100 Meskers found in Tennessee

Tennessee is the latest state where we’ve identified at least 100 buildings with Mesker building products. Below is a brief summary of Meskers’ historic output in the state and a look at the 100 buildings found to date.

Historically, Mesker companies sold a significant number of building facades and related products in Tennessee, the state ranking 10th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,537 facades. Products supplied by Mesker Brothers Iron Works netted a total of $111,127.62 in receipts between 1885 and 1908 for approximately 816 facades, ranking 10th nationwide. Mesker’s best year in Tennessee was 1906, with $19,261.43 in net receipts. This success was achieved in large part to 77,194 catalogs that Mesker distributed in the state from 1888 to 1909 (20,000 in 1907 alone), which ranked 22nd in the nation. George L. Mesker & Co.’s results in Tennessee were similar—according to the 1915 catalog, it sold 721 facades in the state, which was 5th best in the nation.

Here is the breakdown of the 100 facades identified so far in Tennessee (download the Excel inventory for a complete listing):

  •  36 by Mesker Brothers Iron Works (MB)
  •  64 by George L. Mesker & Co. (GLM)
  •  18 complete “house fronts” (12 MB, 6 GLM)
  •  6 demolished (1 MB, 5 GLM)
  •  20 are one-story in height (8 MB, 12 GLM), 76 are two-story (26 MB, 50 GLM), and 4 are three-story (2 MB, 2 GLM)
  •  53 towns (16 with MB, 26 with GLM, 11 with both)—most surviving facades can be found in Lawrenceburg (11)

Below are some favorite examples of surviving Meskers from the Volunteer State (selected from available photos), appearing alphabetically by town. With vast majority of the 100 surviving, there’s a lot to choose from:

120 Central Ave. NE, Cleveland, TN. With the exception of the storefront and window alterations, the building retains its original cast iron columns and a galvanized sheet-metal facade by George L. Mesker & Co.
120 Central Ave. NE, Cleveland, TN. Close up of the intricately and delicately stamped motifs of the George L. Mesker & Co. sheet-metal facade.
Moore & Hughes Building, 104-106 Main St., Clifton, TN. Cast iron columns and galvanized sheet-metal bay and cornices were produced by George L. Mesker & Co. A rendering of the facade was shown in Mesker’s 1909 catalog. Image courtesy of Brent Moore.
111 S. Mill St., Dyersburg, TN. Steel columns and a pressed metal facade by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of James Whitlow.
100 block of E. Court, Dyersburg, TN. 1890s addition to the Bank of Dyersburg, with an unusual use of cast iron columns by George L. Mesker & Co. at the upper story facade. Image courtesy of James Whitlow.
125-129 E. Market, Fayetteville, TN. Adjacent buildings with sheet-metal cornices by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent).
203 Court Square, Huntingdon, TN. The small facade packs a lot of ornamental punch thanks to cast iron columns and sheet-metal cornices by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
19695 E. Main St., Huntingdon, TN. The combination of motifs of this Mesker Brothers sheet-metal front points to an early (c. 1887) date of manufacture. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
W.M. Gallaher Building, 20-22 Public Square and 23 Public Square, Lawrenceburg, TN. The impressive Gallaher Building features a long cornice by George L. Mesker & Co. and was featured in a 1911 catalog. The adjacent building has George L. Mesker & Co. cast iron columns. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
111 N. Military, Lawrenceburg, TN. One of the smallest Meskers around, the little wedge of a building sports a cast iron column by George L. Mesker & Co. It is one of eleven surviving Meskers in Lawrenceburg. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
104 N. 2nd Ave., Lewisburg, TN. Early column, window hood and cornice designs by George L. Mesker & Co. The adjacent building (102 N. 2nd Ave.) has a cornice by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
200 E. Main, Linden, TN. Constructed in 1906, this former bank still retains its cast iron columns and sheet-metal window hoods and cornice by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Flickr member SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent).
McQuigg Bros. Building, 151 Mill St., Lynnville, TN. Cast iron columns and sheet-metal work by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
114-116 Main St., Madisonville, TN. Sheet-metal front by Mesker Brothers Iron Works with classic arrangement and details. Image courtesy of Flickr member bamaboy1941.
9122 Highway 49 E, Orlinda, TN. One of two impressive sheet-metal fronts by George L. Mesker & Co. in Orlinda. Image courtesy of Flickr member Thetanner67.
115-121 Public Square South, Shelbyville, TN. A long commercial block with cast iron columns and galvanized sheet-metal window hoods and cornices by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Roger Waguespack.
206 S. Cedar, South Pittsburg, TN. This circa 1887 facade by Mesker Brothers Iron Works features several rarely seen motifs.
206 S. Cedar, South Pittsburg, TN. Close up of the Mesker Bros. facade with an overabundance of stamped zinc and steel motifs.
First Ave SE, Winchester, TN. Two well-maintained and repainted Mesker Bros. facades grace this street. Image courtesy of Flickr member OZinOH.

3 thoughts on “100 Meskers found in Tennessee

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