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 knew they were there having identified them through Google’s Streetview imagery a few weeks prior, but the opportunity to see them firsthand, thanks to a family visit nearby, was difficult to pass up.
The Elkhorn Meskers are a solid bunch. At a quick glance all of the designs are similar and many share an identical end bracket design. However, no two cornices are exactly alike, showcasing the multiple variations that were featured in the company’s catalogs. Among them is also an amusing customization of a standardized sheet-metal cornice in order to conform to a triangular parapet at 9 E. Walworth St. Elkhorn appears to have a very nice stock of historic buildings and these thirteen cornices are an important part of the downtown’s character. I’m glad they survive in such a high concentration.
(To learn about another Wisconsin town with lots of surviving Mesker facades, click here).
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