1,000th Town with Meskers – California, Missouri

We can now say that Meskers found their way into at least 1,000 towns in North America. How’s that for impact? The latest group of identified buildings is from California, Missouri, which breaks the 1,000th mark of confirmed communities with Mesker facades. 997 are in the United States and 3 are in Canada. The total number of identified buildings is 2,395. California boasts at least six surviving examples which include works by both companies, placing the town in slightly more selective company. Of the 1,000 communities:

  • 531 have facades by Mesker Brothers Iron Works
  • 308 have facades by George L. Mesker & Co.
  • 161 have facades by both companies

A complete listing of towns can be found in state-by-state databases here.

Rendering of the Sprouse & Ross Building at 501-505 N. High Street in California, MO, appeared in the 1902, 1903 and 1905 testimonial catalogs by George L. Mesker & Co.

California’s only George L. Mesker & Co facade, the Sprouse & Ross Building, was showcased in the 1902 and 1903 general catalogs, and in the 1905 testimonial catalog. A rendering of the front was printed above a customer quote: “The material you furnished us is beautiful and your prices were exceptionally low.” The building, standing at 501-505 North High Street, retains a fair amount of its original fabric. The largest noticeable difference is the absence of four triangular cornice pediments.

With the assistance of Alan Sparks of the Moniteau County Historical Society, I’ve confirmed seven extant Mesker facades in California. The addresses are:

  • 301 N. High St.
  • Finke Building, 309 N. High St.
  • Sprouse & Ross Building, 501-505 North High St.
  • 507 N. High St.
  • Ehrhardt Building, 501 S. Oak St.
  • 314-318 S. Oak St.
  • Pressed-brick front on S. High St.

At least one more facade, originally purchased from George L. Mesker & Co by B.S. Cooper, remains unidentified. It was mentioned in the 1905 testimonials catalog.

The Sprouse & Ross Building as it appears today. Adjacent building, at far right, has a cornice and window hoods by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Alan Sparks.

Finke Building at 309 N. High Street has a galvanized cornice by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Alan Sparks.

The Ehrhardt Building at 501 S. Oak Street has a Mesker Brothers cornice. Image courtesy of Alan Sparks.

314-318 S. Oak Street is a large full front by Mesker Brothers featuring a galvanized sheet-metal upper facade and patented steel columns at storefront level. Image courtesy of Alan Sparks.

Building at 301 N. High Street has a cornice and window hoods by Mesker Brothers. The amazing cast iron storefront is by another manufacturer. Image courtesy of Alan Sparks.

 

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