Kansas is the latest state to break the 100 Meskers mark, thanks to a large batch of facades found by Roger Waguespack. The group of the latest re-discovered buildings includes several towns and no particular example can be bestowed the (meaningless) honor of #100, with the total as of the date of this post sitting at 113.
Kansas Meskers identified thus far are an impressive and interesting group, including some very early works (Opera House in Grainfield, Union Block in LeRoy). Perhaps the most famous (or infamous?) is the C. M. Condon and Company Bank (1890) in Coffeyville, Kansas. As if the outstanding Mesker Brothers facade packing so much ornamentation into fairly small quarters wasn’t enough, the bank was the site of the last Dalton Gang robbery on October 5, 1892 (the gang was attempting to rob two banks at once; the other was First National Bank). As they tried to escape, four members were killed by a marshal’s posse and Emmett Dalton was wounded and captured (see images at the end of the post showing the storefront after the robbery). Since the focus of this initiative is to recognize the Meskers’ architectural significance, I often forget to state the obvious, which is that these structures preserve other stories, mostly of local, and occasionally of wider interest and significance. Together with the architecture, they surely must possess the ability to capture admiration and respect. They captured mine long ago.
Historically, Kansas building owners very much liked Mesker offerings. Kansas ranked as the 8th leading buyer of Mesker products with a combined estimate of approximately 1,889 facades. 1,502 of these were by Mesker Brothers Iron Works bought at a total of $213,337.51 between 1885 and 1908 (ranking #5 on the company’s charts). The remaining 387 were by George L. Mesker & Co. (rank #16).
Here’s the breakdown of the 113 facades in Kansas (download full inventory here):
95 by Mesker Brothers Iron Works (MB)
17 by George L. Mesker & Co. (GLM)
1 by both
61 complete “house fronts” (50 MB, 11 GLM)
13 demolished (11 MB & 2 GLM)
71 towns (57 with MB, 10 with GLM, 4 with both) – Wilson has the most with 5.