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

Cornices by Mesker Brothers Iron Works in Elkhorn, WI.

Cornice gallery

On Father’s Day, I took a quick jaunt from Beloit to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, to photograph the numerous—thirteen to be exact—surviving galvanized sheet-metal cornices made by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Just cornices. No full fronts, window hoods, or storefront columns, which also means there are no maker’s marks to inform the onlookers about their provenance. I … Continue reading

F & E Lumber Co. Building, New Leipzig, North Dakota. Rendering from 1911 George L. Mesker & Co. catalog.

4,000th Mesker!

2,000th Mesker came in December, 2011 and #3,000 in June, 2013. Two years later we have documented the 4,000th entry into the worldwide Mesker facade database. The Hertz Bros. Hardware Store, located at 46 Main Ave in New Leipzig, North Dakota, features a complete building front by George L. Mesker & Co. including cast iron … Continue reading

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Found in the archives

The post below appeared in the “Found in the Archives” series of the Vanderburgh County Clerk’s Records and Archives blog on May 20, 2015. After an early Mesker artifact was unearthed and featured in the Endangered Heritage display for National Preservation Month, it was spotted by historian and friend Dennis Au. Subsequently, I was asked … Continue reading

Advertisement for J.H. Mesker & Co. on the cover of the 1884 Evansville City Directory. Image courtesy of Dennis Au.

The forgotten brother

Bernard, Frank, and George are the best known of the six Mesker brothers. However, one more brother also made important contributions to the ornamental iron work trade in Evansville and the surrounding region. As Bernard and Frank were establishing a niche for their business in St. Louis, George continued to work for their father in … Continue reading

Diagram of a Mesker Brothers Iron Works storefront bulkhead with approximate dimensions. Base photograph of the in Panguitch, Utah, courtesy of Roger Waguespack.

How about some wood with that?

Beyond metal, the Mesker companies offered nearly everything else needed to erect an entire commercial building façade, dubbed a “house front” and evoking 19th century nomenclature that referred to business entities as commercial houses. While their stamped and cast metal offerings intended to provide instant architectural pretense to the entire building, the storefront with its … Continue reading

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