The Heart of It All (or at least 129 Meskers)

The 100-Mesker club has a new member—Ohio. Perhaps not so new, as the 100 mark was reached some time ago, but additional Ohio discoveries just kept coming, preventing this write up from appearing sooner.

Historically, Ohioans purchased a not insignificant amount of Mesker products, ranking 13th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,230 facades. Fronts supplied by Mesker Brothers Iron Works netted a total of $52,477.76 in receipts between 1885 and 1908 for approximately 455 facades. Mesker’s best year for Ohio jobs was 1889, with $5,612.53 in net receipts. The projected number of Mesker Bros. installations rank #22 on the company’s charts with the expenditures at #24. These results seem discordant with the marketing effort: 197,427 catalogs distributed in the state from 1888 to 1909, which ranked 5th in the nation and with 30,759 in 1902 as the top mark. The stiff competition within the state as well as from other regional manufacturers, including George L. Mesker & Co. in neighboring Indiana, must have impacted the St. Louis Meskers’ Ohio sales. Unsurprising, and likely due in large part to the state’s proximity to Indiana, is the large number of products purchased from George L. Mesker & Co. The company’s literature claims 775 facades sold in the state, which ranks very highly at #4, behind just Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Below is the breakdown of the 129 facades identified so far in Ohio (download the Excel inventory for a complete listing):

  •  50 by Mesker Brothers Iron Works (MB)
  •  77 by George L. Mesker & Co. (GLM)
  •  2 with components by MB and GLM (both)
  •  27 complete “house fronts” (15 MB, 11 GLM, 1 both)
  •  11 demolished (3 MB, 8 GLM)
  •  6 are one-story in height (2 MB, 4 GLM), 109 are two-story (43 MB, 64 GLM, 2 both), 14 are three-story (5 MB, 9 GLM)
  •  72 towns (23 with MB, 38 with GLM, 11 with both)—Blanchester and Lynchburg have the most surviving facades, each with 6.

And below are some favorite examples of surviving Meskers from the Buckeye State (chosen from available photos), appearing alphabetically by town:

Pocock Building, 201 S. Main, Antwerp, OH. Classic facade arrangement by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member migen_46774.

115 W. Main St., Barnesville, OH. Full iron front by Mesker Brothers Iron Works, with a “dolphin” or “fish panel.” Image courtesy of Flickr member Tourismguy.

Harwood Block, 246-256 E. Main St., Conneaut, OH. Impressive three-story full “house front” by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Dougtone.

Knights of Pythias Block, 106 High St., Glouster, OH. Unusual arrangement of the bay windows on an already atypical three-story galvanized metal facade by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member Mike Tewkesbury.

7 N. Broadway, Lebanon, OH. The upper story metal front by Mesker Brothers Iron Works appears to have been installed over an earlier, older building, with the “fish panels” upside-down. To the right is a building with cast iron columns by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member Pythaglio.

134-150 S. Main, Lynchburg, OH. Adjacent buildings (left and center) with cast iron columns, galvanized iron window hoods, cornices and bay windows by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member Jamie Smed.

Chapin Building, 110-120 S. Broadway St., New Philadelphia, OH. Extremely long cornice by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Tourismguy.

Davis & Nixon Building, on N. Main St., Peebles, OH (right of photo). Galvanized iron front by George L. Mesker & Co. Mentioned in the company’s 1905 testimonials catalog. Image courtesy of Flickr member Tourismguy.

Goessler Building, 113 Court St., Pomeroy, OH. Cornices and window hoods by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member jschumacher.

Municipal Building (1934), 728 Second St., Portsmouth, OH. Although the building underwent some changes since this historic photograph was taken, it still retains it’s wrought iron windows by Mesker Brothers Iron Company. Image courtesy of Local History Digital Collection.

Masonic Temple, 150 Main St., Sinking Spring, OH. The cast iron columns, lintel cornice, window hoods and main cornice were all made by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member Tourismguy.

9-11 E. Broadway, Wellston, OH. Side-by-side Mesker brothers—elements by Mesker Brothers Iron Works at center and George L. Mesker & Co. at right. Image courtesy of Flickr member Tourismguy.

Pearson House (1902), 28 N. Miami St., West Milton, OH. Cast iron columns by George L. Mesker & Co. Rendering of the building appeared in Mesker’s 1905 testimonials catalog. Image courtesy of Flickr member Lee Kreider.

109 E. Jackson St., West Unity, OH. Wonderfully painted details of the Mesker Brothers-produced galvanized sheet-metal upper facade, featuring the ubiquitous “dolphin/fish panels.” Image source is Flickr, user unknown.

20 N. South St., Wilmington, OH. This tiny sliver of a building packs an impressive architectural punch thanks to the richly ornamented galvanized iron front by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Debbie Edgington.

On Main St., Winchester, OH. Full iron front by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Robby Virus.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: