era when local school districts constructed educational buildings that symbolized the importance of education to the community. The school building is the oldest extant public school building in Waco. Free education in the State of Texas began with the passage of an act in 1854 to provide funding for county public schools. McLennan County created fourteen school districts, which were increased to thirty-three districts in later years. The City of Waco and environs was designated as District Number 1. In 1875, the Texas Legislature authorized city governments to assume control of public schools within their established city limits, and the Waco city council decided to exercise their new rights. The city needed income to fund the schools, but in 1875 voters decided not to institute a school tax. Nevertheless, the city council appointed an education committee and the mayor served as the superintendent of schools. To acquire money to run the free public schools, three leagues of land (about 13,285 acres) in Eastland County that the state gave to the school system in 1854 were sold, beginning in 1876, netting an average of $2.86 per acre, totaling $57,376.74 by 1919.

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Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad Depot, Madison South Dakota

Lake County was organized in 1873, taking its name from the numerous glacial lakes within its borders. Founded that same year, Madison soon became the county seat. Located at the center of the county, the city has been a focal point for regional commerce and politics almost since its beginning. As in most settlements of the state, its early existence depended upon the presence of reliable railroad service. The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad (later adding the "Pacific" extension) entered Madison from the east in 1881. Because of its fortunate central location, the city became one of several minor hubs in the company's sprawling network of short lines. The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, also called the Milwaukee Road, was incorporated in 1872 by merging a number of smaller lines. Among its many subsidiaries were: the Milwaukee and Watertown, Racine, Jamesville, Milwaukee and Northern, Menominee, and Dakota Southern. Like its competitors, the Milwaukee Road bought land, platted towns, promoted settlement, and became embroiled in local politics all along its lines. Its network, especially in southern Dakota Territory, was mostly a patchwork of short inefficient lines that eventually caused financial problems for the company. Adding to this after World War One, a collapsing farm economy, an end to free land available for settlement, and the advent of the automobile as a reliable form of transportation all triggered a pronounced decline in demand for railroads. The company went in and out of receivership several times during the next five decades, until it was granted final abandonment of its South Dakota lines in 1980. At that time the state of South Dakota purchased 918 miles of the company's 1802 miles of trackage in the state and leased the lines to the Burlington Northern and other smaller companies. Shortly thereafter, the Milwaukee Road ceased to exist as a corporate entity.

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Miller Plantation House, Olive Branch Mississippi

As the most sophisticated example of the Greek Revival style in DeSoto County, the Miller Plantation House is significant to the history of architecture. Not surprisingly, the most ambitious design element of the mansion is its portico with giant order columns and a full, well-proportioned entablature which is without a raking cornice for a pediment. While this arrangement is not uncommon, the unusual interpretation of the Corinthian order makes the Miller Plantation House virtually unique in Mississippi. Here, the Corinthian capital is produced with a single row of acanthus applied to the bell between the astragal of the shaft and the abacus. "Correct" Corinthian calls for a minimum of two superimposed rows of acanthus. The unknown builder who was responsible for this singular design betrayed his unfamiliarity with the classical orders but succeeded in producing an impressive and rich effect. He was more comfortable with the simpler joinery required for the handsome pilasters, frontispieces, and eared architrave trim which distinguish this house. A graceful spiral stair, the tour de force of the joiner's skill, is the highlight of the interior. The size and sophistication of the Miller Plantation House is unusual for its remote location. Planters who could afford a handsome mansion usually chose to live in town leaving the daily operation of outlying plantations to hired overseers. Thus, most planters of the Olive Branch vicinity lived in nearby Holly Springs, Mississippi, or Memphis, Tennessee. William Lord Miller, who had the house built in ca. 1849, was an exception. His house is unquestionably the most architecturally significant structure to survive from the antebellum period in DeSoto County history.

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John Jacob Astor Hotel, Astoria Oregon

The eight-story John Jacob Astor Hotel is a prominent landmark in Astoria and was, in its hey-day, the hub of social and civic activity in the historic sea port at the mouth of the Columbia River. The reinforced concrete building is believed to be, even today, the tallest commercial structure on the Oregon Coast. Its construction was inspired by increased tourist traffic, and, as was typical of major hotel projects in the early automobile age, it was financed by capital investors assisted by public subscription and bond issue. The plans were drawn by the Portland firm of Tourtellotte and Hummel, which later was responsible for the Lithia Springs (Mark Anthony) Hotel (1925) in Ashland, the Redwoods Hotel (1926) in Grants Pass, and the Hotel Baker in Baker. Each of the vintage Tourtelotte and Hummel hotels was held to be forward-looking in its day, a reinforced concrete skyscraper within some eclectic period ornamentation of cast concrete. Indicative of the importance attached to this, the earliest of the firm's major hotel projects in Oregon, was the fact that the Astoria Chamber of Commerce spear-headed the drive for formation of hotel corporation which initiated the project 1921-1922. The Chamber of Commerce made its headquarters in ground story offices upon the hotel's completion in 1924. The hotel was the meeting place of all the community groups, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and others, and it was also the transfer station for those who traveled by train or boat to Astoria and embarked from there by train or carriage to the coastal resort areas of Gearhart and Seaside to the south, and it was host to many conventions from business and trade unions. The basement was bustling with salesmen who used the rooms to display their samples and wares.

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Carysfort Lighthouse, Key Largo Florida

Completed in 1852, the lighthouse, and the reef on which it is located, is named after the HMS Carysfort, which ran aground at the site in October 1770. Funds for a lighthouse were appropriated by Congress in 1837, but due to the Indian Wars, design was not started until 1848, with completion four years later. The design was started by Captain Howard Stansbury, completed by Major Thomas E. Lannard of the Corps of Engineers. J.W.P. Lewis was the Assistant Engineer, in charge of construction. The well known Philadelphia iron works of Merrick and Son was awarded the construction contract who fabricated and preassembled the skeleton structure at their yard before shipping it to Key Largo. The original lighting aparatus, a "revolving Fresnel lenticular illuminating" device (Augustin Jean Fresnel, a French physicist, designed the first dioptic or lenticular light in 1823, describing it as a "curtain of prisms in front of a light and centered around a bull's eye lens") was constructed by Henry LaPaute in Paris. It was first illuminated on March 10, 1852. Colonel J.T. Albert, Chief, Corps of Topographic Engineers prepared a site survey in February, 1845 to determine the need for navigational aids along the Atlantic coastline of Florida. Citing extensive marine traffic in the region and mentioning the numerous and trecherous hazards to shipping, he recommended that a series of lighthouses be constructed on the reefs that extend from Cape Florida to the Tortugas, identifying Carysfort Reef as the most dangerous reef in the 200 mile span. Law 3-3- 1848 reauthorized the construction of a lighthouse to replace an outmoded and ineffective light vessel (moved to Brenton's Reef in Rhode Island), this time specifying a "screw-pile lighthouse", for Carysfort Reef. The existing structure was the first of a series of lighthouses built during this period, spaced so that navigators would "not lose sight of one before coming into view of another". Colonel Albert noted that the Eddystone Lighthouse (1706, John Reynolds, rebuilt 1882) had proved its durability, and the design of this structure, along with others in the English and Irish Channels, was suggested as a model for the Carysfort Lighthouse.

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Children's Farm Home School, Corvallis Oregon

The Children's Farm Home began as the dream of Mary Powers (later Mary Powers Riley) to provide a home for "orphaned and otherwise dependent children" in Oregon. It was to be a facility where there was no expectation of adoption, but rather a place where children could live their entire childhoods. Mrs. Powers, who had been an orphan herself, presented her ideas to the Oregon Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) convention in October 1919 in Ashland. The idea was met with favorable response, and the state president asked Mrs. Powers to chair a committee to investigate the need for such a facility. Mrs. Powers selected Mrs. Mary Mallett (Portland), Mrs. Emma Archibald (Tangent), Mr. Alfred C. Schmitt (Albany), Mr. H.C. Seymour (representing Oregon Agricultural College President W.J. Kerr), Mr. W.R. Scott (Albany), and Mr. Walter K. Taylor (Corvallis) to serve on the committee. Their first action was to conduct a survey to determine if Oregon could use this kind of facility. After receiving the names of 2,400 children who might benefit from such a place, the committee recommended that the project move forward, that a board of trustees be selected, that articles of incorporation be created, and that a campaign manager be appointed to secure funds. Thus began the Oregon WCTU's "great adventure in child welfare" that lasted for more than forty years. The Board of Trustees organized and elected the following officers: A.C. Schmitt, president; Mary Powers, first vice president; Walter K. Taylor, second vice-president; H.C. Seymour, secretary; and H. Hirschberg, treasurer. Mr. Schmitt, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Seymour were charged with preparing the articles of incorporation and the by-laws, as well as submitting the plan to the Child Welfare Commission of Oregon for approval and permission to move forward with the project.

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St. Luke's Hospital Complex, Chicago Illinois

Reverend Clinton E. Locke founded St. Luke's Hospital in 1864 as one of the charitable activities of the Grace Episcopal parish. The hospital originally occupied a cottage with seven beds. As the city grew and Locke appealed to other Episcopal parishes for contributions, the hospital expanded. In 1871 it moved to the present Indiana Avenue site and occupied an old boarding house with fifty beds. Between 1882 and 1890 St. Luke's constructed five hospital building pavilions designed by Treat & Foltz which gave the hospital "beautiful and well arranged buildings," and increased the capacity of the hospital to 152 beds. In 1884 the Vestry of the Grace Episcopal Church passed a resolution of thanks on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Clinton Locke's rectorship which singled out the St. Luke's Hospital as a monument to charity and philanthropy. The resolution stated: "In opposition to the fears and misgivings of many he at an early day persisted in organizing the great charity known as St. Luke's Hospital, a work that had its beginnings in humble and obscure rooms but which, through faith and work and broad and liberal management, has reached out so as to include the whole diocese making the charity now the grand work of all the parishes of the state and of the liberally disposed of all good people of the city." In appealing for charitable contributions to the hospital, Locke and the St. Luke's Hospital gained the support of leading Chicagoans and many Prairie Avenue residents, including the Armours, Fields, Pullmans, Crerars, Ryersons, Pecks, Doanes, and Fairbanks. The charitable association accounts for some of this site's historical significance. In order to understand the innovations represented by the extant St. Luke's Hospital buildings, it is necessary to take account of the substantial transitions in late-nineteenth-century hospital practice. Through much of the nineteenth-century nearly all hospitals were charity hospitals. The poor received medical care in the hospital while middle and upper class patients were privately treated in their homes. In the 1880's with major progress in the fields of bacteriology and hygiene, and advances in medical and surgical techniques, the hospital slowly became a more attractive facility for the wealthy. The replacement of private residence with hospital treatment for all classes awaited the development of buildings which provided a degree of social segregation and more amenities than customary in the older charity hospital designs.

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