A one-story Mesker Brothers Iron Works metal front was on the Wilson Bros. Building, which housed the Stringfellow-Tannehill Hardware, located on the east side of Main Street between Second and Third Streets. Later photos show that a similar front was added to the left side. Image courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSNM box 18827).
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A one-story Mesker Brothers Iron Works metal front was on the Wilson Bros. Building, which housed the Stringfellow-Tannehill Hardware, located on the east side of Main Street between Second and Third Streets. Later photos show that a similar front was added to the left side. Image courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSNM box 18827).

Roswell’s distinguished Mesker buildings

The following is a revised version of an article by Roger Waguespack, published on November 6, 2016 by RDR (Roswell Daily Record) Online. All images are reproduced with the permission of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico. Read the original article here. In the late 1800s and early 1900s many commercial buildings in towns … Continue reading

chicago_339-w-barry-ave

Chicago’s first condo tower

Just last year, I dubbed the Tower Building in Little Rock, Arkansas as “the tallest and most modern Mesker front ever constructed.” Neither claim is no longer true. Thanks to a rather obscure online search, I recently came across a reference to a building at 339 West Barry Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, whose curtain wall … Continue reading

audsley_mesker

Pattern of influence

In the past we’ve been able to determine, or at the very least speculate about, the origins of some of the Mesker Brothers motifs including the fish panels, sea shells, and clusters of columns, largely because of the evidence for such inspiration left behind by Bernard Mesker. What follows is an origins story about a … Continue reading

Owensboro, KY. Modernistic marquise by George L. Mesker & Co. for the McAtee, Lydane & Ray Department Store. Image courtesy of the Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana.

Awning, canopy, marquise

For two centuries, American commercial storefronts often required various shading devices for natural climate control, protection of show window displays and shoppers, and enhancement of building appearance. By far the most popular of these were fabric awnings, but metal was also an available option although not widely acknowledged in contemporary scholarly documentation. Both Mesker companies … Continue reading

Eureka Springs_AR_54 Spring St

Land of Opportunity

Due to a recent trickle of discovered Mesker buildings, there are now 100 of them in Arkansas. Sadly, these latest additions are largely demolished and, as in the case of Harrison’s square, were identified only thanks to historic photographs. Historically, Arkansans were some of the largest purchasers of Mesker products, ranking 7th nationwide with a … Continue reading

A.J. Banker & Co. Building, San Angelo, TX. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.

Ruffini & Mesker, pt. 2—San Angelo

Read Part 1 of this post, covering the Sonora portion of the Ruffini Collection, here. Oscar Ruffini was based in San Angelo, where he reportedly designed over 30 buildings. Therefore, it is not surprising that eight of ten Mesker Brothers’ blueprints in The Ruffini Collection at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission are for … Continue reading

In 1965, Mesker Brothers reproduced a rendering of the Tower Building with its Mesker curtain wall, in a commemorative reprint of the 1906 catalog.

Yesterday and today

In 1965, the Mesker Brothers reproduced several pages of its 1906 catalog “in hopes that it may bring nostalgic memories to some, and a glance at the past for others.” The selection included primarily sheet-metal fronts, but also windows, siding, and roofing. However, the publication also offered a glimpse at the current, or 1960s, Mesker … Continue reading

2005 Main St., Hazel Green, WI. Close up of the intricately embossed cornice.

America’s Dairyland

There is another state with at least 100 found Meskers. The 100th facade identified in Wisconsin is a two-story building on Main Street in Alma. Despite storefront alterations, the building retains a galvanized sheet-metal cornice, window bay and hoods manufactured by George L. Mesker & Co. The facade may have been originally purchased/installed by J.A. Fretsch … Continue reading

Aledo_JP Lemon Building

New Deal imagery

Between 1935-1944, the United States Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government. In order to build support for and justify government programs of the New Deal, the Historical Section within the Information Division of the Resettlement Administration set out to document America, often at … Continue reading

Very similar facades by Mesker Brothers Iron Works installed on buildings in Crewe, VA (left), Cynthiana, KY (center),
and Santa Anna, TX (right). Composite of Flickr images.

Full Metal Jacket

The below article appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of ‘The Alliance Review,’ a bi-monthly periodical with news relevant to local historic-preservation commissions and their staff, technical assistance, and case studies published by the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). The NAPC is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local historic preservation commissions … Continue reading